The U.S. Marine Corps wants to test out new boots and socks as part of an ongoing effort to ensure Marines stay warm during cold weather operations.
Cold Weather Boots & Socks
Marine Corps Systems Command says it has awarded sole source purchase orders for Intense Cold Weather Boots and Intense Cold Weather Socks. According to Military.com, Belleville Boot Company and Danner Boot Company will each supply 1,000 boots, while FITS Technologies and Ellsworth & Co. will each provide 25,000 pairs of socks. Delivery is due on Sept. 28.
The new boots are designed for use in the negative 20 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit range. The Corps’ current Temperate Weather Marine Corps Combat Boot has a temperature range of between 20 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the Extreme Cold Weather Vapor Barrier Boot has an operational range between negative 65 to negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Based on market research, industry days and events such as Modern Day Marine, we narrowed our decision for the orders down to two companies for cold weather boots and two for socks,” said Todd Towles, program analyst for the Clothing and Equipment Team at MCSC.
Towles added that these new cold weather boots and socks will help MCSC “evaluate commercial off-the-shelf solutions and offer the potential to reduce or eliminate the current environmental protection gap.”
The socks have a higher wool content than the polypropylene wool socks currently used by Marines. Furthermore, the hope is that the new boots and socks will offer better water repellency, comfort and insulation in extreme cold weather environments, the press release says.
Marines are set to test out the new gear from Dec. 2018 through March 2019 at the Mountain Warfare Training Center, Fort McCoy and Norway. Devil Dogs will provide feedback regarding fit, form and function, in addition to how bell the boots and socks perform in sub-zero temperatures.
“The Army is conducting evaluations with similar boots and socks, so there is potential to have some consistency with our results and products,” said Lt. Col. Chris Madeline, program manager for ICE. “Marines will keep the prototype boots through the duration of testing. Once data is collected, it will inform future acquisition decisions and allow the Corps to purchase boots and socks that bridge the gap between the existing cold weather boots.”