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 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.
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.