U.S. soldiers deployed to Afghanistan are issued Mountain Combat Boots that are similar in style to hiking shoes.
Since 2002, U.S. military personnel have worn rough-out combat boots that are not shined or polished and typically tan in colour. However, the rugged mountainous terrain in Afghanistan requires that soldiers wear a combat boot that is designed to help with hiking and climbing. The Mountain Combat Boot is durable footwear designed specifically for the environment encountered in Afghanistan. It is also light weight compared to traditional combat boots and helps soldiers feet breathe in extremely hot weather conditions.
The Mountain Combat Boot is issued to U.S. soldiers who are deployed to Afghanistan as part of the U.S. Rapid Fielding initiative. Mountain Combat Boots also have sturdy ankle support and stability to help soldiers who are manoeuvring over uneven ground and mountainous terrain. And, the boot has durable and rugged soles to help grip the ground in the deserts of Afghanistan.
A Step Forward
Several other militaries around the world issue their soldiers similar hiking-style footwear for use in Afghanistan and elsewhere throughout the Middle East. For the U.S., the Mountain Combat Boot is a major step forward from the combat boots worn in the past. During the Vietnam Conflict of the 1960s, the U.S. military issued soldiers shined combat boots known as "Jungle Boots." Those combat boots were heavy and hot on soldiers’ feet when operating in tropical climates. As combat operations have moved to desert environments, the U.S. military has increasingly sought out combat boots that are light weight and cool on soldiers’ tired feet.