For the last 5 years, I extensively used 5.11 Taclite boots. They have been with me in 12 countries, withstood heat up to 133°F (56°C) and still look decent enough to wear them on a night out (even though my wife disagrees with me on that).
For the last year, I’ve been looking for a replacement, until I learned that soon 5.11 Taclite 6 Coyote Boot will be discontinued. Terrified, I ordered another pair and decided to do a little review, since pretty soon this model will be unavailable. I know this is not a review specifically about firearms (or firearms products), but these boots have been with me everywhere I have managed guns all over the world, and boots are a common topic of discussion among gun guys (and gals).
I first got these boots in 2013, when I was somewhat of 5.11 “brand ambassador” in Russia. The biggest trade show of the year was coming, and I came up to one of the executives and said: “It would be a shame to represent such a great brand wearing run-down US army desert boots, I am sure 5.11 has something better”. Over the years, I received a lot of free gear, but those 5.11 Taclite boots were probably the greatest piece of equipment I ever had.
Initially, I did not expect much from 5.11 footwear, because a few years before that, I had a pair of 5.11 HRT boots which developed a hole after just a few months of moderate use. Also, they had a non-Gore-tex membrane and weren’t really breathable. After that, I decided that you should only buy boots from companies specialising in footwear. Needless to say, I was wrong.
Normally, my boots rarely survive two years of use, but 5.11 Taclite boots have been with me ever since, everywhere from Southern California to Indonesia.
The biggest challenge the boots faced were trials in the Pakistani desert in 2016. My good friend John Kennedy described those trials quite well in his article: http://soldiersystems.net/2018/07/16/general-staff-requirement-gsr-new-assault-rifle/
In short – it was hot, about 133°F (56°C) degrees. That was the first and the only time when my 5.11 Taclite boots kind of let me down. The sand in the desert was so hot that it literally burned through the soles. Imagine you’re on a beach, barefoot, and the sand is too hot, so you can’t stand in one place for a long time and jump around. Now imagine exactly the same thing, but you’re wearing boots.
If someone told me that it can happen I would have said that he is a liar. It was a shock, really. I think I looked funny jumping around like a little girl playing hopscotch in the middle of the desert with about 30 soldiers and officers staring at me.
Later, military guys decided tо take it easy and we started to do all the testing in the evening. Once temperature dropped to 120 °F (48°C) degrees, the heat was not a problem anymore. Surprisingly, the sole did not melt or crack, and I am still wearing those boots. My smartphone battery boiled that day and I had to replace it, my trusty Casio G-Shock melted a little bit near the clock face, but at least my boots were fine.
A Pakistani friend who spends a lot of time in this region later told me that it could’ve been worse. Some of his friends who did not prepare properly for the trip lost the soles of their boots shortly after arrival. Soles were glued on and the glue did not withstand the temperature.
Another reason I really liked the boots, and why they got a lot of use over the years, is that I could wear them both in the desert and to the decent restaurant. Once, in Abu-Dhabi, we were suddenly invited to a steakhouse in the Ritz Carlton. Wearing a decent shirt, khakis and 5.11 I did not really look out of place, unlike many of my friends dressed in variations of “tactical tuxedo“.
Obviously, if you’re trying to be a “grey man”, these boots shouldn’t be on your shopping list. But if you like me and prefer a look that tells everyone “Who am I kidding, I am a gun nerd…”, then 5.11 Taclite boots are not a bad option. Your girlfriend might even tell you that they look “tolerable for everyday wear”, which is a great achievement for any piece of tactical footwear.
I don’t know if I can be completely objective since I received my first pair for free. But at least I paid for a second pair. With 5.11 Taclite boots discontinued in the near future, the obvious question is – what will replace them in the 5.11 product line?
After talking to a few company representatives, I am under the impression that 5.11 Taclite boots 8-inch are still in production and only 6-inch model is being discontinued (I wish it was the other way around). Also, new Halcyon looks like a potential replacement of 5.11 Taclite boots, but only time will tell how good they are.
I hope that my second pair of 5.11 Taclite boots will survive for another 5 years and by that time, hopefully, scientists will finally invent compact hoverboards and footwear choice won’t be that critical anymore.
You can still find the 6-inch boots on Amazon, I am assuming until stock runs out:
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