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Marines to Test out Lighter Combat Boots at Boot Camp

Marines from 3d Battalion, 3d Marines complete the final user evaluation for the tropical uniform in Kahuku's Training Area Oct. 3-5, 2017. Durability, fit and function were tested in order to compile the final report for the Commandant of the Marine Corps to make a decision on the future of the uniform in 2018. (Molly Hampton/Marine Corps)
Marines from 3d Battalion, 3d Marines complete the final user evaluation for the tropical uniform in Kahuku's Training Area Oct. 3-5, 2017. Durability, fit and function were tested in order to compile the final report for the Commandant of the Marine Corps to make a decision on the future of the uniform in 2018. (Molly Hampton/Marine Corps)

The Marine Corps is getting ready to launch a test to determine if lighter footwear will improve the performance of Marines at boot camp.

According to a release from Marine Corps Systems Command, the test, to be run during a future recruit training cycle, will involve two lightweight boots designed for warmer climates: the Danner Reckoning Hot Weather Boot, currently available to Marines for optional wear; and the Rocky Tropical boot, which has participated and performed well in recent wear tests assessing jungle footwear for Marines.

The Marine Corps plans to order 700 pairs of each to issue to an equal number of male and female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. They will be compared to the standard Marine Corps combat boot during the test, according to the release.

During the three-month test, users will be monitored to determine if there is a decrease in lower extremity injuries for those wearing the lighter boots, according to the release.

"The feedback we've received from Marines on the Reckoning boots, is positive," Todd Towles, project officer for the Clothing and Equipment Team at Marine Corps Systems Command, said in a statement. "The boots are lightweight, durable, and there's virtually no break-in period."

While officials did not say when the test is set to take place, they have already begun to procure the boots it requires.

On March 22, the Marine Corps published an intent to sole source 700 pairs of the Reckoning boot. It published a request for a quote on the Rocky boot on Wednesday.

This most recent effort follows a series of wear tests in 2016 and 2017 involving tropical boot prototypes. The tests, which took place in Hawaii and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, involved boots made by four different companies: Rocky Boots, Bates Footwear, Altama, and Danner.

While the Marine Corps has not publicized full results of those tests, they said the Rocky brand performed well during testing.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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