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marine corp footwear

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The Marines are getting new boots for fights in freezing temperatures as low as -20 degrees

  • The Marines are getting new cold-weather boots starting early next year, Marine Corps Systems Command announced Tuesday.
  • The new boots will fill a gap in Marine footwear, providing comfort in temperatures ranging from 20 degrees Fahrenheit to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • “In order to effectively conduct your mission in a cold weather environment, you need to be warm,” a Marine Corps project officer said. “This boot helps to accomplish this goal.”

Marines are getting new boots that can survive in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit, the Corps said Tuesday, revealing that the boots fill a longstanding gap in Marine footwear.

Years ago, I questioned the major shoe/boot companies about the temperature rating they were applying to their boots initially those they rated to as low as -100 degrees F, within two years they no longer rated their boots at all. According to Wolverine Worldwide they were sued because some people bought their boots based upon the temperature rating and had cold feet. The result of that law suit all reference to temperature ratings were removed from their literature.

Since these boots are made by domestic manufacturers do you think they will make these same boots for consumers and state a -20 degree rating; NO. But the Marines know better.

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Early next year, Marines will begin receiving the Intense Cold Weather Boot, giving them the ability to fight better in challenging, cold-weather environments, Marine Corps Systems Command said.

Right now, the Corps has a Temperate Weather marine Corps Combat Boot for operations in temperatures between 20 degrees and 60 degrees Fahrenheit and an Extreme Cold Weather Vapour Barrier Boot for temperatures between -20 degrees and -65 degrees.

I believe they have a boot satisfactory for +20 to +60 degrees F. however, I do not believe they have a single boot that is a vapor barrier boot. Unless they have resurrected the old Mickey Mouse Boots. It was my understanding that they were working towards a mukluk as I make to be worn over existing boots. They even spent $215.00 or so for 312 pair made for them by cascade designs. If that is what the article refers to, I am sure if dressed properly the wearers feet would be warm at those very low temperatures. Had the Marines allowed me to bid the cost would have been $155.00 per pair and guaranteed to perform, at -65 degrees F.

I di try to find information on the “extreme cold weather vapor barrier boot” and all I can find are the mickey mouse boots.

In that space between 20 degrees and -20 degrees Fahrenheit, the latter is too warm while the former isn’t warm enough. That’s where the new ICWB comes in.

I do not believe for one moment that they have a boot that can perform in this temperature range. I’ll explain later why.

The full-grain, black leather boots are not only made to keep troops warm but also to repel moisture. And each boot, if appropriately cared for, can last up to a year and a half, if not longer.

Capt. Caleb Haney, project officer with the Program Manager for Infantry Combat Equipment at Marine Corps Systems Command, assembles the Marine Corps Intense Cold Weather Boot at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, November 13, 2020.

Starting in 2018, the Marines experimented with a suede version, testing it in Iceland, Alaska, Norway, and other frigid environments, where they found that did not dry well once wet.

In 2020, the Corps moved to a full-grain design, but found that it lacked sufficient insulation. So, another 200 grams of insulation was added to develop the final design.

No s***; they are using Thinsulate in the boots and I strongly suspect goretex lining as well. Heat loss via conduction is un-mistakeable in a boot construction like this since all moisture generated by the foot stays in the boot.

For added warmth during extended operations in a cold environment, there is a protective overboot available.

Maybe now they are referring to the cascade designs over boot like the mukluk.

“In order to effectively conduct your mission in a cold weather environment, you need to be warm,” Todd Towles, project officer of Cold Weather Gear with the Program Manager for Infantry Combat Equipment at MCSC, said in a statement. “This boot helps to accomplish this goal.”

I have had conversation with todd and I wonder if he ever gets out of his office and into the field to use all of the different product’s he is responsible for. Or is it only footwear. If so, in the years he has been at it he has really not learned how best for one to keep their feet warm.

In a period of great power competition, US forces have to be ready for the possibility of armed conflict in new and unforgiving environments beyond the Middle East, such as parts of Europe, northern Asia, and even the Arctic, which is rapidly becoming an area of strategic competition between the US and rivals like China and Russia.

That means being ready and having the right gear for when temperatures start to plunge below zero.

So far as I am concerned the Marines do not have the right footwear, in my opinion.

“The ICWB lightens the load for the Marines by their needing only one boot for fighting and ski missions, as opposed to in the past when Marines had to maintain two boots,” Towles said in a statement.

Like I said he has never learned. That is my educated opinion.

“I believe these boots will further support Marines in cold weather environments and help them achieve mission success,” he added.

He believes wrong.

Fielding of the new boots is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021.

Lots of production for one, two or three manufacturers.

A final note, the basic problem the Marine faces when he is issued these new boots is that he hasn’t been issued the proper socks. He has been issued wool socks that soak up the water from his feet. He is issued a boot with a goretex film laminated in it to keep the moisture in the boot and that is aided by the Thinsulate wall that further retains the water. Millions of men in the USA have been wearing boots just like these and have cold feet, so what has changed now for the Marines; NOTHING.

The first thing they should do is issue the Marines who are going into the field in the colder regions of the country the Lamilite socks. Then get real leather boots that are Lamilite lined, not Thinsulate and definitely no goretex. Then the over boots that I originally made for a Marine Captain based at Bridgeport. And finally, when needed for -65 my mukluks.

Never forget Einstein’s observation of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. End of story.

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