When serving in any of the military branches, one of the things people find it hard to deal with are the seemingly endless regulations one must follow. Not just typical laws we all follow – don’t steal, lie, cheat, murder, drink, and drive, etc. No, we are talking about the extra steps one must take to serve one nation. Things like shaving your face every day, hairstyles you can and cannot have, what jewelry you can wear, rules around piercings or tattoos, and even what clothing you wear or the footwear you can utilize. “What makes an AR670-1 Boot authorized?”
The typical grumblings and underground conversations occur, where the troops all agree that if they could wear this one certain pair of boots, they would run faster and climb higher, combat effectiveness would rise, overall troop morale would skyrocket, and they might even be able to jump small canyons!
Despite these enthusiastic assertions, each branch has its own set of regulations outlining which boots are approved for their members to wear. Although some forces may be a little stricter than others when it comes to their boots, the Army publishes their regs through AR 670-1 and DA PAM 670-1, with the DA PAM spelling out what the guidelines are. This creates a black and white layout, with very little gray area to play with (or jump canyons).
On page 112 of the DA PAM, there is a list of guidelines one must follow when using commercial boots. However, it is important to understand that when it comes to footwear, Commanders always have discretion and can require only standard-issued boots per their command. So don’t reference this article or even the official guidelines when debating with your senior enlisted that the pair of boots you bought from the mall are authorized and you’re going to wear them no matter what. You may not come out of the encounter the same person you were when you went into it.
Basic AR670-1 Boot Guidelines
When it comes to the basic, standard-issue of boots for the Army, it is quite simple. There are currently two types of issued Army combat boots: Hot Weather Boots (HWB) and Temperate Weather Boots (TWB). Both are made from “flesh-side out cattle hide leather.” They have a plain toe and have either tan or coyote outsoles (the appropriate color is dependent on your uniform). When laced, they must be done diagonally, with laces matching the color of the boot and tucked under the blouse. Like I said, simple. Although there are some small, minute changes in the weight and design between the HWB and TWB, the basic foundation is the same.
With that being said, there is still the option of using commercially designed boots with authorization from the Commander. This, however, does not mean that you can rush out and buy the boots you saw at the store the other day. The guidelines are there in part to prevent injuries or the inability to perform your job because of ineffective or shoddy equipment. There is still a mission at hand, and if that non-leather upper splits en route, you become mission incapable and become a hindrance.
AR670-1 Commercial Boot Guidelines
The guidelines for AR670-1 compliant boots remain the same as standard-issue boots in terms of the material of the actual boot (rough-out leather), with an 8-10 inch height requirement put in place. The toes must be plain, with the soles matching the color of the boot. The sole is to be made out of rubber or polyether polyurethane (PU), no more than 2 inches in height from the ground and cannot extend up the back of the heel or over the toe. All logos must be subdued to the boot. With these requirements put in place, Commanders are able to more easily authorize the use of commercial boots with stability, maneuverability, and a similar look.
Many of the troops will always fight standard-issued gear and be on a constant search for better equipment. The military branches are beginning to see this, and have been extending the regulations and authorized lists to allow for more boots and more options for their military members. This makes the ground forces happier, keeps the troops looking sharp, and allows them to cover more ground with less wear and tear.
Remember, each branch has its own guidelines, and just because a pair of boots are AR670-1 compliant, doesn’t mean they can automatically be worn in the Navy or Marine Corps. In fact, with the new Air Force regs requiring coyote boots with the OCP uniform, it’s important for members of both branches to double-check what they’re buying before they spend the money. Not all USAF compliant boots will be allowable for Army wear, and vice versa.
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