During WWI the footwear worn by soldiers was not serving its function. Trench warfare plagued soldiers’ feet with continuous moisture and lack of air. These elements ultimately led to a condition known as Trench Foot, which was removing soldiers from the frontlines. As a solution the manufactures modified the standard issue shoe and the Trench Boot came to life in 1917.
These boots were a big improvement. They were durable and had hobnail soles for improved traction within the trenches. However, the boots were still not providing enough moisture protection. Many individuals submitted recommendations for modifications and ultimately the design approved by General Pershing became known as the Pershing Boot. The boot was far more durable and waterproof. This was due to a stronger sole, thicker leather and a process known as dubbing which involved coating the boots in a solution composed of beef tallow and Neatsfoot oil. These modifications drastically improved conditions for soldiers at the end of the war.
The production of these boots stopped at the end of WWI; however, many of the design elements live on in boots produced and worn today. The heavy-duty sole, thick leather and classic silhouette are prevalent with brands such as Red Wing, Chippewa and Wolverine.
From utility comes style.
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