Duty boots must be able to take a beating, but 5.11 Tactical’s new A/T 8 HD boots do that and more. The boots feature a heat-reflective strobel sock that reflects heat from pavement and concrete away while a new infrared-refracting leather drops the surface temperature of the boots, providing a cooler and more comfortable wearing experience.
POLICE recently put the A/T 8 HD boots to test in the sweltering heat and humidity of central Georgia during June and part of July. Law enforcement apparel maker 5.11 provided boots for testing by the Thomson Police Department. And the officers of the small department, located just off Interstate 20 near Augusta, shared their feedback on the experience.
Most officers told of a really hard break-in period, but then tended to deem the boots as comfortable and durable once broken in. The assistant chief, who has decades more experience than most of his officers, turned to an old trick and suggested officers use saddle soap to help break in the boots.
Once past the break-in period, it was up to officers to settle into their normal routines and review how the boots worked for them. A good many reported the key advantage they noticed was the cooling effect while others highlighted the comfort, support, and cushioning.
“We were able to test this boot in the summertime and I was able to tell a great difference with the ability of the boot to breathe. You could actually feel the air circulation coming through the boot,” says Sgt. Steven Sanford, a seven-year veteran of the department who now leads a patrol shift. “Being on pavement usually you would have sweaty feet, but with these boots the air kept them dry and cooler.”
Sanford said he could recommend the boots to other officers because they are “easy to shine, they breathe well, they are waterproof, and hold up to a patrol test.” He pointed out the boots also standup well to scuffs and working outside. Stanford also says, “the cushion and support of the boot helped with standing and being on my feet for a long period of time.”
Another Thomson Police Department sergeant likewise noted the cooling aspects of the boots in particular.
“While standing in the roadway during these brutal Georgia summer days, I could feel the breeze coming through the boots. Surprisingly, the tops of the boots stay cool despite the all black leather,” explains Sgt. Chris Mullis, an investigator who has worked in law enforcement for the past nine years. “The air holes just above the sole of the boot allow wind to come through.”
Like Sanford, Mullis too would recommend the boots to others because they allow the feet to breathe and stay cooler.
For some officers, the main benefit of the boots was not about cooling but rather comfort and support.
With just two years of law enforcement experience, Officer Dwayne Deloatch notes the fit is comfortable after the break-in period. He says he experienced less foot and back fatigue while wearing these boots as compared to others and said the cushioned soles were very comfortable.
“Compared to other boots they are lightweight and durable. You can also wear them for long periods of time, and I love the fit,” says Deloatch.
Among the Thomson officers, with more than two decades of law enforcement experience Assistant Chief Robert Brown has gone through a good many duty boots in his career. Being an assistant chief in a small town is not simple a desk job, so since Brown hits the streets when needed he tested the boots as well.
Brown, like most of the officers, said the 8-inch boot came a little higher up the leg than most boots they have worn.
He compared them to his military boots from years ago. At this point, according to 5.11, the boot is only offered in the 8-inch version. Because of the height of the boot, several of the Thomson officers suggested the need for side zippers, also not currently available in this boot model.
While working a special detail, Brown confirmed the heat-reducing quality of the boots.
“I had to be in the sun from 0900 hours to 1500 hours directing traffic and noticed that when the breeze went through, I could fell the wind through the boots. During that time the bottom of the sole did not get hot to the feet. I was surprised by the coolness of the boot. The top did not get hot either,” says Brown.
In late June, 5.11 was awarded the 2022 Innovation Award for Footwear from The Network American Association of Uniform Manufacturers & Distributors (NAUMD) for the A/T 8 HD boot for its ability to distribute weight, improve stability, and return energy to provide all-day performance while also offering protection from heat and the sun.
“Our product team puts a strong emphasis on leading with innovation and advanced technology to create the best products possible for our end users,” says Brendan Rynne, senior category manager for footwear for 5.11. “We are honored to receive this award as a testament to our many hours of work and dedication to creating the A/T 8 HD Boot.”
Additional key features that help accomplish the boot’s overall superior functionality are the A.T.L.A.S. Plate for support and weight distribution, Ortholite Comfort Foam Footbed for all-day comfort, an Echo-Lite Foam EVA/outsole for energy return with each step, Force Form for high-impact protection, an aggressive and high-traction ASTM outsole for improved traction, and TPU welding. The A/T 8 HD Boot also has a perforated tongue that creates added breathability and airflow.
• Features: perforated tongue, heat-reﬂective strobel sock, infrared refracting leather, All Terrain Load System, high-traction outsole, and Ortholite footbed.
• ISO 20347:2012 - PPE Occupational Footwear Standard —slip resistance (OB), fuel oil resistant outsole (FO), outsole resistant to hot contact (HRO), and slip resistance tested on ceramic surface with ‘soap’ (SRA).
• Available in sizes Regular 4, 5, 6-12, 13, 14, 15 |Wide 7-12, 13, 14.
• Available in two color options — black or black coffee (dark brown).
• Price: $185