“The way we continued to move forward with innovation was simply asking end-users, law enforcement, military, fire, EMS, “What problems do you have that have not been addressed properly? – What we say is, “Bring us your problem set. Bring us what’s not working. Let us build a purpose built product. Let us build a tool to solve that problem.” So it’s really end-user feedback, defining a problem set, that sets up a roadmap for innovation.” – Tom Davin, 5.11 CEO.
We catch up with Brendan R about the design process with regard to a 5.11 boot like the new EVO. We also took a few shots of the development process from a sketch to working samples to a final product. Enjoy.
1) How does the process start when designing a new boot?
The process for starting a concept for boots/footwear, we start talking with our end consumers(Law enforcement/military/Fire/EMS)about what their needs are. We look at our current footwear line and how we can help fill these needs or possible new needs. We sit down and discuss the needs and features, look at current materials and new development concepts and how all of this can be used to create the best performing product for our guys.
2) How many wear/fit testers are involved in testing boots?
We can have anywhere from 5 to 55 people. It all depends on the project.
3) Are there any great tester feedback stories you can share with us?
We have had a lot of great feedback from our end consumers. We received a letter from one of our testes about how he failed. I was pretty taken back from the letter considering he was taking the blame. But as you read long the letter, he spoke about how he took a pair of Xprt 2.0 and took them on a 30 mile hike through death valley without breaking them in. He did hikes and training in the wet weather, cold weather, snow, you name it. He was apologizing because he couldn’t destroy the boots no matter how hard he tried.
4) What are some of the most innovative features found on 5.11 boots that people might not know of?
The dual lacing for the ankle is something that people over look. This allows for customizing the ankle support and how the boot feels. There are a lot of details with the outsole from the fence climbing lugs, the 5.11 friend finder, the rope ready mid foot.
5) How long does it take to produce a boot like the EVO?
The EVO took a longer than most because of figuring out how we wanted to solve as many issues as possible. We wanted to make an extremely durable and supportive boot but also the most comfortable ride. We looked at many different types of outsole and upper constructions. We played with so many different footbed and midsole cushioning combinations. The project has been worked on and off for the last year and half. Once we partnered with D30 and started testing it with some of the combinations of outsoles and Ortholite footbeds, we felt that we found the best offering.