Nearly half of soldiers surveyed by the Army chose to buy their own boots rather than wear the ones issued to them.
That, in part, is driving work at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Soldier Center at Natick to build a better, lighter, more comfortable and durable boot.
And the first feet to feel the difference will be the newest additions to the Army — 800 basic trainees at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and Fort Jackson, South Carolina, according to a center release.
Another 800 pairs will go to infantry soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas. A Soldier Center team will hand fit the boots through the end of the month and return for feedback in March and April.