DMS Boots

In 1958 a brand new set of uniform and equipment was introduced to update what a soldier used in battle, replacing much of that used in the Second World War. Amongst the many updates was a set of boots, to become infamous to squaddies as ‘DMS; boots. Soldier Magazine, December 1957, explained:

The infantryman (and soldiers in most other Arms as well) will also wear moulded rubber soled boots fitted with washable plastic insoles and tied with nylon laces. These boots will never be repaired; the uppers will have worn out by the time the soles have worn thin and the boots will be sent for salvage. imageThe boots are made of pebbled leather, with smooth toecaps:imageAnd heels:imageThe boots are ankle high, and lace up the front with six rows of metal reinforced laceholes:imageThe distinctive feature of the boots is of course the sole, which is made of black rubber moulded directly to the upper part of the boot. It has a deep tread for better grip:imageThe DMS boots remained the standard item of footwear in the British Army until the Falklands when it became clear they were totally unsuited to modern warfare. The short boot was insufficiently waterproof and soldiers suffered from trench-foot, or as ARRSEpedia puts it ‘DMS boots were as waterproof as a pair of sandals.’ There are even stories of soldiers stealing high leg boots off dead Argentinians as they were better than the DMS boot. Unless worn with the issued nylon inner soles, the rubber soles would ‘draw’ the feet, making them sweat badly. In cold wet weather the boot was proved far from practical; it became easily saturated and caused the wearer’s feet to suffer accordingly The ‘Boot, Combat, High’ was quickly brought into service to replace the DMS boot in the aftermath of the Falklands War, but the DMS boot was to soldier on for a number of years whilst the new boots were rolled out.

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