I dreamed last night I was walking home and the streets began to fill with water and big ice cubes up to my shins, which turned into slush, and I was in Vietnam in the mud, and although the slush was like mud I still felt the water and ice flowing, and my feet were still dry but I didn’t know how long it would last, and it was getting dark and I was lost.
And then I woke up.
And then I thought how bad it is for soldiers then, now, and in the future, that maybe it was time to dig out my feetee Union suit from the dresser, and this OP.
IME: not much. They are all leather on a hard rubber soul. The tongue is attached to the rest of the boot up to about 3/4 the height of the boot, but this is more useful for keeping debris from getting in. End of the day, they’re leather and unless you’ve waterproofed them on your own, your feet are going to get wet. And warm. And stanky.
“Jungle Boots” are similar in construction but have vent holes near the foot arch, and the body of the boot is primarily nylon. They breathe and drain a lot better, but you still need to change your socks often if you’re cruising around in the muck.
I have a pair of Junglee Boots and, yeah, the idea was that it was a given that if you’re walking through mud, swamp, rivers, and other such territory that your feet just are going to get wet, so it makes more sense to allow free movement of the water than to uselessly try and create some sort of impenetrable field.
I used to buy the Vietnam era combat boots surplus in the seventies and eighties when I was poor. The best ones were constructed of a double layer of what some said was kangaroo hide, but was probably cow. Once broken in they were comfortable, and if you saturated them with beeswax they were fairly waterproof, but were really just dreadful footwear with veterans reporting their useful life in places like the Mekong Delta being a few weeks at best. What was crazy about those boots was how slippery the sole was on a wet hard surface. I can’t believe we don’t fight wars in Nikes, maybe they’ll use ‘em in the one we’re fixin’ to start over there…
I was a Marine in Vietnam and never had more socks than the pair I was wearing. Once, during the monsoon, I took my boots off to discover that my socks were just not there anymore. You’re right about the stink.
If it was muddy you were better off, during the much colder monsoon season anyway, when the mud clogged the vent holes. The water in the boots warmed up and the boot acted like a wet suit.