Of all the training shoes that I have the 5.11 ABR Trainer looks the simplest. I don’t like flashy shoes. It has sleek lines, a light flexible upper, a serrated outsole for good traction, and as tactical shoes go this one doesn’t shout, “tactical”. Nike, and Under Armour are some of the big brands that make shoes but they do not make anything exclusively for law-enforcement or the military that simultaneously crosses over into an athletic performance shoe and a casual shoe. Most shoes tend to be exclusively made for running, or hiking or lifting but there isn’t really a good shoe that gives you the best of all worlds. I think the 5.11 ABR Trainer looks good and can be used for most anything: from running, jumping, sliding down a rope, or climbing up a rope for that matter, and lastly for doing some trail if that’s your thing.

Here are the shoes that I believe are the closest that I’ve seen to the 5. 11 ABR (in the color black):  the LALO Bloodbirds, the HAIX Black Eagle Athletic Low Tops, the Chetco Tactical shoe, Salomon  Speed Cross, and the Magnum 5382 Intrepid HPI Athletic-style tactical shoes. Each of those brands offers a good shoe that might compete with the 5.11 in the area of cost, and function however, like most tactical footwear, they do not have a subdued look where they can simultaneously be paired with casual pants such as jeans, or worn with a uniform. Each of the shoes I mentioned also have their pros and cons. When shoes tend to have too many overlays made to enhance the functionality of the shoe and in the end increases the weight of the shoe, and it begins to look or function too much like a boot. A robust toecap, a reinforced shoe upper or mudguards, beefy lugs or the logo screams at you. In fact, a robust shoe tends to be heavier, won’t flex as much, and looks too much like a boot while the ABR seems to hold its own. It looks cool and I can use it at the gym, running outdoors, the gun range, or walking around town in casual clothing.

It’s a shoe meant for the indoors or outdoors and it performs well! It has sufficient cushioning in both the heel and forefoot and stays remarkably light for its category. I’ve always preferred less shoe or less boot. If I find a shoe or boot that is light-weight and protective then there’s a good chance I’m going to buy it. Why? Because I like responsiveness, and I want the ability to explode when I have to. If you read any of my older posts you’ll notice that I’ve run many miles in blue-jeans. Experience has taught me that my vehicle can break down, or I’d be stuck somewhere I didn’t want to be and lacked a vehicle. On my last venture my ride left me behind in a country town and I needed to run over 10 miles in the windy cold while traffic whizzed by. I ended up at a gas station and  actually hitchhiked the rest of the way back. I can move long distances on my feet and moving from point A to point B with the best footwear on my feet is of the greatest importance to me. I spend more on footwear than I do on anything else I buy for myself.

Right out of the box I wasn’t sure how the shoe would do for me. Looking at the shoe, with its unique design, it appeared that it could be used most anywhere. The shoe fit me even though I have wide feet. They fit on the smaller side so I recommend going up one size. The toe box is not as wide as I prefer and this is because of those big sausages I call toes that take up room in the toe-box of my shoes. Go up a size if you have the same problem as I do. The shoe has an 8 mm heel-to-toe drop so it isn’t a ‘Crossfit’ low drop shoe like the Reebok Metcons but it isn’t as high as a running shoe with a 12mm drop either. This means with a shorter heel the ABR is more responsive to movements such as exploding forward. It has somewhat of a cushy feel when you exercise, so keep this in mind. It might be too cushy for your liking if you want to do Olympic lifting for heavy movements such as squats and deadlifts. With Olympic lifting your energy from your movements should drive upwards rather than diagonally and the ABRs are probably not the best fit for serious ‘O’ lifting but it does the job in the gym.

The upper is made of a welded mesh upper material rather than made of fabric. It isn’t as soft as fabric but for the purposes of using them in the gym or on the road for a few hours this is acceptable to me. It will take a few workouts for it to become more flexible. The outsole is a bit stiff at first too. It has gripping power and that’s great for using it on most surfaces. I’m loving these shoes. The glove-like fit makes them feel really light and comfortable. You want a shoe that feels more like an extension of your limb, instead of feeling like you’re carrying a shoe on your foot. I also took them on a trail run and I hoped to do some serious distance in them, but ran out of time. I have yet to try them out on some technical trails but will go back when the weekend comes. They aren’t trail shoes but they do pretty well considering. They do well in weeds and on dirt, grass is no problem and street is fine too.

The shoes have a good heel counter to correct your pronation or supinating foot when it strikes the ground. It has a nice little pull-tab on the back of the shoe and on the tongue for getting your shoes on and off quickly. After several hundred miles I am satisfied this one of my choices for a primary training shoe. The shoe strings are strong and the eyelets are reinforced. With the ABR you get a sport shoe that is good for outdoors or indoors and adds some cushioning without adding too much weight or compromising the 5.11 footwear concept and principles of protecting your feet. It is built to stand the wear and tear of asphalt and tarmac while you’re running or standing duty as a LEO professional.  I highly recommend the 5.11 for use at the outdoor shooting range and will recommend it to our shooting community. I believe it will hold up to continuous side to side shuffling. The black color looks good, and the Gecko color looks incredible. This is not a running shoe meant for long distances and it is not meant to compete with serious trail running shoes. The price is good, and the weight is sufficient for work wear or play wear. Give it a try. At $109.00 bucks how can you go wrong?


The ABR Trainer gets you going on the right foot. Featuring a lightweight, low-profile platform, Ortholite® 2mm construction, and an Ortholite® sockliner, these shoes deliver all-day support and comfort. A welded, stretch mesh upper provides stability, durability, and flexibility, while the 8mm heel-to-toe drop offers exceptional proprioception, making these shoes perfect for your workout. A Rope Ready™ zone adds utility. Make the most of your hard work.


The ABR Trainer gets you going on the right foot. Featuring a lightweight, low-profile platform, Ortholite® 2mm construction, and an Ortholite® sockliner, these shoes deliver all-day support and comfort. Make the most of your hard work.


  • High-performance training shoe
  • Enhanced comfort, stability, and traction
  • Ideal for cross training and any heavy workout


  • 8 mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Welded, stretch mesh upper
  • Toe reinforcement
  • Ortholite® sockliner
  • Rope Ready™ Zone
  • Imported

Overall, I would definitely feel comfortable recommending these shoes. They’re a wonderful addition to the running arsenal as a natural, neutral trainer ready to support you for many miles. Final scores are as follows:

Cost 5/5

Weight 4/5

Function 5/5

Durability 5/5

Comfort 4.5/5

Cushion: 4/5

Stability: 5/5

Flexibility: 3.5/5

Overall: 34.5/ 40

Material Disclosure

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.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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About The Author

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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