The dark green camouflage canvas boot is to be replaced with anti-bacterial and odour resistant black trainers
People’s Liberation Army troops wearing ‘liberation shoes’. Beijing has deployed army personnel to the steamy jungles of Vietnam and the heights of the Himalayas wearing the canvas boot. Photograph: Stringer Shanghai/Reuters
Chinese military leaders have declared war on smelly feet as part of a mission to free soldiers from the perils of bunions, corns and athlete’s foot.
For decades “liberation shoes” have been the footwear of choice for Chinese troops, and Beijing has deployed army personnel to the steamy jungles of Vietnam and the heights of the Himalayas wearing the canvas boot.
But over the years the dark green camouflage shoes lost their shine and “began to lose favour due to bad ventilation leading to foot odour”, Chinese state media reported in 2010.
Now, their days appear to be numbered following a report that members of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) – a paramilitary force used for domestic security – is being equipped with newly designed footwear that leaves them “less vulnerable to foot-related diseases”.
The replacement shoes are “anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and odour resistant,” boasted Man Xiangdong, the officer who helped design them, adding that they also offered better support for soldiers’ ankles.
Li Zhixiang, a member of the PAP, which is estimated to have more than one million members, said the new shoes had dealt a body blow to bromodosis.
“Since we’ve had these new trainers the smell of feet has completely vanished from our dormitory and our athlete’s foot has improved,” Li told the group’s official website. “They are also fashionable and go with different clothes.”
The black shoes, which military scientists have spent two years developing, will be rolled out just in time for a high-profile military parade scheduled to take place in Beijing on 3 September.
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