Armed Forces

US Army unveils new jungle boot, steps up efforts to combat trench foot

Screenshot of a JCB (US Army/David Kamm)

Screenshot of a JCB (US Army/David Kamm)

These boots are made for walking…in the jungle.

On Monday, the US Army updated plans for its Jungle Combat Boot (JCB), a boot that it hopes will tackle trench foot, among other things.

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Traditional issue footwear works well in sand, asphalt and high heat, but falls short in humid, wet conditions, which can lead to trench foot, according to the US Army. And, soldiers on the ground in jungle-like conditions are subjected to obstacles such as vines, which can snag their boots, and sharp objects, that can sideline foot patrols.

The JCB is designed to account for these obstacles by incorporating features that include a low heel to prevent snags and ballistic fabric-like layers under the soldiers’ feet. In addition, the JCB has extra drainage holes for water, an insert for water drainage and speed laces for faster putting on and taking off of the boots. The JCB also contains a lining that helps it to breathe and dry faster, according to the US Army.  

In order to design a useful boot, the US Army said it worked with soldiers.

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"We take what soldiers want and need, we boil that down to the salient characteristics, hand that over to our science and technology up at Natick; they work with us and industry, the manufacturing base, to come up with this product," said Capt. Daniel Ferenczy, the assistant product manager for Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment, on the US Army's website.

Soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii will be the first to test out the JCB prototype, according to the Army. A final version is expected to be authorized to be worn by all soldiers, regardless of the terrain where they are stationed, according to the US Army.