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History of combat boots in pictures

From tall leather boots to modern military footwear, these images show the evolution of combat boots.

Peter Suciu

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WWII Service Shoes

Short ankle-high Service Shoes were still in use when America entered the Second World War. These boots were typically worn with canvas gaiters, which offered some, but not much, support. 

((Peter Suciu))

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Leather Boots

Tall leather riding boots were favored by American officers of means during and after World War I. Boots such as these were popular with British and French officers and American officers soon copied the style of the Europeans. Specialty boot makers such as Peal & Company produced these quality boots and even provided wooden blocks to ensure the boots would hold their shape! 

((Peter Suciu))

leather-boots

Russet Marching Shoes

Introduced in 1904 the Russet Marching Shoe was the first true Service Shoe of the U.S. military. It was brown leather and needed to be polished regularly. It was typically worn with puttees or gaiters. 

((National World War I Museum and Memorial, Kansas City, MO))

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Service Shoes

The “classic” Service Shoe that American soldiers wore throughout much of World War I and World War II. These short shoes were worn with puttees or canvas gaiters. 

((John Adams-Graf))

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Pershing Model Trench Shoes

An improvement over the Service Shoes, the Pershing Model Trench Boots earned the moniker “Little Tanks.” These were used by American soldiers in the trenches of France and Belgium at the end of World War I 100 years ago. 

((National World War I Museum and Memorial, Kansas City, MO))

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Service Shoes 1943

The Service Shoes were last updated in 1943 – simplifying the process and offering a rough out. This pattern was shortlived. 

((John Adams-Graf))

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Double Buckle Boots

The Service Shoes finally gave way to the “Boots, Combat Service” version that has been more commonly known as the “Double Buckle Boots” in the latter half of World War II. These boots were essentially just modified Service Shoes with a leather high-top cuff added, which closed using two buckles. 

((Peter Suciu))

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Double Buckle Boots 2

An unissued pair of “Boots, Combat Service” or “Double Buckle Boots.” These boots were used throughout the end of World War II and the Korean War.

((John Adams-Graf))

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Paratrooper Boots

The first true tall lace up combat boot was the 1941 pattern paratrooper boots, which were produced in brown in World War II. 

((John Adams-Graf))

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Black Combat Boots

While we often think of combat boots as being your basic black, the truth is that the U.S. military only switched from brown to black in 1957. These leather boots remained in use well into the 1990s, and even saw extensive use at the start of America’s role in Vietnam.

((Peter Suciu))

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Jungle Boots

The all leather combat boots weren’t practical for jungle use, which is why the military developed the Jungle Boots prior to World War II. As with other combat boots these were originally brown, but later on, black, as well as nylon canvas. These boots were used in Vietnam, Grenada and Panama. It wasn’t uncommon to see American soldiers with Jungle Boots in the Gulf War in 1991. 

((Peter Suciu))

jungle-boots

Desert Boots

An example of the current issue Army Combat Boot (Temperate Weather). Army Regulation (AR) 670-1 calls for these to be 8 to 10 inches in height, made of tan or coyote flesh out of cattlehide leather with a plain toe and sole matching the color of the upper, with rubber or polyether polyurethane outsole and all leather or leather and nonmesh fabric

((Peter Suciu))

desert-boots-



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