SIG Sauer Academy

US Marine Corps Seeks Intense Cold Weather Boot

In a solicitation that was open for just two weeks, the Marine Corps is asking industry to provide up to 50,000 pairs of Intense Cold Weather Boots.

The abbreviated solicitation is because they are looking for one of these commercial styles which meets their requirement and have been previously evaluated: “Belleville Intense Cold Weather Style Number 455, Danner Fort Lewis Style Number 69110, Danner Acadia Style Number 69210, and Solomon (sic) Quest GTX Style Number L40723300.”


Belleville Intense Cold Weather Boot

However, as it must be Berry compliant, the Salomon boot is an unlikely option since they currently don’t have US production.

This boot will be used down to -20 deg F. It’s important to note that these are all leather boots, unlike the rubber construction Vapor Barrier Boot which has been used in this environment for decades. Unfortunately, the VB boot is no longer manufactured in the US.

13 Responses to “US Marine Corps Seeks Intense Cold Weather Boot”

  1. TominVA says:

    For something like this, no removable liner and especially functioning down to -20, a VB sock is going to be essential. Otherwise, those boots are going to be soaked with sweat and then turn into ice bricks.

    • Canadian says:

      YES, YES, YES!!!
      Was going to post the same thing. This has been done in the Alpine climbing world for decades, as well as by Scandinavian militaries- it makes ALL the difference.

      For those wondering, go out in the winter- and try just bread bags over your inner/liner sock to start. Yes your foot will be damp, however that will happen anyway as once the moisture from your feet moves to the leather of your boots, they don’t “breathe” in the winter anyway- they freeze.

      Keeping the moisture in will cause your foot to stop perspiring so much after a short time, and also means that only your sock needs to be changed, not the boot and insulation needing to be dried out.

      • Strike-Hold says:

        Yes indeed – as we discovered during Arctic Training in Alaska when wearing our leather combat boots vs. the VB “Mickey Mouse” Boots.

        But for the love of all that’s Holy it is definitely high time for those Mickey Mouse boots to go!

        • Bill says:

          The VB boots are old, but man they worked. It seems the Corps has to relearn the same lessons every decade. We tried leather boots at Bridgeport and we had the same issues as the old shoe packs. This was training too, not sustained combat operations. I think they need to go more towards a modern smaller VB and stay away from leather.

          • TominVA says:

            Right, I remember our Winter MLC instructors talking about the leather boot problem. And yet, they had us students wearing the Alico ski-march boots. I wore VB socks. Worked great!

            Now that I recall, they had us testing a lot of COTS items not available to regular units, which was my only criticism of the course. We were supposed to be able to go back and train our units, but weren’t getting any experience managing with the equipment they would be issued (well, apart from the arctic tents and stoves).

            Well, anyway, a durable VB sock couldn’t be that expensive and would be great a solution here.

  2. Mike says:

    If they go with the FT Lewis, they need to include a pair of yaktrax or something that adds traction with each pair. I slid all over Norwegian air bases in a pair of them during Cold Response 2010. A light dusting of powder over the sheet of ice that was left after plowing. Prop wash from a C-130 sent me skidding 20 meters before I hit a patch of asphalt and stopped. So… warm boots, crappy soles.

  3. SVGC says:

    So i’m confused, do these not require the provision to be compatible with telemark skis? Around a dozen years ago or so that was a big part of the Tora Bora’s and others we tested. If I’m not mistaken the new USMC ski system was required to work with the current line of VB boots, which are apparently being phased out by these.

  4. Pro Patria says:

    SVGC,

    The CORPS and a lot of Army units have now adopted the Serket Patrol binding. That resulted from a meeting we had several years ago that outlined many issues with Army Cold Weather individual equipment.

    In our case they got Micky’s back in production and the Serket ski set, and several halting efforts in this cold weather boot by the Army and USMC. The poor exicution of the current intermediate cold weather boots means no one is interested in removable liners. And all of the boots they look at with sewn in insulation eventually build enough MOA tire to cause issues. Same with overboot concepts, another standard method of addressing the issue.

    So no demand and no Berry compliant suppliers keeps this issue going in circles. We were able to demo a concept off of COTS tech, but with no manufacturing to back the concept it’s impossible to move forward.

    • Strike-Hold says:

      Always great to see you weigh in on these topics! :-)

      Seems like the “easiest” solution would be to seek a Berry waiver for these specific items – but I’m sure that’s actually not very easy (hence the inverted commas), and would probably also set a precedent that might open a can of worms….

      But on the other hand, if the Corps can buy German rifles, why not German or Swedish boots?

    • SVGC says:

      Thanks for the reply man, I appreciate the info. I wasn’t familiar with Serket patrol binding.

  5. Gear Guy says:

    The ICB fills a capability gap for the USMC and is being procured to support operations where an insulated boot is more appropriate than the VB boot, which really shines at temps colder than 20*. Yes the VB boot is awkward and bulky, but it just freaking works. Is there a better solution, yes, but it is not Berry compliant at this time.

    Additionally, DLA has let multiple contracts for VB boots over the past two years, I know, because it was me that worked with DLA on those procurements. The VB boot never went out of production, DLA was focused on other environments and neglected to continue to place orders.

    The VB boot is made in Canada by the same company that makes chemical protective gloves and boots for DOD. These items can be procured due to a specific clause in the Berry Amendment for CBRN items. The VB boot has been tested against CWA’s. People will complain about these items being made in Canada, but unfortunately, the rubber industry has moved outside of the US and Canada is the closest place that still has the infrastructure to do the complex tasks needed to manufacture rubber parts and components.

  6. rob c says:

    If they are referring to the salomon toundra forces cs wp boot, i’ll tell you. They are nowhere near the rated temperature.

    Worn one a pair for a weekend on basic training. Outside entire 48hour+ period. Temperature no colder than 0, feet were absolutely frozen by the end of it.

    -40 yeah right!