The Jungle Boot supplied by Iturri is the rarest of the seven brown boots procured in the 2017 UK MoD five-year supply contract, writes Bob Morrison.
When the UK MoD issued guideline quantities for what would become the 2017 five/seven year procurement of combat boots contract Lot 4, the Jungle Boot, only accounted for 42,000 or 5.4% of the estimated 772,000 total. Once Iturri secured that portion of the order ~ see my article Future Supply of UK MoD Combat Boots ~ they outsourced Lot 4 rather than making the boots themselves as it was not economically viable to set up a production line for the comparatively small annual quantities required across many different sizes. For around half a century two American suppliers, Altama and Wellco, had been producing broadly similar designs of the classic jungle boot in vast quantities for US Forces, and others, so it was a no-brainer for Iturri to source one of these.
The jungle boot chosen by Iturri was the Wellco version, which combines a leather ‘shoe’ with quite high 1000D nylon (Cordura or similar) textile uppers fused to a DMS (directly moulded sole) outsole with a Panama jungle tread and thick heel. The fabric tongue gusset is full height to keep out leeches and insects, there is a nylon reinforcing band around the collar, the insteps have mesh covered drainage holes and the boot has two pairs of lower lace eyelets and five pairs of closed upper lace hooks or lace tunnels. There is also an anti-spike or anti-punji stick plate between the sole unit and the insole.
The UK MoD Jungle Boots seen here were worn, on carpet, by a Royal Engineer and a Paratrooper at the IAV 2023 conference in London last week. The sapper was issued his for Belize and the Para wore his for a recent tour in an African country; this, incidentally, was the same Para NCO who attracted comments on Twitter when photographed briefing the DGCS the week before while wearing jungle boots in the snow at ATDU. Both soldiers told me they find these issue Jungle Boots to be very comfortable for office / barracks wear. Although Iturri gave me samples of their Lot 2 Desert, Lot 3 Cold Wet Weather, and Lot 5 Patrol boots for evaluation, on three different continents as it happens, because the Lot 4 Jungle boots were not held in their own stores but called up direct from the manufacturer to fill precise MoD order requirements I have been unable to try them for myself.
Footnote: Like my cameras, I have an aversion to being permanently wet & sticky in bug-infested theatres so I have not yet found the need to source my own jungle boots. Wearing proper clothing I can handle the bitter cold of the Arctic, but give me hot and dry desert climes rather than the jungle any day.