5.11 BUSINESS CASUAL CLOTHING LINE
When one hears the name 5.11, they typically don’t think of business casual clothing. The typical imagery that comes to mind is tactically oriented clothing that while civilian, still has a military look to it. In fact, the term “tactical tuxedo” has become synonymous with a guy wearing 5.11 clothing top and bottom, also know as being 10.22. It’s a common sight at SHOT show or sometimes while in transit in airports and your buddy will announce, “Check out the 10.22 headed our way”. It immediately paints a picture in ones mind on what to look for. Which is why I was surprised to find out that 5.11 has a line of business casual clothing that breaks that mold, for the most part. So for this review I went 15.33, that’s right 3 pieces of 5.11 clothing at one time, shirt, pants and shoes, while not looking like a tactical Timmy. In fact, it should meet all but the most demanding work environments where business casual dress is required.
BLUF: 5.11 has hit a home run with the Flex line of clothing with the ALPHA Flex Long sleeveshirt and EDGE Chino pants. Both items have now become clothing favorites of mine when working in a business casual to business environment, as they offer unequaled comfort and freedom of movement I don’t find in similar clothing I own. The MISSION Ready Oxford shoes proved to be a stylish and comfortable shoe that can be worn all day right out of the box. While each has small things I’d like to see changed, I HIGHLY recommend all three of the items in this review.
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ALPHA FLEX LONG SLEEVE SHIRT
5.11 currently offers a dress shirt in their clothing line, the ALPHA Flex long sleeve. The ALPHA Flex offers all of the features you would expect with a dress shirt, to include a button down collar. However, it’s a few of the smaller things about this shirt that I quickly realized make it different from the other dress shirts we all have in our closets.
The material weight of the ALPHA Flex is ideal in that its not so thin that it’s a summer time only dress shirt, it is what I would call an all season dress shirt, but the material is by no means overly heavy. One of the features I instantly liked about this shirt is due to its poly/cotton dobby stretch fabric construction. I cannot count the number of times, be it while doing Executive Protection work or while navigating the cubicle jungles, when I’ve moved to reach for something or was bending down and I could feel my dress shirt fabric go taught to the point I feared I might rip it if I continued. While wearing the ALPHA Flex dress shirt, I was pleasantly surprised by the actual flex or give of the material, even in the collar, when I expected to feel it go taught like most dress shirts. This made for a very fluid experience and a very comfortable one.
The ALPHA Flex is available is size XS- 2XXL and is true to size according to the 5.11 size chart. I found the fit to be adequate for an athletic fit and form fitting but not to the point of being clingy or too tight. If you’ve been spending time at the gym and you have a strong gun show game, you will find the upper arm and bicep portions of the shirt to be in your favor. There is plenty of room for both those with normal sized to Neanderthal arms. For the latter, the Flex material will be much appreciated, as it gives where you need it. If there is one thing some may not like, it might be the sleeve length. The sleeve length on the ALPHA Flex is generous, meaning they may be a tad long if you prefer a tailored and exact length sleeve. While this is not a new issue for me, due to my build, I actually found the longer sleeve to be beneficial to my overall flexibility and ability to move unrestricted as I went about my day. I also found the length accommodated for active physical movement while wearing a sports coat and not having to pull my shirt cuffs out of my sports coat constantly. I have to believe the length of the ALPHA Flex sleeves is an intentional move on 5.11’s part and not just due to my particular build, as the stock 5.11 photos of the shirt show the same generous length.
The other features I found worth mentioning is the versatility of the ALPHA Flex and its button down collar. It looks right at home alone but if the need for a tie and jacket arose, it looks equally as good with those additions. The Alpha Flex also utilizes impact resistant buttons. While I did not intentionally test this claim, I can say that the buttons do feel more durable than your typical dress shirt. Lastly and probably most importantly, the ALPHA Flex has a TEFLON treatment applied to it. The ability to shed liquids, like the inevitable coffee spill or the dreaded drop of mustard that escapes ones sandwich, is a huge bonus over other dress shirts.
The ALPHA Flex dress shirt has a lot of quality features that make it extremely comfortable to wear, even during strenuous activity and it has a very smart appearance, making it a shirt that can be worn in many different situations. Overall, I found the ALPHA Flex to be very comfortable to wear day in and day out and I missed it the days I had to wear a typical dress shirt. Adding several of the ALPHA Flex shirts to ones wardrobe is definitely something to consider. However, 5.11 only offers it in two colors currently, which limits ones selections. Hopefully 5.11 will add more colors in the future, enough so that one could be worn every day of the week if one was so inclined.
Colors available: Blue water stripe, Coin stripe
- Stretch collar
- Impact-resistance branded buttons
- Patch pocket
- Button-down collar
- Teflon® for soil and stain resistance
EDGE CHINO PANTS
The 5.11 EDGE Chino pants bring a refreshing addition to the 5.11 pants line as well as set the example of what all chinos should strive to be. I will cut right to the chase; these are extremely comfortable and are now my favorite pair of casual dress pants to wear. Constructed of 68% polyster, 32% cotton Flex-Tac fabric they sport a total of 7 pockets and a gusset crotch that allows for incredible mobility not found in normal casual or dress pants.
The use of Flex-Tac fabric and the gusset crotch allows the user to comfortably achieve a full squat among other non standard positions without restricting the wearer or binding. 5.11 also employs bar tacking at all the stress points on the pants to further ensure they hold up to extreme use over time. The EDGE Chino has just enough flex in the fabric to allow it to stretch in the waist for AIWB carry and in the legs when squatting or kneeling down. The EDGE Chino would be right at home on the range doing barricade and man down drills as it would be in the office. I found them to be even more comfortable than my favorite pair of jeans. If I had to compare them to something I’d say they actually feel and move like a comfortable pair of sweat pants. I can’t say any chinos or dress pants I have in my closet feel as comfortable and allow me the flexibility afforded by the 5.11 EDGE chinos.
The pockets on the EDGE chino are all plenty deep and don’t dump their contents out when seated. The front pockets have a squared off bottom edge, which accommodates for a flashlight or pocket knife clip and is one of several small things that differ from typical chino pants.
The back pockets are fairly typical with a button closure and are adequately deep. On the right rear pocket there is a small 5.11 label. For some, this might be a detractor if they prefer a cleaner look, but it can be removed by the wearer or even blacked out completely with a sharpie if one didn’t want to try removing the tag.
5.11 incorporated three additional pockets on the EDGE Chino, two of which are fairly inconspicuous and one that is less so. Located approximately at the three o’clock and the nine o’clock on the waist line (yoke), there is a small pocket that can hold an AR magazine deep enough that it only partially sticks out above the pocket opening. Likewise, these pockets can be used to hold other items such as a small IFAK, a tourniquet, a phone or even a slim wallet. However, if you carry OWB at either the three or the nine, this pocket may be obstructed enough to make it unusable.
The third pocket is located high on the wearer’s right front thigh. 5.11 calls this a device drop pocket and is intended for a phone or other electronic device. Conversely, it will also hold an AR magazine much like the pockets on the yoke do. The pocket is large enough to hold an Iphone X but anything bigger or wider than an AR magazine might prove to be a tight fit. These pockets are a departure from typical chinos and while the two on the pants yoke are hard to discern, the one on the thigh can be obvious when holding an item. This can detract from the pants looking like normal chinos as it does scream “tactical” a bit. Personally, I could do without this pocket for that very reason.
The belt loops are sturdy and more than adequate to accommodate any of the typical gun belt sizes. A typical dress belt doesn’t look out of place unless it is a very skinny one. In which case, the belt loops will look oversized. The belt loop at the six o’clock is not your typical belt loop but a larger piece of material with the 5.11 logo on it. While not a showstopper, this is another one of those “tactical” looking features that prevent these pants from blending into the typical sea of chino pants found in your average office. At the front of the pants, a zipper with a button closure secures the pants. At first glance I was dubious of the button coming off prematurely but upon closer inspection I noticed that 5.11 used a ribbon button, which allows it to move around, unlike a typically sewn on button. This was another nice design feature of the EDGE chinos that makes them a favorite of mine.
5.11 classifies the EDGE chinos as slim fit but they are not what I would call skinny jeans slim by any means. With that said, the bottom of the leg opening is approximately eight inches. If you wear an ankle IFAK or BUG, these pants might be a bit tight around the bottom. For overall fit, the EDGE chinos fit like a well fitting pair of pants, but if you hit the squat rack hard and have big legs and buttocks, you may find them to be snug. In which case, be prepared to go up a size or two.
Lastly, the EDGE chinos have a Teflon finish on them, so spills and stains roll off like water off a ducks back. This is another feature of the EDGE chinos that make them ideal for everything from range work to the office, as a simple washing brings them back to new looking. 5.11 offers the EDGE Chinos in several colors, so you can enjoy their comfort just about every day of the week.
Colors available: Black, Stone, Lunar, Dark Navy
FEATURES & DESCRIPTION
- 68% polyester, 32% cotton Flex-Tac fabric
- Teflon finish for stain and soil resistance
- 7 pockets including slash hand pockets, rear AR mag pockets and device drop pocket
- Slim fit
- Zip fly, button front
MISSION READY OXFORD SHOES
Right out of the box, the 5.11 Mission Ready Oxfordshoes prove to be comfortable enough to wear when you have to be on your feet all day long. With a classic full grain leather upper, they blend in perfectly with business casual to business dress environments.
Dress shoes usually prove to be uncomfortable and or impractical for those who have to be on their feet all day long and also may have to full on run at some point. The Mission Ready Oxford offers a simple lace up system and a one-piece Vibram sole that offers traction needed when transitioning between varying terrain outside to tile or marble floors inside. The Mission Ready Oxford is able to do this while not having an overly aggressive appearance that detracts from its business casual look.
I found the Mission Ready Oxfords to be comfortable to wear all day and didn’t feel like I was ever in a situation where I had to be concerned about unsure footing on different surfaces. While they are perfectly suited right out of the box, after a few days of wearing them they felt as comfortable as a good pair of trail shoes, something I cannot say for the typical leather soled dress shoes I’ve worn in the past.
The provided insoles are made of OrthoLite X25 and offer good cushioning and shock absorption, something I am not accustomed to saying about most stock insoles. Time will ultimately tell, but I anticipate that it will be some while before I have to replace them. The Oxfords also utilize D30 Lite in the midsole. While this product didn’t prove to be ideal when used in Army helmet pad testing, it received excellent marks for its rebound and comfort compared to other comparable alternatives typically used for shock absorption.
One observation I think bears mentioning about the Mission Ready Oxfords is that the size 9 regulars I wore seem to run a bit narrow compared to my other shoes. They aren’t overly narrow to the point that they were uncomfortable, but if you have even slightly wide feet, you should probably opt for the wide model over the regular if you cannot try them on first.
5.11 offers the Mission Ready Oxford in two colors, black and Flat Dark Earth. While I find the black model quite suitable for business casual to business wear, I cannot say the same about the flat dark earth model. The FDE version utilizes a white midsole for some reason, which looks out of place if not outright odd. Why 5.11 chose this color combination instead of just using a solid black mid sole eludes me. Hopefully they will change this in the future, as I would quickly recommend them for use where a brown shoe was required for a business casual environment.
Overall, I found the Mission Ready Oxford shoes to be an excellent choice for use in doing Executive Protection work or any role where you need the ability to stand comfortably all day, sure footing and a stylish appearance with business casual to business attire.
Colors Available: Black and Flat Dark Earth
- OrthoLite® X25 molded foam insole for better cushioning, shock absorption and comfort
- OrthoLite® ankle foam for better heel hold and comfort
- Vibram® Overland non-marking rubber outsole with XS Trek formula for better traction in wet and dry environments
- D3O® Lite midsole for added shock absorption, rebound and comfort over traditional EVA
- WR Full grain leather upper
- Agion® antimicrobial treatment on lining
5.11 has added three solid clothing choices that meet the requirements of business casual to their clothing line. For the average guy who doesn’t want a tactical look but still wants the functionality and comfort of tactical clothing, these three items successfully do that. All three pieces are appropriately priced and are of a good quality, making them a valuable addition to ones wardrobe.
Overall Rating: 4.25/4
The scale is defined as:
(1): Poor/unacceptable. Worse than expected, or desirable; of a low or inferior standard or quality.
(2): Fair. In conformity with reasonable expectations, but in comparison to competitors is may be deficient
(3): Average. Common item; item neither lacks from or is superior than a competitors item.
(4): Good. The item is desirable and has qualities that excel in comparison to a competitors item
(5): Excellent. Outstanding, possesses superior quality; remarkably good
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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