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Black Leather Combat Boots
The black leather combat boot was introduced to the U.S. Army in the mid-1950s based on the previous Boots, Service, Combat, Russet M1948, nearly identical except for color. The black leather combat boot was generally well-liked due to its sharp military appearance when shined and good qualities of foot support and protection. In an evolving series of models, the black leather combat boot remained an integral part of U.S. Army and Marine Corps field uniforms until the mid-2000s. At that time, the U.S. Military Battle Dress Uniform was replaced in all the services by digital camouflage utility uniforms and the services transitioned to rough-texture footwear, the ACB and MCCB.
The change was not just for appearance since black leather boots are not compatible with camouflage and also reflect as hot spots in night vision viewers. The end of the spit-shine requirement of the smooth black leather boots was welcomed by many but also seen as a step down from military tradition.
U.S. Black Leather Combat Boots
The M1948 Russet Combat Boot was the Army's standard leather boot until the transition began to black footwear to go with the new Army Green uniforms, adopted September 1954. In early 1958, soldiers who still had the russet color boots were instructed to use shoe dye to change the color to black, although russet boots were still being issued in the early 1960s as supplies were drawn down.
The Black Leather Combat Boot was worn with Army field uniforms, with trousers bloused into the boot tops, from the mid-1950s until approximately 2005, when the Battle Dress Uniform was phased out. This table summarizes the models of Black Leather Combat Boots over those decades. The table is not exhaustive. If you have additional information or can correct any errors, please contact Olive-Drab.com.
The Black ICB was superseded by the Army Combat Boot (Temperate Weather) in the mid-2000s, bringing the era of Black Leather Combat Boots to a close.
Private Purchase Black Leather Combat Boots
It has been a common practice for individuals to purchase non-issue black leather combat boots, a practice that is tolerated so long as the purchased boots meet military standards for both performance and appearance. Some units have adopted their own alternate standard for morale or historical reasons. Individuals may own multiple pairs, for example to wear issue boots to inspection, but purchase a more comfortable or supportive boot for daily use, owning several sets to meet different needs. Therefore, at any given time the boots worn by a soldier or Marine might not be any of the standardized boots listed on this page.
Boots may have an official National Stock Number assigned, but nonetheless have never been actually procured and issued through supply channels. Such boots meet military standards and may be officially procured at some time.
Issued boots were often customized by the addition of private purchase accessories. A common one was a lace-in zipper for quick on/off. Issue laces were replaced by more favored types, rough-out boots were smoothed and polished, heel and sole patterns were changed, various cushion inserts were tried, and other mods were made as desired by the soldiers for fashion or functional improvements.
Amazon.com offers many styles of military authorized black leather combat boots for private purchase.
Black Leather Boots of the U.S. Marine Corps
The history of the Marine Corps' use of black leather boots tracks the Army history in most respects. The USMC Boondockers (hightop field shoes) were used in World War II and early Korea, a russet/dark brown short boot intended to be worn with leggings. The M1951 USMC boot replaced the boondockers with a high-top design, similar to the Army's M1948 Russet Combat Boots. The Marines' M1951 boot changed from brown to black in the mid-1950s. It featured roughout leather, a nailed and stitched sole with separate beveled heel, and ten or eleven sets of eyelets/hooks depending on size. The laces and eyelets were brown or black, matching the boot's leather color. Endicott-Johnson produced the M1951 boots under USMC contract.
The McNamara Black Leather Combat Boot (described above) was for all services, so the M1951 USMC boot was replaced after 1962. The Marine Corps did not thereafter have a boot custom designed for Marines, although Marine contract boots with unique markings were made.
Effective 1 Oct 2004, black boots (except safety boots) and green jungle boots were no longer authorized for Marine wear, for all utility uniforms. The transition from the BDU to the MCCUU left the black leather boot behind.
Find More Information on the Internet
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