What are Combat Boots?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A combat boot is a boot worn by members of the military as part of an armed service uniform. These boots are not exactly a new invention. Roman soldiers wore hobnailed boots during the Roman Empire. These early shoes provided some protection from the elements and ability to navigate over rough terrain. They were quite heavy, however, and often described as uncomfortable.

Combat boots used for jungle wear might be designed differently than those worn in deserts.
Combat boots used for jungle wear might be designed differently than those worn in deserts.

In modern military usage, these boots are often rumored to be uncomfortable. While this may have been true of combat boots made 30 or 40 years ago, today’s boots are made with superior fabrics that can actually be easy on the feet. Lighter fabrics like GORE-TEX® can provide waterproof boots that keep the temperature of the feet at an even level.

Many of today’s combat boots are still made of leather, which may have been strengthened with chemicals in order to provide better ankle support. But lightness of the boot is also important since a member of the armed serviced in combat may need to be quick on his or her feet. The soles of the boots are often made with rubbers or plastics that are durable and can withstand a certain amount of pressure.

Combat boots typically lace up above the ankles, and stop at about mid shin. Laces may also be leather since this provides greater durability. They may differ depending upon the way in which people plan to use them. For example, people serving in cold weather might require boots that keep the feet warm. People serving in jungle environments would want a shoe that resists moisture but also provides ventilation to avoid jungle rot.

These boots are not just for soldiers. In fact, for many years, people have worn combat boots as a fashion statement, or to express affiliation with certain groups. Goths and punks are fond of wearing them, though Goths may look for strictly synthetic varieties if they are confirmed vegans. Unfortunately, they are also often the fashion choice of neo-Nazis or skinheads. On a much less serious note, some designers have incorporated them into their fashion shows. These may be lightweight versions of true combat boots.

True combat boots can often be purchased in military surplus stores, skate stores, and in shoe stores with sufficient variety. They can also be ordered from various Internet stores. However, as with any shoe, it might be better to try on the shoe prior to purchasing it from an Internet store. On the other hand, if you have a particular favorite brand that you plan to replace, the Internet may be your best bet for lower prices.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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