History of the Combat Boot
words | Jennifer O'Bannon
From battlefields to runways, the combat boot has made quite the journey throughout history. The first known to wear combat boots were the foot soldiers of the Assyrians, who wore hobnail boots called Caligae. The boot was originally known as “hobnail combat boot” because it was made with hobnails, which were short nails with thick heads. The durable hobnail was incorporated into the boot’s design so that it would be easier for soldiers to travel through any type of environment. Interesting note, these boots had no left or right shoe! They were expected to conform to the soldier’s feet. Bad idea.During World War II, the US combat boots was double buckled until 1948. Then the Vietnam War, 1955-1975, found the need for the lace up combat boots which were made specifically for jungle warfare. Combat boots had not only become common place among military, but also were slowly becoming a staple shoe with fashionistas throughout the world.
Fast forward to the ‘80s, combat boots had a new group of people looking to buy the outside of the military. With the invasion of the goth, punk, and industrial kids, combat boots became much more mainstream. They became a fashion statement for a large population of American youth. By the late 1980s, the more famously noted Dr. Martens (Doc Martens) boots were popular with punk rockers, new wave musicians, and urban street styles.
Today, almost every fashion conscious individual has a pair of these edgy boots in her stash. The combat boot trend has managed to be successful in capturing the attention of all walks of style - with denim and flannel for the tomboy, leather jacket and lace pencil skirt for the chic and a floral cotton maxi dress for the boho festival goer. Some hard core lovers of combat boots want the real deal which creates an authentic and vintage vibe and can only find their fix at military surplus stores. But fret not, many designers have adopted the combat boot in their fashion lines. Whether straight from military surplus stores or designer showrooms, the combat boot seems to be here to stay!