New British Boots Are Made for Walking
The dreaded Ankle-height ammunition (“ammo”) boots with nailed soles were worn by generations of British Army soldiers, and as recently as the 1982 Falklands War, British soldiers were still using puttees – strips of cloth wound round the leg above low boots. The BCH (Boot Combat High) became standard issue a few years after the Falklands war, bringing the UK into line with other NATO forces. Now the bar has been raised again to keep up with developments in other militaries and civilian industry – and lessen the shock of putting on those “hard leather squarebashers,” as Britain’s Ministry of Defence calls them. Colonel Silas Suchanek, leader of the Defence Clothing project team, said:
“We were looking for boots that would minimise the impact of working in temperatures that can go as high as 50 [degrees] centigrade, that would provide support to the foot when carrying heavy loads, and that could withstand the rigours of operating in conditions ranging from sandy desert to very abrasive stony ground.”
Fllowing trials in Autumn 2007 that tested 22 different brands, Britain will offer 4 new kinds of boot: For winter yomping, the Prabos cold wet weather boot has a stiffer sole and is the one generally used for operations. While the Iturri cold wet weather boot has a softer sole and will be more widely used for recruit training. In warmer climes, the Meindl and Lowa heavy-duty desert boots are designed to cope with the desert heat, provide more support, and offer easier “break in” than traditional hard leather footwear. The Lowa boot also has a womens’ model, which avoids the unisex problem of being too wide at the heel. The Meindl combat boot is already being issued to all troops who require it, and the Lowa boots will be available to all combat troops. The UK MOD hasn’t yet built up the same stocks, however, so priority will go to those in the dismounted combat role. UK MoD release.