When it comes to the success of a mission, the last thing a soldier wants to worry about is how well his or her gear is going to perform. Many Army has invested millions of dollars on the program to engineer the best combat boot for a hot weather mountain climate, which they wanted boots that could perform well in the rugged environment.
Durability, breath ability and weight were key concerns. Soldiers would trudge across the landscape and find that sharp rocks had cut through their boots "like a hot knife through butter." The boots were also lined with waterproof material, a nice perk when crossing a stream or walking in light rain, but one that vanished in sweltering temperatures. Instead, the boots became too hot. Finally, these shredded, sweaty shoes were also too heavy, according to feedback.
The new combat boot on ground need: the waterproof lining was eliminated and instead the design looked to incorporate perforated leather or drainage eyelets so that water could rapidly escape. The traditional lace-locking system, which helps keep the ankle stable, was not ideal for this boot because it created too much tension when soldiers walked up a steep mountain. Both nylon and leather were used so that the shoe would be both breathable and abrasion resistant.
It could reduce the boot's weight and improve breath ability by removing some material from the upper portion, but it must also ensure that products are made in the U.S. with American materials, which excludes some lighter-weight materials. Such kind constraints require designers to "be strategic so that you deliver the benefit without undermining integrity of the shoe."
Despite the improvements to the boot, the Army is looking to refine it as much as possible and is depending on soldiers' experience to do that.