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Combat Boots - Keeping Soldiers Moving

Military footwear has improved greatly over the years.


Combat Boots - Keeping Soldiers Moving
Updated February 10, 2011

The combat boots worn by soldiers in modern warfare have advanced significantly from the military footwear used in the past.

Rough-Out Boots

Since 2002, U.S. military personnel have worn a rough-out combat boot. This means that the combat boots are not shined or polished. The majority of combat boots now worn by U.S. soldiers are tan in colour and designed to be used in hot dessert environments where the majority of U.S. military operations are taking place. Some modern combat boots are made of suede leather and can be designed in a camouflage green colour.

Current combat boots are light weight at about 2 pounds and extremely waterproof. U.S. military combat boots are typically used with moisture wicking socks that are designed to keep soldiers’ feet dry – whether from water or sweat. Typically, combat boots are eight inches in height and have a thick, durable tread. Commercial versions of military combat boots are allowed provided that they are eight inches in height.

Past Boots

Combat boots have evolved over the decades and gone through many different versions. During World War One, American soldiers were outfitted with "Trench Boots." These were made of cowhide and had iron plates welded to the soles. The Trench Boot was not waterproof and led to problems for soldiers fighting in soggy trenches across Europe. The first modern combat boot was introduced in World War Two. It was a modified service shoe and had thick leather and rubber to make it waterproof. It also was fastened using two buckles.

During the Vietnam Conflict of the 1960s, the U.S. military switched to a black, shined combat boot. This was also known as a "Jungle Boot." However, these combat boots were heavy and hot on soldiers’ feet when operating in tropical climates. As modern combat operations migrated to desert environments, the U.S. military adjusted the combat boot to be light weight, cool and dry. 

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