We have a little more information on the new boots mentioned in military.comâ€™s Kit Up!. These boots are actually manufactured by STC, a Canadian company with the tan model being called the ‘Zulu’, and a black full grain leather version being marketed to military and law enforcement agencies who still require black boots.
This new Gore construction technique that STC has utilized doesn’t have the bulky lining found on all other military/tactical type waterproof/breathable boots, and is more like the inside of a Gore-Tex jacket, so it means that the perspiration moisture escapes faster and more efficiently and will retain less heat. This also means that if the inside of your boot gets wet (from ops like river crossings, stepping in puddles/holes deeper than the boot, etc.) they can simply be drained and toweled out, and will be dry within a couple hours, as opposed to the few days it seems to take to dry with other waterproof/breathable boots in the field. Additionally, according to WL Gore reps at Modern Day Marine, a new DWR finish similar to that used on Gore-Tex outerwear has been applied to the boot to help bead water up on the exterior of the boot.
These boots are more like a pair of USGI Panama Sole Desert or Jungle Boots (without the drainage eyelets) in terms of breathability and heat retention. The Cordura nylon on Desert/Jungle boots is coated in a layer of polyurethane which provides water resistance and impedes breathability to a point, but both these models of boots are far more breathable and cool than the traditional Gore-Tex lined boot.
Another benefit to having a Gore-Tex lined boot for ops in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and most other areas where public sanitation consists of living upstream from the canal which your raw sewage drains into is that a Gore-Tex membrane can provide increased protection to your feet when exposed bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens in the local water.
Itâ€™s nice to see some real innovation being done in a boot which should pass the Command Sergeant Majorâ€™s interpretation of AR-670 approved footwear, but no word from STC yet as to whether they will be doing versions in Mojave Olive for Marines, or Sage for Air Force personnel. However, we do know that both Danner and Bates will be introducing boots with this new technology later this year.
We were able to try them out at the Modern Day Marine expo at Quantico, Virginia today in a special simulator developed to demonstrate the versatility of the boots across a wider range of climatic conditions than traditional boots. The whole point of the Extended Comfort Footwear is to combine the capabilities of both Hot Weather and Temperate footwear into a single boot. While the experience was far too short to really form an opinion, we get the concept and we like it.