Not all boots are the same. If you're planning on respecting a specific branch of service, you can be spotted easily by wearing the wrong boots. If you want the boots for their tactical advantage, you need to know about more than just the treads on the bottom of the soles. Here are a few military footwear tips to keep you in the light when picking out gear with a purpose:
Flight Deck Boots
These boots are designed for the complex, high-packed, often fatigued world of flight deck duty. The flight deck on naval vessels is covered in non-skid material and aircraft takeoff path material.
Movement on flight deck surfaces is a combination of being well-grounded while moving very fast, which means ankles can be twisted easily. Flight deck boots are used for superior ankle support but have found purposes in specific combat situations as well. Although they restrict full flexibility of the feet, combat operations in slippery conditions can be performed with fewer injuries and slipping.
The specific traits require boots to be waterproof, insulated, and steel-toed. Wearing these boots outside of required flight deck conditions can create a swampy, sweaty foot situation, and especially for sailors who deploy into the Middle East during the hotter months, they're a bad choice for any situation where they're not required.
The specifications used for flight deck boots are also shared with combat vehicle boots, but each branch has different preferred patterns on the outer design.
The term combat boot is often misused when discussing the previously mentioned boots and many others. To the untrained eye, all of the boots seem military in style, which gives an idea of combat to many people. Combat boots have a specific design purpose and can vary by branch of service.
The US Army uses a regulation called AR 670-1 to describe different uniform regulations, while the Marine Corps releases Marine Administrative (MARADMIN) messages to update the allowed styles due to the heavy versatility and expected adaptability of Marines to get the gear they need.
The Navy's special forces and the more recent Individual Augmentee program that send Sailors to join Soldiers and Marines have a more limited option for combat boots in uniform, but the Navy directs their combat sailors to adopt regulations of their attached commands as needed.
To be fair, when you're attached to another military branch, you can get away with a lot of weird things. That said, if you're doing it right, make sure that you purchase boots that match the specific branch's allowed brands and styles.
For the non-specific boots, Army regulations have the following "optional wear" specifications, which Unit Commanders can allow or deny:
- 8 to 10 inches in height
- Tan or coyote flesh out cattlehide leather
- Plain Toe and sole matching color of the upper
- Rubber or polyether polyurethane outsole
- Sole will not exceed 2 inches in height when measured from bottom of sole
- Sole will not extend up the back of the heel or over the top of the toe
- All leather upper or leather and non-mesh fabric