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Jungle boots are exactly what they sound like: Boots you wear on missions in tropical climates. In hot and wet conditions that leave your feet sticky and soggy, jungle boots have special features like drainage vents that prevent the uncomfortable realities of your surroundings.
While jungle boots were in use long before WWII, it gained momentum during the Vietnam War, when many troops were experiencing difficulties maneuvering through thick jungles filled with booby traps. The boots were not only lighter than the standard combat boot (initial pairs weighing in at three pounds), its canvas material also dried faster.
According to Moore Militaria, there was a range of variations and improvements to jungle boots starting in the 1950s. It began with the WWII double-buckle boot, which was altered by adding canvas sections. Then a leather band was tacked on to the top around 1962, which later changed to a nylon strap in 1965. Around 1967 the Panama sole, which gave soldiers the ability to shed mud by flexing the foot, was officially tested and implemented on some boot models. While innovative, it has never received to same popularity as the traditional Vibram sole.
Two of the main manufacturers still producing modern day jungle boots include Altama Delta Corporation and Wellco Enterprises. Founded in 1969, Altama actually began as a children’s shoe plant but transitioned into green jungle boot manufacturing to meet the needs of the Vietnam War. Wellco entered the jungle boot market during that same period with its patented Wellco-Ro-Search technology. Wellco says its technology — including molds and presses — was used by three other manufacturers to make jungle boots at the time and plays a role in many military boots today.
Learn all about Altima desert jungle boots with a 10-minute, in-depth review (below).