Our Voice of a Veteran Bill Howard gives his opinion of military boots and the options available to each branch.
Military Boots – Which Branch Has the Best Options?
Recent changes in the military uniform have been for the better in all branches. One of the most significant changes has been the boots that are now available for soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. There are many different styles for each.
I must say, however, the black ones that the Navy sailors have to wear look pretty heavy. I have talked to several sailors who wish there was a larger availability than the ones they’re issued. The Marines have a little bit of flexibility when it comes to their boots, but not as much as the Army and Air Force. There are too many different brand names out there to count for the Army and Air Force.
The different style of boots for different weather makes life a lot better for both the airman and soldier. When I joined the Navy, we were issues two pairs of boots: one pair of black jungle boots and one pair black and green jungle boots. And yes, we had to keep them shined. The Navy is the only branch now where you will see a pair of shined boots. In the other branches, you just need to keep your boots clean. My hat’s off to the Navy for keeping the tradition alive.
I won’t sit here and say which boots are better or worse because I have not worn them all. My personal preference for years has been anything by Mcrae, whether it be winter or summer. They have a good variety of different types, but most importantly, when I buy a pair of boots, I want them to be comfortable, to last long, and to be very durable in whatever terrain I’m in.
I wear the jungle boots in hot weather, and I must say the new “Terra Assaults” they came out with about two years ago are quite possibly the best pairs of boots I have ever had. I know a lot of people who like the Nike boots as well. I’ve never had a pair but haven’t heard anything bad about them.
Another brand is Belleville, whose boots are especially popular in tactical research. Once again I can’t say much about them, though I did have one pair (that they no longer make), and they lasted long and were very durable.
How to Pick Military Boots
I have always picked boots that, first, are comfortable, and second, I don’t have to worry about breaking them in for 2 months and getting blisters. (I’ve somehow, fortunately, never gotten a blister on my feet, not even during Ranger School.)
I think what to wear and by whom is personal preference. I will suggest picking a pair that is durable, lightweight, and fast drying.
If you’re looking for a pair of waterproof boots that are lightweight or even winter boots, good luck. I have tried the Gortex ones that are supposed to help in wet weather and even snow, but I still got wet feet. That’s why I go with my reliable ones by Mcrae that I know aren’t the most waterproof, but they do, at least, dry quickly. The winter weather boots are heavy and feel like you’re wearing cinder blocks, so it’d be hard to run in them.
Also remember that when it comes to boots, you can never have enough. When I deploy, I take at least 3 pairs, and by the time pre-deployment training is done, I have usually sent one pair home and replaced it with a new pair. The reason I do this is because I will wear a pair for two days and then switch. For you soldiers out there, you should too. Why? This lets them air out and gets rid of your swamp feet smell stinking up the barracks. The next reason is just comfort. You never know when you have to wear another pair, and keeping them ready to wear is important.
Military Boots I Would Suggest
I first suggest that before buying a pair boots, you make sure they’re 670-1 compliant—and just because they sell a pair in the PX doesn’t mean they are compliant.
Then, once you know they are compliant, try on several different pairs and look online for comments. There were a lot of people buying a certain brand back from 2006 to 2012 that were falling apart pretty quickly—and these boots were expensive.
You’ll then want to make sure the boots you’re looking at are durable and going to last. Do yourself a favor and have more than one pair to wear at all times. Read more about my military experiences and tips on Voice of a Veteran.