There were 5 types of combat boot used in Vietnam
The first type deployed were the standard all leather combat boots. Although used everywhere else these proved to be totally useless in the jungle environment. It should be noted that air crew and chopper pilots tended to wear them throughout the war because of fears about the nylon boot melting in a fire, also the lack of heavy lugs on the boot soles prevented aircrew from getting hung up on things such as rudder pedals.
The second type that was worn was an early attempt at a leather and canvas jungle boot which was introduced in the 50’s, it looked like the WW2 M43 combat boot and was used by some early advisors.
3rd Type (AKA – 1st Pattern Jungle Boot)
This pattern had the black leather toe and heal box and green nylon duck upper sides. It had two drainage eyelets in the side of the boot to allow the foot to breathe and allow water to escape after immersions. It looked almost identical to today’s boot, accept that it had the Vibram sole with no angled ankle support panel and no ‘spike protection’ plate in the sole.
4th Type (AKA – 2nd Pattern Jungle Boot)
The ‘2nd pattern’ boot was identical to the 1st Pattern, but introduced the angled ankle support panel and the spike protection plate. This pattern still retained the Vibram sole.
5th Type (AKA – 3rd Pattern Jungle Boot)
This pattern is identical to the 2nd Pattern and introduced the anti-mud traction Panama sole. This replaced the earlier Vibram sole although 3rd pattern were produced with both soles. An easy way to distinguish wartime boots is to look at the heel. The original boots have a vertical stitch up the heel. This stitching seems to have disappeared sometime in the mid 1970’s, thus later made boots don’t have this feature. It would be OK to use either for reenactment since its sometimes hard to find the original boots in you size.
|First Pattern||1962 or earlier. Black leather, green canvas, leather band at top, leather strap from heel to top. Vibram sole.|
|Second Pattern||1965 or earlier. Black leather, green canvas, nylon band at top, nylon strap from heel to top. Vibram sole.|
|Third Pattern Vibram Sole||1965-1968. Similar to second pattern but with addition of nylon ankle reinforcement band. Vibram sole.|
|Third Pattern Panama Sole||1967 and later. The Pamama sole had a thin steel spike protection plate embedded to block Punji Sticks. Otherwise, same as Third Pattern Vibram Sole.|
All Jungle Boots came with an “information tag” attached that provided instructions for use. The key points on the tag were:
- Wear with one pair “socks, wool, cushion sole”. Carry extra socks and change often.
- How to choose your size.
- How to pull the boots on. Check for snakes and insects.
- Wear trousers on outside of boot.
- How to keep boots clean.