One detail that may take United States Army enlistees by surprise is that, while the Army is quite particular about apparel, they do not issue the necessary uniforms and footwear themselves. This is your responsibility. AR-670-1, the official communication regarding apparel and grooming standards, lays out the specifications for footwear. To save you the time of paging through that document, here’s an idea of what to look for in military boots as you enter service.
Comfort: Even in the Military, It Matters
Donning a pair of military boots isn’t much like slipping on a pair of Crocs. Nonetheless, don’t deceive yourself into believing that just because these boots are made for military service, they need to be as rigid as a soldier standing at attention or as unforgiving as your first drill instructor. Even hard-working footwear needs to be comfortable—how else will you be able to stand doing the work? The right pair of boots—lightweight, the correct size, and with the right support in the right places—will enable you to be quick on your feet while handling tough terrain.
Any Color You Like (as Long as It’s Tan or Coyote Brown)
Henry Ford is said to have marketed his Model T automobile in “any color you like, as long as it’s black.” While the Army isn’t quite as limiting in its boot selection, AR-670-1 is very particular about boot color. You can purchase additional pairs of boots in other colors, such as that Model T black, but you must maintain at least one pair in compliance with AR-670-1’s color regulation: either tan or coyote brown boots. This is a narrow specification, but the Army is not the place for individual fashion statements, after all.
Leather Tops, Rubber Soles
The narrow regulations of AR-670-1 certainly do help you know what to look for in military boots. When it comes to construction, the Army requires full leather, non-mesh upper material with a rubber or polyurethane sole that doesn’t exceed two inches in height. The height of the entire boot should fall between eight and ten inches. Anything lower doesn’t provide adequate support, while anything higher could impede your range of motion.