Armies have loaded up soldiers with pounds of armor for chest and head protection, but nothing to protect the foot and lower leg.  During World War II, the most common casualty was from small German "shoe" mines, which caused a foot injury serious enough to put a soldier out of action.  During the Vietnam conflict, some boots had metal plates in the sole for protection, but most modern military boots have nothing.   The only criteria is comfort and durability, not protection.  While soldiers in foot reconnaissance units may walk dozens of miles each day, soldiers in mechanized infantry units do not walk much in combat zones, nor do engineers or artillerymen.

      Therefore, most combat soldiers and marines should wear "assault boots", which could also be called cavalry boots or combat boots.  The entire foot would be encased in a steel shell with flexible Kevlar lining along the ankle and legs, and would extend of the front of the knee for added protection, allowing soldiers to quickly drop to their knees on a hard surface.  Delta force soldiers routinely wear knee pads for this reason.  Assault boots would be twice as heavy as regular boots, but the protection would pay off in combat.  They would be hotter in warm climates, but warmer in cold climates, especially in deep snow.  They would look like the photo to the left, except with knee pads and probably laces.                                  

      Soldiers fighting in urban areas, static "trench" warfare, or peacekeeping duties need these boots.  A small mine would throw a soldier into the air, and maybe break a foot or ankle bone, but he would not lose a foot.  Soldiers could stomp over barbed wire and kick down doors with these heavy boots.  In many cases, these boots would stop small shell fragments and sharp objects from injuring soldiers.  The would also prevent injuries from glass, nails, punji sticks, snakes, and common accidents where heavy objects are dropped.  Since deployed US Marines come ashore in helicopters or ride in vehicles to intervene in urban areas, assault boots are ideal for them.  Engineers truly need these boots for mine clearing and for safety at construction sites.  These boots would also provide paratroopers with far better protection from bad landings, so long as they are not expected to walk far afterwards.

      Ideally, each soldier would be issued both types of boots in basic training.  Today's traditional hiking boot would be worn everyday and called a "garrison boot", but when soldier puts on a helmet and body armor, they would also put on their armored "assault boots".  For missions where foot infantry must walk long distances, commanders would allow traditional hiking boots to be worn.  However, in every American combat mission over the past twenty years, heavy assault would have been chosen for almost every mission.  Everyone talks about he need for new equipment for urban warfare, assault boots designed for combat are one answer.

                                                                             Carlton Meyer



Assault Boots Have Been Proven

     I like the "Assault Boot" idea and checked around the Internet.  They are already made by a company called Wellco, and have already been successfully tested by the Army at Aberdeen.  Check this link: Wellco Blast Protective Footwear.  There is also a company in Hong Kong which makes "Bfrboots". 

                                                                   Mike Sparks

Ed. Great find!  So the question is why aren't these boots worn by every Soldier and Marine in Afghanistan right now?  One Soldier e-mailed that their claim of successful tests may be overrated, but thought he may be thinking of older tests with steel plates. Two others noted the Israelis tested the idea several years ago and rejected it.  The design I proposed in my article was for the entire foot to be protected to keep it from becoming detached.