Rothco, Magnum and Bates boots are considered among the best boots available. Have you ever wondered about the evolution of boots? How did we go from animal straps and leather thongs to modern day footwear for military, police officers and outdoor enthusiasts? From Roman beginnings, throughout the World Wars and into present day with the Rothco, Magnum and Bates boots carried by Al’s Army Navy, boots have gone through quite an evolutionary history. Throughout times of trial and combat, boots have been given the chance to evolve into the splendidly crafted assorted footwear they are today. With so many options available, Al’s wanted to take the time to go through the history of boots in order to illustrate why the Rothco, Magnum and Bates brands are the best evolved boots on the market today.
Combat Boot Ancestry
People of all different backgrounds have been wearing combat boots for hundreds of years, innovating them throughout their history. Many people all over the world are required to wear their boots all day every day. Below is a brief overview of combat boots and their evolutionary history.
No one knew how to mass produce footwear like the Romans. They were the first to produce different sizes for their troops, just like soldiers today. These boots included a sturdy base, with hob nails in the soles for traction and durability. They made a very aggressive sound whilst walking, not really giving them the element of surprise. These boots are known to have come in two sizes- too large and too small, but they made do with what they had.
American Innovation Evolves the Industry
American manufacturers have since been the leaders in constructing the perfect combat boot. Before we entered World War I, American soldiers wore field shoes called the Russet Marching Shoe. It was made out of calfskin, giving the boots a better appearance because they could be shined. The troops loved them, but the Russet turned out to not be a durable marching shoe for the army and so the military set out to find a better boot. The boot they chose was already being manufactured by Americans for the French and Belgian armies. It became known as the Trench Boot in 1917. They were made of tanned cowhide with a half middle sole covered by a full sole with iron plates fixed to the heel.
However, the Trench Boot had some major drawbacks, including that it wasn’t waterproof. In 1918, a panel of officers made recommendations for improvements to the shoe through General John “Black Jack” Pershing, who showed the study to the War Department. This was the birth of the Pershing Boot, which was a better version of the Trench Boot. The Pershing Boot was made of heavier leather and the troops called them “Little Tanks.”
The Pershing Boot proved to be unsuitable for the fighting in the jungles of the Pacific during World War II. Troops in hot and humid Burma and the Philippines would sweat five or more quarts of water a day and the water would run down their legs and into their shoes. The leather rotted and the nails rusted and their shoes literally fell apart during jungle marches.
American expertise introduced the Jungle Boot during World War II. They had water permeable cotton duck uppers that allowed water and sweat to run out and that prevented mud and sand from entering the boot. Jungle boots continued to evolve again when the U.S. sent troops to Vietnam. The Vietnam-era Tropical Combat Boot included nylon duck uppers, leather covering for the foot and small drains to prevent water from collecting. A cleated, vulcanized sole was embedded with a thin steel plate to prevent injuries from traps. Its sole collected mud though, so soldiers had difficulty climbing jungle trails.
A good boot should always include a shank throughout the sole of the boot to prevent the boot from bending. Good arch support and heel support are also important. A waterproof boot might be something to consider, depending on what you’ll be using the boots for. A nylon upper is fine, but a cordura upper is better; it keeps the boot from falling apart. Canvas is also a good alternative, but cordura is a better material. They won’t fall apart.
The Best Boots of Today, Carried by Al’s Army Navy
Al’s Army Navy carries many different types of combat boots, new and used. If you’re wondering what a good boot features, look no further!
Belleville Shoe Company in Belleville, Ill., manufactures the new Marine Combat Boot. Founded in 1904, the company makes more than a half million pairs of boots each year and sells more footwear to the American military than any other company. Belleville is available at Al’s in used condition for one third of the price they normally cost. We can also order the boots new. They feature a cordura upper, as mentioned earlier, and are a waterproof boot.
Rothco carries a G.I. Style Jungle Boot. They are used as a light duty boot, great for Step Team or for a costume! They feature canvas and a nylon upper. They have a black leather toe and heel and a black rubber Panama sole. They come in full sizes only and wide widths are available.
Bates offer many different styles of boots, including tactical, uniform, and desert boots. Many feature leather uppers, a YKK zipper, a Gore-Tex® lining, cushioned removable insert, slip resistant rubber outsole and athletic cement construction. Great arch support is a key in all Bates shoes.
Magnum boots offer Gore-Tex® lining as well. Some feature a composite toe and a shank for foot support. They feature YKK zippers, leather and nylon uppers, and an abrasion-resistant heel kick pad, as well as good arch support.
Rocky Boots are a very lightweight duty boot. They come in desert tan or black, and feature a Gore-Tex® lining for water resistance. Proprietary high-walled Vibram® soles with perforated airport cushion footbeds and Polyurethane midsoles, and a wicking Dri-Lex lining and stretch Lycra® tongues hug feet for a secure fit.
The bottom line is that boots are important, and no one knows that better than our brave men and women on the front lines who wear them every day. But everyone wears boots, from costumes for Halloween, stepping tournaments, to working and hunting. Their evolution has been a slow one, featuring different upgrades as they went. Please feel free to email us or come in for more information on combat boots and footwear.