Spending so much time outdoors while growing up in the 1960s, having the best sneaker was important. The top brands of the time — Keds, Red Ball Jets and P.F. Flyers — all promised the wearers comfort along with the ability to run faster and jump higher. Tactical footwear has an altogether different purpose.
Tactical footwear is generally designed to perform under tough circumstances as well as keep the wearer comfortable and agile. I worked as a cop during the rise of the tactical footwear industry. Shoes for law enforcement evolved from Oxford dress shoes — dress shoes with thicker rubber soles — to the modern uniform boots of today. Following tactical boots, came tactical shoes, or the increasingly popular hiking shoes.
While attending training classes by the Columbus Police SWAT, I noticed their sergeant wearing a pair of Merrell MOABs. He noted that their team loves the MOAB for off-duty wear. Should officers have to respond to a call during days off, this footwear could get them through the mission without having to take time to change into boots. I’ve worn MOABs on a daily basis for the past 16 years now.
5.11 Tackles Tactical Footwear: The Ranger 2.0
With nearly 20 years of producing duty footwear, 5.11 has now entered the tactical sneaker/hiking shoe industry with the Ranger 2.0 All Terrain sneaker. To provide complete support whether on the job or on the trail, 5.11 utilized its specialized All Terrain Load Assistance System (ATLAS). And a removable support plate can give additional support when the wearer carries heavy loads.
A toe cap provides further durability and protection, while the breathable mesh construction keeps feet cool in hot weather. And the shoe sports a suede leather upper. Each shoe weighs in at 1 pound, 1.4 ounces. Comparably, the MOAB weighs 1 pound, 4.8 ounces each shoe. 5.11 applied a multi-directional outsole lug to stand up to all terrain.
The Ortholite insole combined with the 5.11 Echo Lite high rebound EVA midsole is designed to give increased support and comfort. An ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole is a foam-type material that has been providing cushioning and support in athletic shoes for more than 40 years.
Field Testing the Tactical Shoes
After 40 years of law enforcement work and 25 years of defensive tactics plus physical fitness training, support and comfort is important to me. The Ranger 2.0 A/T is an extremely comfortable shoe. I wore these shoes for everything from walking outdoors to trips to the mall to church during and came away from testing duly impressed. These shoes can certainly help to maintain situational readiness.
The Ranger 2.0 tactical shoe only comes in one color pattern: Dark Coyote/Khaki. But this pattern doesn’t scream “tactical” and can work with several styles of clothing. 5.11 doesn’t currently offer the Ranger 2.0 for women, but the A/T Trainer appears to possess all the same features, and in a wider color array.
Are 5.11 Ranger Shoes a Good Buy?
Ranger 2.0 A/T Tactical sneaker/hiker is an excellent alternative to the Merrell shoe line. And it’s much more affordable. While Merrell MOABs are currently priced at $130, the 5.11 Rangers are currently $74.79 on the 5.11 website. If you are in the market for a footwear upgrade and looking for something versatile, comfortable, high-quality, affordable and that can go with many outfits, look no further than the 5.11 2.0 A/T Tactical sneaker. Who knows? If you purchase a pair of 5.11 Ranger A/Ts you may also run faster and jump higher than the other kids on the block!