The Evolution of Jungle Boots Worn in Vietnam
The first jungle boots to be worn in South East Asia where developed immediately post WWII for use in Panama. They resembled WWII boots by having double buckles and a russet brown leather finish. They saw limited use in Vietnam with the exception of being worn by early Special Forces advisor teams in Laos (Operation Hot Foot / White Star) and occasionally by TDY teams in Vietnam. Their early use by Special Forces is the main reason they are desirable to collectors today. The pair in my collection are 1951 dated.
The next pair are considered true 1st pattern because they actually saw a fair amount of use in Vietnam. They resemble the later jungle boots with the exception of the following differences:
I. They were issued with shoe laces rather than round boot laces
II. The metal vent grommets on the sides are inverted and concave
III. They lack nylon web ankle and other reinforcements
IV. They have black leather trim across the top of the boot and up the back of the heel
The pair in my collection is dated 1962, but most found are 1963 dated.
The 2nd pattern jungle boots are similar to 1st pattern with the exception of the following changes:
I. The metal vent grommets are no longer concave and inverted. They resemble the vent grommets on all later patterns.
II. They no longer have black leather trim across the top of the boot and up the back of the heel. The leather is now replaced with nylon web.
The pair I have in my collection are 1965 dated, but I’ve had examples that were 1964 dated.
The 3rd pattern jungle boots have the following changes:
I. They are now issued with boot laces (rather than the shoe laces)
II. They have nylon web ankle reinforcements
III. They began to have spike resistant soles to protect the feet from punji sticks. Some boots have this feature while others do not.
The pairs I have in my collection are dated between 1966 and 1968.
The 4th pattern jungle boots incorporated a “Panama” sole to replace the waffle sole.
There are some subtle differences within the various models, but that is due to manufacture differences and my point is to illustrate the major differences.
Chris Hughes is a WorthPoint Worthologist specializing in 20th century militaria and the owner of Rally Point Militaria and Vietnam Uniform – Military Collectibles sites.