This pair of boots,
described as 10th Mountain boots, is actually more of a Korean
war item. They rival the 1937 Winter Cap as the item for sale on the
internet that is most frequently mislabeled as mountain troop gear.
The boots are actually felt, not leather as stated in this sale's
description. They were designed for use in the arctic where the temperature
is consistently below freezing and there is little moisture. They could
be used with skis (note the groove in the heel), but they were poor
ski boots when compared with the leather ski boot. Also, the smooth
soles have little traction so they were poor climbing or marching boots.
The predecessor to this boot, the "Shoes, Arctic, Felt," was
adopted in 1943. It was essentially these boots minus the double-buckle
it was intended mainly for arctic use, the mountain troops used them
in limited quantities as a replacement for the mukluk.
Because the Colorado climate was not a
consistently dry-cold like the arctic, the felt boots frequently got
wet and lost their insulation value, so the mountain troops used them
only rarely, usually as after-ski boots in the barracks.
Test of the felt shoes in the arctic showed
that as long as they stayed dry, they worked well. The biggest complaint
was that snow entered the top of the boot unless gaiters were also
worn. Suggestions were made that a built-in gaiter be added similar
one on the M1943 combat boot.
This change was approved and the improved
boots were adopted in July 1945, but they came too late for anyone
to use during
the World War II.
Army called them "Boots,
Arctic, Felt." They appear in the May 1946
QM-3 supply catalog, but really didn't get into production until the
late 1940s. Most of the boots were used in Korea. The
pattern with the attach gaiter was never a mountain troop item as they
arrived long after the mountain troops disbanded.