Limited edition shoes aren’t my thing, but the 5.11 Norris Multicam limited edition did catch my eye when launched. The Norris is more akin to a workboot in terms of features but they look and wears like a sneaker. As a result, these quickly became my go-to shoes for daily use. Now after 2 years of hard use and abuse, let’s take another look at them
5.11 @ TFB:
- The 5.11 Norris Boot vs. Europe vs. My Mother-in-Law
- Review: 5.11 Tactical Range Ready Trainer Bag 50L
- How to Dress like a “Gray Man” (Yes, even in 5.11)
TFB Review: 5.11 Norris Sneakers After 2 Years of Abuse
Before I dive into my description of these shoes, here’s the description from 5.11 Tactical:
It may look like a casual, high-top sneaker, and it is, but the 5.11 Norris is stacked even higher with style, comfort, and tactical intelligence. The Vibram® Marbrani outsole with XS Trek provides the optimal balance of traction and durability, particularly on wet surfaces, and Ortholite® technology cushions your feet in total support and comfort. The 5.11 Norris is ASTM certified for puncture resistance and built with a super-strong Welmax board that guards your feet against up to 1,200 newtons of force. From the outside in, this shoe is more than show.
Now that we’ve established they’re not sneakers (but kinda look like sneakers) let’s dive into how they wear.
As you’d imagine having a heavier sole means there’s a bit of a break-in period with the Norris. I wore these daily (because I’m not a shoe collector) for the first couple of weeks after I bought them. I’d say with daily use you’ll notice they start to break in like a work boot at about the one-week mark. They’re comfortable right out of the box, but the toe is a little stiff and takes some breaking in.
For the past two years, I’ve hung these Norris out of helicopters and slid around a glacier on the top of Europe with them, and they’ve been the go-to shoe I wear when at my local range. The lifespan of other shoes I’ve done this with has been about six months. So after looking through my camera roll I was surprised to find it’s been two years since I bought these.
On the outside, they look almost new. I’d wipe these off with a damp microfiber cloth after they got dirty, but never did any advanced cleaning. It is no surprise the Vibram soles have only a little wear even after all this time. The flat bottom is great for summer use, but I’d use a different shoe/boot for the snow/ice winter season.
The inside back half of the shoe is sadly the only point where it shows its age. I like to wear these a little loose for everyday use, and after a while, the back of my heel has started to wear through the liner. A shame as I’d like to replace these with an identical pair, but sadly the Multicam (and Black Multicam) were limited editions that are no longer made. I don’t pretend to understand fashion or marketing, but it’s a shame I can’t buy another pair of this exact color, and here’s why.
Pros and Cons
This isn’t my first pair of 5.11 Norris sneakers (these are actually my second and third pair), but it has been the pair that’s lasted me the longest. Knowing I’d be unable to get another Multicam shoe, I bought the second pair of Norris in this storm gray color. I wore these off and on for a few weeks until I noticed something strange.
Prior to this, I had an OD Green pair that after 4-5 months of use tore next to this seam in the front of the shoe. I thought this was odd and took them back to my local 5.11 store. They were happy to replace the shoe but didn’t have the color in stock. So I exchanged them for the limited edition Multicam pair. Now with this gray pair, the same thing has happened. I’m not sure if it’s the size of my foot, the fabric, or something else.
Sadly all the colors you see are no longer produced (remember I don’t understand fashion, so this makes zero sense to me). I am hopeful that they’ve decided to use heavier fabric on the new shoes so I can continue the cycle of buying a new pair of Norris and subsequently running them into the ground.
A pair of 5.11 Norris sneakers will set you back $115 current MSRP. Personally, these have been my favorite shoes that act like work boots. All while having enough support to stand on all day. My hope is that 5.11 is reading this and will re-release the Multicam and Black Multicam. But if that’s not really your speed, I’m sure there’s a color in the Norris lineup that’ll work for you.
- MSRP $115
- Vibram® Marbrani outsole with XS Trek
- Climbing grade rubber toe protection
- ASTM certified for puncture resistance
- New full length Ortholite® footbed
- Ortholite® upper cuff for comfort, heel hold & protection
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