Current Issue Royal Navy ‘Steaming Bats’

The Royal Navy has had a number of different patterns of work boot over the decades, although all are invariably referred to as ‘steaming bats’ by the ratings who wear them. Previously we have looked at a 1970s pair here, but today we take a look at the current iteration of this work boot:

These are a pair of ankle height boots with steel toe caps to protect the feet from being crushed, the toes being smooth and without external toe caps:

As ships have electrical equipment and can have water sloshing around the deck, insulated soles are essential and these boots have deep rubber soles with zig zag treads for grip:

The boots have a thick band of padding around the ankles to help make this part comfortable with extended wear:

The boots lace up the front, with a sewn in tongue which contains details of sizing, NSN number etc:

Steaming bats are universally derided by sailors, but equally are worn pretty much all the time. At one stage it was de rigeur to paint one’s name on the back in white tip-ex, however this practice seems to have died out. Steaming bats are heavy and a little uncomfortable, but are regarded as essential for safety, especially at sea.

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