Skip to comments.Woes of the foot soldier: Sore feet spur Army to fight for new boots
Posted on 08/26/2013 4:52:04 PM PDT by yoe
An Army survey of sore-footed soldiers has led leaders to take on a new mission: finding the perfect boot that withstands the weather but properly cushions across long treks and rough terrains.
And the Army has put a team of specialists on the job footwear project engineers at the branchs Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts.
The soldier lives in his boots, said Bob Hall, one of the footwear engineers, in The Boston Globe. If hes having problems with his boots, hes having problems with everything.
Army researchers in Natick are winding down a two-year campaign sparked by a survey that revealed soldiers core complaint, aching feet to develop a boot for Middle East terrain. The military took prototype boot submissions in 2011, and now the fields been narrowed to three potential companies with lengthy backgrounds making footwear for the military: Bates Footwear of Rockford, Mich.; Belleville Boot Co. in Belleville, Ill.; and Danner in Portland, Ore.
We know who makes the best boots out there and we tap into the best technology the industry has, said Sgt. Maj. Emmett Maunakea in The Globe article. Theres so much science that goes into it.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
Danners are great, got a pair of Ft.Lewis boots
I’ve worn for 20 years.
Just bought a pair of Bates RAT boots, pretty
comfortable, although I had to replace the upper
eyelets with hooks, Did the same with the Danners too,
just like them more.
The Rat boots are good but rather soft sided.
The Ft.Lewis have served me well and are excellent
in mountainous terrain, stiffer.
Both have Vibram soles.
Wish we had something like that back in the day of fifty mile forced marches with full field packs and weapons wearing hard leather boondockers.
LL Bean Crestas. I have a pair that has over 2,000 miles on them including at least 5 ‘marathon’ hikes in the mountains (31 to 40 miles/day) and many, many days over 20 miles. Not one blister. Ever. Very comfortable boots for hiking/backpacking (and I have the bad habit of carrying way too heavy a load). They’d probably be an improvement over what is being worn now.
Yep. Kinky Shoes.
I wear out a pair of Vibram soles in a maximum of two years. How many times have you resoled these Danners? Mind you, I'm not doubting that they're good boots, I'm just trying to compare the value to the Wesco's I'm wearing now, as I can rarely resole them more than once. I do firefighting and logging among other things. Heat is hell on boots.
Ok, I admit I take care of them and only wear them
hunting, clean them at the end of the season, sno-seal
them put stretchers in and pack them up til next year.
For work I wear RedWing steel toe shoes and I get about
two years out of a pair, back when I was doing fabrication
and red iron. They are pricier than others but are what
I’ve found works best, like Carhart or Filson.
Absolutely the most comfortable boots or shoes I have ever owned. The LLB Crestas are pricey, but well worth it. I have them in black and dark brown, and they work well with a business casual look.
- not a paid advertisement
That isn't necessarily a bad thing but training them up to a tour in Iraq or Afghanistan is going to entail a slightly different approach from the one that put farm kids into combat boots in WWII. Or at least a better-planned transition.
Bates and Danner are awfully good and I don't have any data on the other. These days I'm mostly in Browning or Timberland, myself, but I'm carrying a 60-year-old body over terrain a lot less challenging than the Hindu Kush. I get to sit down now and then, mostly now, and there's nobody shooting at me (at least deliberately). A 20-something soldier in prime physical condition carrying a rifle and a 70-lb pack is quite another thing.
But I'll be following this choice carefully, because you never know.
these kids have never known a world without Nikes and Adidas as primary footwear.”
The grandson has to wear what he also calls “hard” shoes when they go out to eat, to school on Wednesday with a white dress shirt for chapel and to church on Sundays. You wouldn’t believe all the grousing that goes with it.
In the meantime, my son needs to replace his hiking boots so everyone’s comments on this post are certainly helpful; they will be my Christmas gift to him.
OK, you get my vote for Gram of the year. :-)
My last pair I found at the outlet store - $50 less & perfect!! I have a wide foot so I figured I wouldn’t find what I needed, especially since Crestas are so popular, they’d be snapped right up. Actually, I wanted to try a regular width boot and a ‘wide’. Got there, wandered up and down the shoe racks ... everything was mixed together ... shoes, boots, slippers, etc. Saw a pair of brown toes peeping out ... Crestas? Yup ... regulars. Tried them on and it was no dice - too tight with my hiking socks. I’d been up and down at least twice ... took one more look ... was that a pair of brown toes on the very end of the bottom shelf? It WAS ... pulled out another pair of Crestas and did a happy dance to the cash registers (literally - they thought I was nuts!) because it was exactly what I wanted - all leather, my size, in wide and a perfect fit. Sometimes it’s just your “lucky” day! :-)
I wonder how the Romans became a world power wearing sandals.
I have been wearing a boot made by Converse for the last 3 years. It is by far the best boot I have ever worn. This boot is cool in the Arizona summer and warm in the winter. It has a composite toe that does not conduct heat and is stronger than conventional steel toes. I’ve worn boots all my life, from cowboy boots, to the “Black Cadilacs” the Marine Corps issued me for 20 years. 3 years before I retired from the Corps we were issued the new boot. It was a great improvement over the old crap, but nothing will compare to the Converse boot I wear for work now.
Which ones? Are those the Rapid Response Composite Toe model? I’m really interested in this because this is a quiet explosion in both technology and quality after a lot of dry years.
Whoa, those are nice. A little pricey, but nice.
I deployed to Iraq in 07/08, the issued boots were fine for me, although some people had trouble with them. I purchased a pair of Bates and would rotate them with the issued boots. The Bates were very comfortable.
I forgot to mention that Reebok took over the Converse boot line. Just bought a new pair last week and they are just as good as before with a slight improvement. They have jell cups in the heel!! Freekin’ awesome for a guy like mee who spends all day on his feet. They are the Rapid Response RB The stock number for them is RB8894. The website lists them for $150.99 but I get them at a discount for being retired military and another discount because I work for a Defense Contractor. They run me $119.00. I will never wear any boot but these again.
In my firefighting days (mid-1970s to mid-1980s), I always wore Danner Smokejumpers. I usually didn’t get them resoled, though, because one good season would generally ruin the uppers. Heat is, indeed, hell on boots. It wasn’t just the Danners, either; those who wore expensive Whites and the like didn’t seem to get any more life out of a pair.
I love those boots. Worth every single penny...
...but there isn't much wear in spike heels.
I think the effort to get a one-type fixes all ills will be the problem. Narrow feet, wide feet, short feet, non-pronating feet all take different boots.
I bought the Zamberlains after trying new boots for a year. I plan to use them I pass away or no longer hike. When we get old we can plan to buy the best and never buy again if we save and wait. I think I got these on sale for about 230 instead of the 280 list. I will only use them for their intended use and use some Red Wings for casual hikes and daily.
With size 12 B ( with a 2 A heel) I have to have the right boot.
Bingo. I'm still looking for that perfect boot but I'm getting very close.
I actually waited about ten years past when my heavy hiking boots were too short for fully padded wool socks. My arches had weakened or collapsed and caused my foot to go from 11 1/2 A to 12 B. I just kept using thinner socks when I needed the ankle support, or used work boots when I needed high tops.
I had a vasque low cut hiker/runner with a good shank so I got by.
I have been waiting to replace my stereo speakers for about 20 years waiting to get what I decide I want. I am hopeful that a Martin-Logan delivery truck will hit my car.
What the Army can now justify:
I hope the Army does a better job with new boots than it did with the last $5 billion camo uniform debacle.
Most of my firefighting is burn piles. In addition to tree tops, I burn about 10-12 cords per year of split oak in piles to make charcoal for incorporation into soil. That gets my boots so hot it sometimes melts the laces (I wear an aluminized nomex suit). Even then, I can usually get two years with one resoling. Lately, I've bought cheapo boots (Dickies) for weeding, mud, and fires and saved the Wescos for logging and high climbing. They have a Cambrel (kevlar) lining to protect from saw cuts, so they aren't terribly comfortable.
I had a pair of Bates with the zipper sides that felt like I’d been wearing them for twenty years from the day I bought them. They were my favorite riding boots. Dumped the bike last March and tore the left one all up. Broke my heart almost as much as damaging my ride.
Because the rest of the world had no shoes.
Look at what the VC did in 'nam wearing only their Ho-Chi-Minh sandals fabricated from discarded tires.
Russell Moccasin Boots. Army boots nearly crippled me during my career. I have wide feet but the Army only had skinny boots. The official remedy was get a size larger. Did not work.
Those are Birkenstocks for the masses.
A world without Nikes!!!? cries Shirley Ujest.
Wow, that is pricy. Nowadays I have to wear steel-toed boots at work & usually go with Georgia or Iron Age. They last several years, and break-in isn’t too bad. I think it was mopping up that really killed the old Danners. Water plus ashes makes a form of lye, and when it’s also hot, you just can’t put sufficient grease on your boots to keep them from cracking.
In the 10 years or so since I got out, I still wear various boots for everything from summers in Louisiana to winters in western PA. My work and recreation take me from everything to swamps to some pretty rugged hilly trails...and offices.
Hands down, the most comfortable boots I own are the Inov-8 Roclite 400 GTX. They are marketed as the lightest, all leather Gore-Tex boot made, and I tend to believe them:
They are extremely light, weighing very little more than most running shoes. On the down side, some of the weight saving comes from the abandonment of a traditional heel cup, so there's a little less ankle rigidity, so if you've got a real heavy pack, they're probably not the optimum boot. Also, the sole is a very soft, gummy composition that gives exceptionally good traction on smooth, slick rock or concrete, but tends to wear on the faster side.
In more rugged terrain, I also have a pair of Tactical Research Khybers:
They are much lighter than they might appear at first look. They give much better ankle support than the roclites. The sole material is harder and will wear longer than the roclites, but you do sacrifice a bit of flexibility.
Many thanks. You may have just sold me a pair of boots. BTT
Especially nice when I can do both in one post :-)