Review of 5.11 Apex boots

Our most favorite boots for getting through a dirty NYC winter

Review of 5.11 Apex waterproof boots
5.11's boots resist salt, snow, and urban muck

So, you live on a farm in Michigan? Or work on the docks of Anchorage? Then you understand the need for good footwear.

Well, some of us here at Preparation Concierge live in New York City, and we'll challenge you for levels of overall muck, especially in the winter and fall. It's usually cold, it's yucky, and the streets are filled with all kinds of indescribable yech. (If there are 8 million people in NYC, there are at least half that many dogs, and guess where they use the bathroom?)

Every winter we look for boots that will hold up to the salt and the snow and the mud and the city trash. Boots where we won't look ridiculous, that are truly comfortable, and where we can simply stomp through gutter swamps rather than doing a gazelle jump from the curb to street.

Cue 5.11 Tactical and its eight-inch Apex Waterproof boots.

A cold trash-day in NYC? The Apex are a good choice

For those not in the know (and we didn't until last year), 5.11 is a California company that often outfits police with tactical clothing and gear. We appreciate the durable quality and thoughtful details of the gear. We've come to swear by gloves like the High Abrasion tactical gloves, which we now wear every day in winter in lieu of all the other, fancy gloves in our closet. You can fish a MetroCard out of your wallet without taking them off — key when you don't want to touch anything in the subway. (And we never do.)

Hey, we're New Yorkers and we appreciate fashion. What's interesting is that the 5.11 gear actually makes a good mash-up with high-end clothes. And it super delivers. Other urban denizens should take note. (And when we move from our # NYCTestApartment to our country # PoconosTestHouse, the gear stands up to the woods and wood cutting and rock clear and river crossing, too.)

The Apex Tech Specs

The boots come in coyote (er, tan) and black and the outers are leather. They are reasonably waterproof — serving well through deep puddles, but wouldn't hold a tight seal when totally submerged. That's not really their mandate, anyhow. They've got chunky Vibram soles that are remarkably stable and slip-proof. Critically they feel good on the feet. They aren't light, but we prefer a boot that feels sturdy like the Apex. They were comfortable from the first time we tried them on, and they've become more so as they've broken in and conformed to our feet.

Winter ready

We had an early snow in New York in November 2018, and the 5.11's have been our go-to snow boot since. They are warm, but NOT a snow boot. We like this distinction, as it allows us the option to wear thicker or thinner wool socks with them to regulate the temperature. Nothing bugs us more than sweaty boots. And so far the Apex haven't had odor problems either. (Us stink? Never! Er...)

The company also claims that the interior lining is protection against blood-borne pathogens. Something we're hoping we won't have to test out. However, we have stuck out hours on our feet this winter in negative 16 windchill, and our feet were toasty.

We also dig, in a slightly geeky way, the subtle side pockets, ideal for a knife or multi-tool or, perhaps, your MetroCard.

Check out the nifty side pocket.

If we had to evacuate the city on foot (yes, something we think about often enough), and were to slog to another state in late fall, winter or spring, the 5.11 Apex would be our footwear of choice.

About us: Preparation Concierge is devoted to emergency planning and disaster preparation. We offer users level 101 information and advice, and a smartly curated list of gear, food, and water solutions. We take a particular interest in urban and suburban areas — these populations are especially fragile and susceptible to disasters, and are often the most unprepared.

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