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US Army Introducing Uniform Quality Control Program for Optional Purchase Combat Boots

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

We’ve mentioned that the new Army program called Uniform Quality Control Program (UQCP) would be implemented during the transition to Coyote boots this Summer. Last week, the Army hosted an industry day to explain the program to boot manufacturers and field questions. Authorized by Army Regulation 670-1 dated 2 February 2012, UQCP is meant to certify optional purchase combat boots. Essentially, the Army wants to test commercially available boots because they want to ensure that Soldiers are getting quality boots. All boots submitted for evaluation with have to meet the Optional Combat Boot Product Description (PD) which spells out how they must be made. Specifically, this program will help guide AAFES buyers as they decide which boots to sell at Clothing Sales, but it may also be of use to private military outfitters when selling boots off post. Additionally, small unit leaders may choose to leverage the program to determine if their Soldiers are wearing built-to-spec boots.

There is a lot of uncertainty over how this program will be implemented. So, up front, it’s important to understand, this isn’t some plot from PEO Soldier to tell you what you can and can’t wear. PEO Soldier does not “authorize” uniform items. Rather, such authorizations stem from Army Regulations. PEO Soldier’s role is simply to manage the program due to their expertise with military footwear.

Uniform Regs

This slide from PEO Soldier is very important. It shows the intent of the program and while it was envisioned for all of the right reasons, it will assuredly be used as an exclusionary tool by some leaders simply because it is there. As it currently stands, UQCP is very limited, only applying to Berry Compliant boots that fit into the same category as issue Combat Boots. It does not apply to foreign made boots or footwear in a wide variety of specialty categories. Unfortunately, if improperly applied by leaders, there is a good chance that Soldiers in some organizations will not be allowed to wear any of those alternative boot options.

Misconceptions

Here are a few facts for you:

-UQCP does NOT apply to existing Desert Tan boots that you wear with UCP. Those boots will most likely be authorized until 2018.

-UQCP does NOT apply to foreign made, NON-Berry compliant boots.

-UQCP currently does NOT apply to these additional categories of boots: Waterproof Boots; Insulated and Cold Weather Boots; Flame Resistant Boots; Safety Toe Boots; Puncture Resistant Sole Boots (Jungle); and Anti-Microbial Lined Boots. Additional categories may be added in the future.

-The initial run is open 2 March 2015 thru 1 May 2015. They don’t plan to open up new submissions again until 1 September, 2015.

-All manufacturer certs for boots submitted by the deadline will be announced at the same time so as to not give one company advantage over another.

-The period of certification will not exceed three years.

-The program is new; expect headaches.

To me, the marking of the UQCP compliant boots is the weakest link in the program. There is no plan to mark or tag approved boots identifying them as UQCP approved. This puts the boot industry at somewhat of a disadvantage because there are going to be boots out there that ‘look’ right but aren’t. Instead, The Army has informed industry:

“End items must include an internal label containing the manufacturer’s product number for the item.” Therefore, product numbers will be required on the internal tag of
all UQCP certified boots. Those product numbers will be listed on the PEO Soldier website in order to allow Soldiers and AAFES buyers to verify the certification of those boots.

Now, I know there are going to be some small unit leaders out there that will have Soldiers take their boots off so that they can compare this number with the ones on the website (which, based on all previous experience with other commodities, will not be kept current). You already know who they are. These are the same folks who stare at your junk, the whole time, when conducting urinalysis.

For many Soldiers, narrow use of the UQCP list will assuredly limit wear of commercially produced boots which many prefer due to alternative fit, materials and styles. For several years, all issue boots have been manufactured on a standard last. The benefit of this situation is that boots will fit the same regardless of manufacturer. The downside is that, for some at least, no issue boot will fit properly due to the common last.

Team Soldier Certified Gear Tag

Something similar to UQCP has been attempted, and abandoned, in the past. Way back in 2008, PEO Soldier came up with this great idea called ‘Team Soldier Certified Gear‘ that would have had industry paying the Army to ‘certify’ Soldier Systems items like gloves, eyepro and flashlights. They would then pay the Army a royalty to claim that the item was certified. Sounded like an awesome idea at the time; didn’t last.

boots Coyote Brown

In the end, all UQCP does, is provide verification that Berry Compliant, commercially produced Combat Boots meet Army Standards. That’s all. Most of those companies already manufacture contract footwear so they know how to do it and their contract boots are already subjected to these standards. What’s more, UQCP doesn’t cover many of the types of boots that Soldiers will wear (foreign made and specialty) like the mountain boots above which, while issued, are also available commercially. Instead, industry will jump through hoops to satisfy yet even more bureaucracy, that won’t do much for the Soldier, in the long run.

Free T-Shirt with Salomon Forces Purchase from US Elite

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

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www.us-elitegear.com/brands/salomon

Fat Tire Shoe Coming Fall 15 from Under Armour

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

The Fat Tire is a new hiking shoe coming Fall 2015 from Under Armor.

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Integrating the Boa closure system, the Fat Tire offers a custom fit at the twist of a dial along with rapid donning and doffing. It also features a GORE-TEX upper with a Cupron infused fabric liner as an antimicrobial. This sits atop a UA Charge mid-sole for cushioning but probably the most striking feature of the Fat Tire is the Michelin sole. The Wild Gripper outsole offers lugs at the bottom as well as up the edge of the sole to improve grip while scrambling up the trail. Coming in numerous colors including UA’s Ridge Reaper camo pattern.

Salomon Forces – Toundra MID WP

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Salomon and mountain sports are almost synonymous having been founded in 1947 in the French Alps. With a name like Toundra, you know that a boot is going to be all about cold weather and that describes this boot to a “T”.

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Maintaining warmth down to -40°C/°F, the Toundra was developed with a focus on lightweight. At just 660 grams per pair (23.3oz for size 8.5UK/9US), Toundra is by far the lightest boot in the extreme cold weather segment. Ounces on the feet equate to pounds on the back and the less a Soldier exerts himself in the cold, the better.

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The secret to such lightweight performance is the insulation. Salomon teamed with Aspen AeroGels, a leader in the nanotechnologies industry. Incorporating SpaceLoft, a textile developed initially for NASA space suits from the lightest material ever created, they saved weight and volume on the Toundra Mid WP. But insulation alone didn’t optimize the boot. It was design. SpaceLoft is strategically placed only where insulation is needed, for a less bulky, better-adapted boot that provides comfortable support for long periods of wear. For example, the toe area has insulation which helps prevent body temperature from escaping the boot.

Aerogel Insulation

The sole is the Winter Contagrip, a specific combination of rubber, lug geometry and density designed for ice and snow. Whether you have to spend a night in a cold, wet environment or stand up for hours, this boot is an ideal partner: drive-ready, run-ready and super-comfy with flexibility and EVA cushioning.

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Toundra is Salomon’s warmest winter boot for extreme environments. It keeps feet warm to -40C/-40F, and is lightweight, durable and flexible, featuring NASA approved Spaceloft insulation technology, and a Winter Contagrip sole designed for snow and ice. Additionally, it is lined with synthetic fleece for comfort and waterproof thanks to a Climashield membrane.

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Salomon Forces footwear are available through your favorite military outfitters such as Tactical Distributors and US Elite Gear. The Toundra may have to be special ordered.

Sneak Peek – Palladium Is Going MultiCam

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

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Palladium boots started making boots in 1947, creating the original French Foreign Legion style. In fact, they’ve been worn by commandos world wide over the past half century. Now, they are introducing MultiCam models featuring the original pattern in addition to Arid, Tropical and Black. While these are the low tops, there will also be higher versions.

www.palladiumboots.com

STABILicer Walk

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Utilizing a stretchy rubber frame to mount to a wide variety of boots, the
STABILicer Walk offers traction via the steel “cleats” located on the sole. Interestingly, they fit these Rocky Boots S2V 104s like a glove.

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Contact ADS Inc for unit and agency orders.

Nike – SFB Mountain

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

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The latest in the SFB line, the SFB Mountain features a design inspired by Bill Bowerman’s service in World War II. The upper consists of Kevlar reinforced canvas, which is water-repellent and breathable. The perforated bootie can be removed and worn on its own for quick drying.

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The footbed is also Kevlar reinforced, which protects it from punctures. The midsole is removable, and doubles as a sockliner. The external collar helps prevent small stones and debris from getting in the boot.

It comes in one color: Military Brown/Military Brown

nike.com – SFB Mountain

Hat tip: sneakernews.com/2015/02/02/nike-releases-sneaker-inspired-world-war-ii

London Bridge Trading – Extremely Limited Offering Of DEFCON Sk8-Hi Notchback Pro “S” In MAS Grey

Friday, January 30th, 2015

DEFCON Mas Grey

Missed out on a chance to grab a pair of Vans Syndicate DEFCON Sk8-Hi Notchback Pro “S” shoes in MAS Grey? Well, this could be your lucky break. Starting at 1200 EST today, LBT will be offering an extremely limited inventory of the Sk8-Hi Notchback Pro “S” in MAS Grey, complete with matching MAS Grey dust cover and Red Lion Label tongue patch. These are sure to go extremely quickly, so get a pair while you can, if you can.

lbtinc.com

SHOT Show – Propper Introduces AR 670-1 Compliant Boot

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Propper International has launched an entire line of duty footwear comprised of three series with two styles each. Primarily we are concerned with Series 300 which includes waterproof and hot weather versions. Both are AR 670-1 compliant and Berry Compliant to mil-spec.

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Made from full grain flesh out cowhide and 1000D Cordura, they’ve also incorporated a slip and oil resistant Vibram Outsole. This sole incorporates V40 technology for braking during fast roping.

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Propper has put a lot into the sole system of the Series 300, working for two years to perfect the boot according to Pavan Singh, footwear consultant to Propper. The entire line is built on a consistent US last so that no matter which Series you choose, you’ll use the same size boot. Cushioning is provided by a poly ethylene compound in the mid-sole which works in conjunction with Polyethylene stability plate. The anatomical athletic footbed is designed specifically to provide arch support which is combined with a separate sizing insole which works as a lift or wedge to further customize fit.

The boot is lined with Dri-Lex and offers two drain holes along the instep for the Hot Weather model while the Waterproof version is also lined with GORE-TEX. The Series 300 boots feature NATO speed lacing and Aegis anti-microbial lining.

Look for the Series 300 boot to hit shelves before the fiscal clock rolls over at that end of September, just in time to wear these Coyote boots with your new OCP ACUs. This is a good looking boot and I was impressed by the out of the box cushion I experienced while briefly trying them out. There is plenty of room in the tow box for me yet my heel wasn’t swimming in the cup.

www.propper.com

SHOT Show – Reebok / WL Gore Launches KRIOS Boot

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Warson Brands, exclusive licensee of Reebok military and tactical boots, has partnered with W. L. Gore & Associates to offer the first Berry complaint military footwear with Extended Comfort Texhnology.

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Warson Brands has been manufacturing footwear since 1989 and has provided Reebok brand occupational and safety footwear and duty uniform footwear which includes military since 2013.

In addition to the GORE-TEX Extended Comfort Technology, the Reebok KRIOS incorporates the MeraMAX polyurethane outsole which is lighter weight and four times more abrasion resistant than rubber.

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Additionally, Warson had the foresight to offer the KRIOS in all four current military boot colors. Tan will be available initially this Spring followed shortly by Sage with Black and Coyote next. Naturally, the Black color has a polishable toe and will be great for LE and public safety professionals.

But the real interesting stuff is in the inside. The Extended Comfort Technology is a different Gore-Tex “recipe” than you are probably familiar with. It’s meant for hot weather. That’s right, no more sweaty feet in the Summer. Your feet can remain dry in hot, wet weather. This is because, it’s right up against the outside of the boot with the membrane and the exterior Cordura fused together. The boot isn’t packed with extra material that will absorb sweat and heat up your foot. What’s more, the KRIOS absorbs 90% less water than non-waterproof boots. This is because the membrane is right up against the outer shell of the boot and means that it will dry much faster.

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I want to point out that this is an AR 670-1 compliant boot and will be available just in time for this Summer’s hot weather. Dealers should contact Warson Brands at 877-753-2426. For additional information, visit www.reebokwork.com/krios.