What are Jungle Boots?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Also known as combat boots, jungle boots are footwear designed for military use. They are specially designed to withstand the climates of the jungle or other humid, wet areas. They feature instep venting holes to help drain water.

Jungle boots are footwear designed for military use.
Jungle boots are footwear designed for military use.

Jungle boots are considered an optimal alternative to traditional leather combat boots. Unlike leather boots, which can be uncomfortable in hot environments, jungle boots provide more optimal comfort as well as functionality. The boots may also feature a ventilation system within a canvas upper, helping to keep the feet as dry as possible.

In addition to jungle boots, jackboots are another type of leather boot strongly associated with the military.
In addition to jungle boots, jackboots are another type of leather boot strongly associated with the military.

Military jungle boots are typically green or black. The upper part of the traditional boots are usually a blend of cotton and nylon, covered with eyelets. Modern styles tend to be black, with a hooked eyelet lacing style, and uppers that are made from a nylon, cotton, and Cordura fabric blend.

Invented prior to World War II, army jungle boots were tested by United States soldiers in Panama. The first military jungle boots were made with canvass uppers and rubber soles. They weighed three pounds (one and one half kilograms), and were created with the help of the U.S. Rubber Company. The shoes were used in jungle region assignments, such as Burma, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Though useful, the boots often wore out quickly, making it a popular practice to carry them as a second pair of shoes used only for particularly muddy or wet areas.

During the Vietnam War, new boots were needed to withstand a constantly humid environment. Improvements included upper soles made from cotton duck canvas, nylon reinforcements in the top of the boot, and leather material covering the area from toe to heel. Water drains and new rubber soles were other additions to the shoes.

Stainless steel plates were later added to help protect soldiers from booby traps and injuries. Nylon canvass later replaced the cotton duck. Later models also featured removable insert ventilation systems made from plastic. This design helped shoemakers develop the later style of desert combat boots. In the 1980s, the soles were further modified to avoid leaving markings on linoleum floors.

The U.S. military style of jungle combat boots are typically made by two major companies, Altama Footwear and Wellco Footwear. Though invented in America, these combat boots are often used internationally. Soldiers in the Afghan National Army wear black jungle boots. Civilians also sometimes wear jungle boots in conjunction with various fashions.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments


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Want the best? Buy Altberg jungles. They are handmade in the UK, and the best in the world.


Definitely stay away from cheap jungle boots, as they will just fall apart with little use. The worst part is that they leak, which is not something you want happening when you are trudging through a remote jungle.

Another tip is to make sure you get jungle boots that have a ripple sole which is best for long road treks. Be wary of ripple soles on uneven ground though, as there is a good chance you will slip and hurt yourself.

Also, when you are buying your jungle boots actually put them on and walk around for a bit. Try jumping up and down in them even. It may look strange but getting the best fit of jungle boots will keep you from serious misery later on.


For those of you interested in getting a pair of jungle boots you should be aware that the prices vary drastically. There are cheap brands out there that go from $20-$30 USD, but you shouldn't actually try wearing them for any reasons beyond fashion.

For myself I buy the version of jungle boots issued to the US Navy Seals, as they are high-quality footwear that are good for their intended purpose of long slogs through wet and muddy terrain. I love my adventure travel, so having a pair of them for more interesting pursuits was a good investment for me.

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