It’s hot y’all. Florida temperatures have hit over a hundred degrees for a few days in a row, and it can be downright miserable. At the same time, most of my outside work is in the summer. I’m a fan of jungle boots for such adventures, but I gave the new 5.11 Tactical A/T HD boot a try for the entire month of July. Jungle boots are fine, but the new 5.11 A/T HD boots are specifically made for the heat and do more than just add a couple of vents to the design.
I asked and received the boots from 5.11 Tactical for review. I specifically went with the 8-inch tall, all-black models. They harken back to days gone of polishable boots, and these were days before I joined the military. I liked the look, and they met my agency’s requirements for boots. This includes the color, length, and specific specs, and the fact they were built to beat the heat was impressive enough to get me interested.
The A/T HD Boot – What’s In A Name
The A/T in the name signifies they use 5.11’s new Atlas system. Atlas, aka the all-terrain load assistance system, is designed for those carrying a load. It’s a clever reference to Atlas, the guy who carried the world on his shoulders. I’ve used this system before and found it to be incredibly comfortable and great when carrying weight.
HD stands for heat deflecting. 5.11 Tactical says that they use a heat-reflective Strobel sock that reflects heat from the ground. A Strobel sock, in case you didn’t know (because I didn’t), is the bottom part of the inside of the shoe. Additionally, 5.11 Tactical uses infrared refracting leather to drop the temperature inside the boot. Oh, and the tongue is also perforated to make the whole boot a little more breathable.
With all this said, I took the boots on for the last month to see just how well they worked. Let’s see if the A/T HD Boots live up to their reputation.
First Steps with the A/T HD Boots
Like all boots, these things needed a good breaking in. While they were still new, I strapped them on and wore them around the house for most of the day. I did this for hours until my feet got sore, and I would take a break. The breaking-in took a couple of days on non-serious use before they stopped making my feet cramp.
This month was also an interesting one for me. I took a vacation to the mountains and began an 8-week workout program designed for those looking to become Green Berets. This SFAS program has tons of hikes and is a perfect testing medium for these boots. On my first three-mile hike with 35 pounds, I admittedly got a little crampy but not bad enough to tap out. That 3-mile over-the-road hike really finished breaking them in.
By the time I got to the 8-mile road march, this wasn’t an issue anymore. The Atlas system is fantastic for providing support, especially with weight on your back. Zero hot spots popped up and blisters weren’t an issue, and after the hike, I didn’t have sore ankles, calves, or more. I laced my boots down plenty tight, and the A/T HD boots provide wonderful ankle support. I hike on a dirt road, and it’s not exactly even ground. I’ve yet to roll an ankle, even when I zone out at about mile five and stop paying attention to the terrain.
What About the Heat
I paired the 5.11 Tactical A/T HD boots with some merino wool socks, and that was the ticket to comfy feet. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to how my feet felt. It wasn’t until I was a few days in that I realized, holy crap, my feet aren’t soaked with sweat, my socks aren’t saggy and gross, and I didn’t go through my cold feet cycle.
My cold feet cycle is what happens when I work outside or hike and then come in and cool down. My sweat-soaked feet would then get cold because of central air conditioning rocks. I don’t feel the heat of the ground, and even when standing in full sunlight, I don’t have a problem with the boots getting hot and uncomfy.
Everything Else About the A/T HD Boots
While the boots are big with their 8-inch sides, they are fairly lightweight and won’t break you down. The tongue is super comfy, and there is nothing in the boots that pokes and prods like an errant seam. The traction is robust and digs into the ground to make anything slip-free and safe. Wet terrain, sand, dirt roads, and beyond won’t trip you up.
Plus, I like the look of the boots. Looks matter when it comes to clothes, and these boots look good. They are professional and subdued, without any kind of craziness to them. The 5.11 Tactical logo is very small and subdued as well. I think the 5.11 Tactical A/T HD boots are my new summer love.