Researchers at the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) TechSolutions office have developed a new lightweight boot for sailors and naval aviators to increase comfort over long watches at sea.
Designed to replace current steel-toed boots, the new footwear with a composite replacement toe is scheduled to undergo six-month user evaluation starting this month.
Initially, about 150 participants including sailors and naval aviators aboard submarines, destroyers and amphibious vessels in the third, fourth, sixth, seventh and Pacific fleets will begin the user evaluation.
ONR TechSolutions director Tom Gallagher said: "It is a good feeling to help the warfighter in very real and immediate ways.
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"These lighter, composite-toe boots will meet or exceed current industry standards for impact and compression protection, and increase comfort over long watches."
The new lightweight boot testing evaluation will be assisted by the ONR global science advisors and TechSolutions, by coordinating their introduction into the fleet and collecting data from operational evaluators.
"If they like these boots, not only could they see improved comfort on ship decks every day, but the safety factor improves as well," Gallagher added.
A proposal to consider using the composite toe caps versus steel toe caps in future footwear production would be put forward to Navy leadership if the new boots get favourable feedback.
The project programme manager James Martin said: "More and more of the military footwear manufacturers are making this shift toward composites in their commercial offerings, and we want the Navy to be ready."
Image: A new lightweight boot is being developed by ONR. Photo: US Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released.