The American military during World War Two began the war like most other countries, with one uniform for all occasions. The same uniform you were expected to meet the president in or get married in was the same uniform you were expected to fight in the muddy trenches with. I cover this ideology further in an earlier post about the M-1941 Parsons Jacket. Having a single uniform that served as a dress and combat uniform required boots that could be just as versatile, the United States’ decided on Russet Brown Low Quarter boots as their boots of choice.
In order for low quarter boots to work well in both ceremony and combat scenarios, an additional piece needed to be added to the boots in order for them to survive in combat. This additional uniform piece was canvas leggings or gaiters, they were added to the low quarter boots at the top and wrapped around a Soldier’s calf in order to extend the height of the low quarter boots and add protection. This was also an economical way for the United States to afford all Soldiers the same protection as full-length boots, without actually outfitting them with expensive leather boots.
Towards the middle of the war around 1943-44, Soldiers actually having a taste of combat from the Pacific to Europe were sick of the long process to put the leggings/low quarter boots on and also the flimsiness of the canvas leggings. The military responded with the new M-1943 Combat Boots. The boots were designed in conjunction with the new M-1943 Uniform, I covered the M-1943 Field Jacket in further detail in an earlier post.
The new Double Buckle Combat boots were a success! The GIs loved them, they no longer had to spend any extra time lacing up their high canvas leggings, all that was needed to get up and go was a few laces and two large leather buckles. The boots would be worn up until the end of WWII and then onto the Korean War. At the beginning of the Vietnam War American Advisors and South Vietnamese Soldiers did wear the boots and also a canvas and leather jungle version, but by the beginning of major combat operation in Southeast Asia in 1965 the boots were completely phased out.
The M-1943 Combat Boots in WWII
And… now in the 21st century… the Double Buckle boots are back! Women and Men’s shoe designers have created some very stylish boots with the same double buckle that was revolutionary back in 1943. Labels and designers worldwide have taken design aspects directly from the WWII era double buckle boots. The rugged and symmetric look of the double buckles around the ankle area make an excellent design feature that adds a subtle military chic undertone to a variety of boots.
Featured below are some excellent examples of some designer’s takes on the classic double buckle boots.
All Saints Damisi Boots $313.78
The Double Buckle design although shortly lived as a combat boot during WWII and the Korean War, can still be seen today. This is due to some resourceful designers and innovative fashion labels. Like most of my featured pieces there are reproductions being made. Something remarkable about this piece is that the actual reproductions have made their way into the streets as a fashion item to wear. Below are listed the reproduction houses and an example of some repro boots being stylishly worn.
WWII Impressions Double Buckle Boots $185.00
What Price Glory $165.00
Epic Militaria ₤89.95
ZIB Militaria €84.90
At The Front $135.00
The M-1943 Combat Boots (Double Buckle Boots) were the first of their kind, and set the standard for all combat boots in the 20th and 21st century. They would eliminate leggings and gaiters from any modern military and provided Soldiers with boots that they could depend on. Their signature double buckle design would catch the attention of designers and bring some well deserved attention to these classic WWII Boots.
Whether it be marching on to Berlin in 1945 or just going out at night, double buckle boots can take you really anywhere and in style.