Uniforms
Service Dress 1903-Unification
Khaki Drill

1899-1963

Battle Dress

1939-Unification

Combat Uniform

1963-2000+

►CF Uniform Unification-1986
DEU

1986-2000+

Headdress

Berets

Glengarries

Other

Unit Shirts

Boots

 

Boots

Boots have remained a constant requirement of the Canadian soldier throughout the 20th Century. 

First World War

Canadian pattern boots issued early in the First World War were, like many items of Canadian dress in 1914, not equal to the rigours of service life.  The soles of these early boots were prone to dissolving in wet conditions - and the first weeks spent on Salisbury Plain by the First Contingent were among the wettest in the history of the region. By 1916, the Canadian-made boots were relegated for issue to troops in training in the U.K. and replaced by British boots when troops were sent to the Continent.

Ammunition Boots - the standard combat boot worn by Canadians was the Ammunition Boot.  These were black leather ankle-high boots, of pebbled leather with a prominent toe cap.

All troops were also issued canvas shoes for wear off-duty. "Larrigan" boots, a type of waterproof footwear common in Canada, was a popular footgear in the trenches.

Mounted officers by regulation wore laced brown leather ankle boots, or regulation "field boots" or "Strathcona boots." Dismounted officers were directed to wear brown leather ankle boots.1

Ankle length boots were invariably worn with ankle-length puttees of khaki material matching the service dress uniform; mounted troops wrapped the puttees from the knee down to the ankle, and foot soldiers wrapped the puttees from the ankle to the top of the calf.

Second World War

During the Second World War, many different patterns of boots were issued.

Ammunition Boots

The standard Ammunition Boot, as it came to be manufactured by Canadian suppliers, was very similar to the British pattern, though Canadian boots lacked the toe cap.  Officer's boots were made of brown leather and worn according to dress regulations; in general armoured corps officers and officers of rifle and highland regiments wore black boots.


Canadian GS Militia Boot 1950s (Ed Storey collection)   

"Third Division Boots"

The Boot, High-Top, was introduced in about 1942; units of the Second Canadian Division conducted field trials of these boots.  They incorporated a buckle and flap on the high uppers.  They were extremely popular, and were issued in quantity to the Third Canadian Division, and became known to collectors as "Invasion Boots" or "Third Division Boots".  These terms are inaccurate as they were widely used throughout the Canadian Army, notably in the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division units but there are photos of soldiers in Canada using them as well.  The hated web anklets (which had to be blancoed) were not worn with these boots. At right are a pair of High Top Boots from the collection of Ed Storey (photo is thumbnailed - click to enlarge).

 

boot3div.jpg (151822 bytes)

Photos collected on the internet and provided courtesy Michael Peters. Click to enlarge.

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Despatch Riders

High top boots issued to motorcycle messengers.

British Despatch Rider Boots. (Ed Storey collection)

Corporals A.A. Adams and N. Semchuk of the Canadian Army Pacific Force examine a pair of Despatch Rider boots in Brockville, Ontario in the summer of 1945.

AFV Crews

Rubber-soled ankle boots were issued to crews of armoured vehicles.

Jump Boots

At various times in the history of Canadian parachute troops, high-ankled boots or 'jump boots' were issued.

At left, Lieutenant Tom Brier, of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, wearing American Parachute equipment, Helmet, 7-5 Parachute Assembly and reverse, U.S. Corcoran Jump Boots, and parachute suit. The first Canadians to attend jump training in the U.S. were equipped by the Americans. The Sten Gun, however, is Canadian.

At right, a Canadian paratrooper wearing summer pattern Khaki Drill uniform "blouses" his trousers over U.S. pattern jump boots at Landsdowne Barracks.

Postwar

In Korea, a variety of boots were worn by Canadians, including foreign issued items.

 

Private Lambert of the 2nd Battalion Royal 22e Regiment in a slit trench in Korea in May 1951. Short cloth puttees are worn in conjunction with leather soled ankle boots. The cloth puttees had been popular in the Mediterranean during the Second World War and became a standard item of dress after the Second World War, replacing the Web Anklets.

 

Combat Boots

The Canadian Army adopted a rubber soled combat boot very similar to the 3rd Division Boots, though without the buckle and cuff.  Three separate marks were produced. The early marks had a pronounced welt on the sole. Boot care was officially to be done with special preservative issued in metal tins rather than boot polish; in practice this was not often the reality. The combat boot was worn with Work Dress as well as the combat uniform, and continued in use with the new CADPAT uniforms also.

Canadian Combat Boots - from top left Mark I, Mark II and Mark III.

(Ed Storey collection)

Parade Boots

Parade Boots (also known as Ankle Boots) were a stiffer, more formal style of boot very similar in appearance to the Ammunition Boot.  They came to be worn as part of working, walking out, and parade dress.

SSF Boots

The SSF Boot or "Jump Boot" was a privilege extended to parachute qualified personnel, who wore the boots not only with field gear but also when in dress uniform. 

Garrison Dress Boots

A high top boot with smooth leather issued with Garrison Dress.


Ed Storey collection

Cold and Wet Weather Boots

A variety of cold and wet weather boots were also issued for muddy and snowy conditions.


Canadian Goretex boots. Ed Storey collection

  1. Law, Clive M. Khaki: Uniforms of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (Service Publications, Nepean, ON, 1997) ISBN 0-9699845-4-5 p.41

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