Image Credit: Australian War Memorial
The US military jungle boot’s popularity extended beyond the US Armed Forces with Australian Army soldiers going to great lengths to get a pair of jungle boots from American troops to use alongside their standard-issue black leather General Purpose Boot.
When the 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) was deployed to South Vietnam and served alongside the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade in 1965, many Australian troops were willing to trade their Australian Army-issue “slouch hats” for a pair of jungle boots from the Americans since the boots Australian troops were issued were World War II vintage tropical studded Ankle Boots and the boots were not suited to the conditions of Vietnam.
Small improvements made for Vietnam conditions included upper soles made from cotton duck canvas (later replaced as nylon), nylon reinforcements on the top of the boot, and leather material covering the area from toe to heel. Water drains and new rubber soles, as well as stainless steel plates, were later added to help protect soldiers from booby traps and injuries – it is said boots could weigh around 1.5kg each.
Now, soldiers use ‘Terra’ Boots- that feature waterproof breathable leather, dual-density nitrile rubber vulcanized out-sole, where the ‘air cushion’ mid-sole includes many tiny air bubbles for shock absorption, energy return and shock reduction helping to reduce lower limb injuries and ‘road burn’.