Why it took 57 years to replace jungle boots

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One of the most popular
combat boots in history is this Jungle Boot. Some people say it's the best
combat boot there ever was, some say it's the worst. But either way, there's a few things
about the design of this boot that I bet you didn't know. So, we're gonna cut it in half, show you how this whole thing happened,
all the design features and why people love and hate this boot. And thanks to Tactile Turn
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I'm like fidgeting and I’m not
even aware of fidgeting it in the ad. Sorry, thanks again Tactile Turn. So what is the Jungle Boot? Well the Jungle Boot was designed based on the improvements from the
World War II boot that we cut apart last year. With the concept of the boot being the design of the Jungle Boot
was based on the idea that no boot could possibly keep water out and still provide sufficient ventilation
to the feet in a jungle or swamp environment.

Instead, the Jungle Boot was designed
to permit water and perspiration to drain, drying the feet
while preventing entry of insects, mud or sand. And most importantly, to prevent-
to prevent jungle rot or trench foot which is the nastiest thing
that can happen to your feet. Here's some images just so you're aware. So just like I said, this boot
was designed to allow water to escape and the way that is done
is by these little ports that have, that have little holes in them
to allow the water to escape. So obviously, it allows water in. But more importantly, it allows
that water to eventually drain out and allows the air to circulate
through the boot, eventually drying it out. They also upgraded the lugs on this boot compared to the World War II boot
that had that diamond pattern on it.

Initially, they started using this-
this vibram lugged sole that was actually developed
in World War II but didn't ever actually see any use or combat until Vietnam. And the goal of this more aggressive outsole was to be able to grip better in wet conditions,
in mud and water, in slippery conditions. But the problem was,
the mud really got caked on there and once you had
a thick layer of mud on top of there, these might as well be ice skates.

So, they developed an even heavier lug sole. It is significantly thicker lugs
and more gaps between and more angles. And since we have both outsoles,
we ran a couple tests just to see if this really does make
a difference and as you can see, the newer, thicker lugs were
significantly better than these tighter lugs. The next thing that they improved was right there on the tongue,
it says spike protective. Because the initial batch of these didn't have
any way to protect yourself against spike, especially the punji stick traps
where they sharpen bamboo sticks and you fall down
and it pierced through your sole causing you to be out of the war because you can't really fight a war
in wet climates with giant wounds in your feet. So, what they did with this boot
in order to prevent that is they basically just put a steel slab
of sheet metal through the midsole. So that if you did step
on something really sharp, it would at least have to go through
a piece of metal to get to your foot. Which is pretty unlikely,
but to put it to the test, we put it on our-
our puncture test and put it in perspective, this is how most boots do
when it comes to puncture tests.

But when we put the Jungle Boot on there, it took an astounding 306.5 pounds
to pierce through the outsole, through that steel plate
and all the way to the inside of the boot. The next thing they did to improve
this boot is include a pamphlet that gives you instructions
on how to wear the boots. How to size the boots, how to care for the boots. And one of the more interesting things that is a common mistake
for anyone that has leather boots is how to dry your boots. Tropical climate, wet boots,
it's important to know how to dry them. A lot of people, as soon as they get their boots wet,
they put them right next to the heater.

It overheats the leather,
it dries it out really quick. Cause them to be really fragile and crack. And as you can see, that's what happened
with this leather that we did that to. So don't dry your boots next to the heater. The next thing is the canvas. So, they obviously use canvas
to make it a little bit more lightweight. More breathable, more flexible, less hot and the initial run
was done with cotton canvas. But the problem with cotton,
is the more you get it wet, the more it stays wet. It starts to rot,
it starts to disintegrate and break down. So eventually, they move to a nylon upper which is what this one is
because we ran a quick flame test on it.

And you can always tell the difference between
cotton and nylon because of the way it smells. Nylon smells a lot more plasticky. Cotton just smells like you're burning wood. And nylon melts when you put it to flame
and it creates a hard plasticy sheen on top. And one really cool thing
that I didn't know before this video, was this nylon strap here
is basically just tie down strap that they added to the boot
in the later versions. Because another issue with canvas is, it's really strong
and it's fairly puncture resistant, but where it's sewn to the boot
is its weakest point.

And so they added this on to give it a little bit
more rigidity and a little bit more strength because as you're walking
and you're pulling this, all that tension goes straight
to this nylon tie-down strap. And finally to the weirdest and probably
my most favorite thing that they did to this boot is the insole. So, this is a Saran
ventilating insole that traps air in it. At least, that's what it was designed for us because the idea is
that this was almost like a sponge.

So that when you step down on it,
any of the water that's trapped in there will be squished out and hopefully pushed out
through these ventilation ports right there. Then, as you release that step
and your foot starts lifting up, it creates like almost like a bellows so that there's constant airflow
being pushed in and out of your- your boot or water being pushed in and out,
hopefully mostly out. And it's just three or four
layers of a mesh material.

So instead of over designing it
and making it super complicated, they just made a very simple solution to it. I don't know if it actually worked or not, but as you can see from the footage,
it does absorb and push water out so it must have worked to some degree. So, kind of interesting and it says
do not boil because it probably shrinks. So that's all the big improvements
and features they designed into this boot, but what is the actual quality of this boot? Is it a decent boot? How much leather is in it? Is it as good a quality
as the World War II boots? Let's find out and get it cut in half. All right, I got it cut in half semi-successfully because there's clearly
is still plate all the way through it because my band saw
was wandering and burning out the blade. But let's see what's inside.

I thought for sure that this would be
a mostly synthetic boot because of how it's built and the time that it was made, but there's a surprising amount
of leather in here. Because the lasting board is leather
and then the counter is leather. The counter cover's leather and the layer underneath of that metal plate
that runs the full length of the boot is also leather. And it's kind of interesting
how they've made this, because that top layer of leather
and the bottom layer of leather sandwich that steel plate
and it's sewn all the way around. And that stitching doesn't go through the outsole,
it doesn't even go through the upper. It's just to make that leather
and metal sandwich.

And so the way they make this boot. What they do, is they put that-
that insole sandwich on the last and they wrap the upper
around the last and nail it to the insole. And then finally, the outsole
is vulcanized to the insole and the upper, binding all those layers
together with the nails. And that's why these boots are so sturdy
compared to a cemented construction because it's vulcanized, it's actually melted and cured into the materials
that it's attached to. And the steel plate is surprisingly thin. I thought it was going to be pretty thick,
but it's really only less than a millimeter thick. And this boot also has a steel shank. And one of the more interesting
and odd things that I didn't expect is this block right here is a block of wood. I thought for sure it'd be-
have bolts in it or be a solid piece of rubber. But I think the reason they put wood in there, is to cut down on the expense and to cut down on the amount of rubber
that was used to make these boots because they're making them
at such high volumes.

And maybe to cut down on weight
because wood is a little bit lighter than rubber. And as for the other components, the toe stiffener is a cellulose counter,
I thought it'd be leather and then this lining on the inside,
if we do a little burn test on that. Didn't melt. And it smells like cotton, so it's cotton. And you can now see
that this cross section of the leather. You can see the bluing on the inside which is
the telltale sign of a chrome-tanned leather which is to be expected for this,
for a military boot here, it's a mass production. But overall, this- this boot
is actually a really high quality boot.

Especially for the price
that you can pick these up for at pretty much any surplus store. I think we got these for like $50 bucks and these are better
than most $200 to $300 boots. Versions of this boot
were around up until 2005. You know, they changed
a few components here and there but the base of this boot
has been around for 50 years. And I thought for sure this is gonna be
a boring video and it's gonna be all synthetic, but it ended up being one of the more
interesting videos we've ever done on boots because it's not a boot designed
for what someone thinks consumers want. It's a boot designed over decades,
it's a forced evolution of what soldiers, hundreds of thousands of soldiers needed. And every component in this boot
has a purpose and a function and it was designed
solely for function over form. And very rarely do you see this perfect
of an example of function over form. So, let me know what you guys think
and what you thought of this video. I think we're finally gonna do
the World War II boot series, it should be all the way through July.

And we got another
cool military boot coming up. If you ever seen the Bunny Boot,
they're ridiculous and I’m dying to know what's inside of them, so. And so thank you guys for everything you do and thanks again to Tactile Turn
for sponsoring this video. Check them out below, the pens are sick. Thank you guys. See ya..

As found on YouTube

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