Brand new, American made reproduction of the standard issue boot worn by soldiers and airmen throughout the Second World War. These are commonly called "Type II Service Shoes", but we are using "Service Shoes, Rubber Taps" which is the actual name from the Quartermaster Catalog since that's how we have labeled their boxes for historical accuracy.
Our boots are made by HH Brown with components from Goodyear Tire and Rubber to our specifications. The design, sole and heel patterns, leather, and color are all identical to those made in the 1940's. Our laces are original 1944 manufacture. We even copied a period shipping box, and our labels have the correct US Army Quartermaster part numbers. The only things we have not managed to get done were the exact ink stamps inside (which run afoul of modern labeling requirements) and the factory can no longer acquire the old style linen thread. Fit, finish, sizing, and workmanship are what one expects from an American made product.
Made in USA
History: From the late 1930's until late 1941, personnel of the US Army were all issued the Type I Service Shoe, which is this style of boot with leather soles. The Army introduced an improved version, the Type II, which had a rubber heel and tap (half sole) in the Fall of 1941. The Service Shoes were made from polished, grain-side out leather, painted cordovan brown. (Yes, there is leather paint.) They have welt soles, toe caps with brogue holes, no internal toe box, 7-9 pairs of eyelets, and leather full sole. The change to rubber taps and heel was predicted to double the life of the boots. The taps are reinforced with brass (later steel and zinc were used) nails. Service Shoes were intended to be worn with leggings for field use, and alone for when not in field conditions.
Training exercises and combat experience showed shortcomings in the design, which led to experimentation with different sole compositions and leather types in 1942. Ultimately, the Service Shoes proved to be lacking as combat footwear and were gradually superseded by the Type III reverse upper service shoes ("roughouts") and the Combat Service Boots late in the War, although they were never totally replaced until the 1950's.
Wear: These are period correct for all Army and Air Corps personnel for the entire 1941-45 period. With exception to some combat trials, mostly in Italy, the reverse upper service shoes didn't appear until just before D-day, and the Combat Service boots in the Fall of 1944. These were still in use with many soldiers at the end of the War.
ATF's Boots: In the Fall of 2013, we started the process of contracting US WWII military footwear in the United States. It took three years to get these from the drawing board, into production and delivered. The main problem was that correct WWII style soles and heels are no longer available, so we approached Goodyear Tire & Rubber who we have dealt with in the past. This ended up involving several attorneys, lots of paperwork, and a license agreement. They had to renew their trademark on "Wingfoot" and then we began developing the old designs with their contractor and the boot factory. We own the molds and are the exclusive licensee for these soles. (We will also have replacement soles and heels available in the near future for repair/ replacement.)
Once the rubber was sorted out, we sat down with HH Brown and went over the original boots, making numerous small changes from their previous products. The leather color and thickness, stitch patterns, toe shape, and nail patterns all came directly from original examples. In 2002, I had been persuaded to purchase 10,000 pairs of original WWII nylon service shoe laces by a surplus dealer who was retiring. 14 years later, we found a good use for them.
Sizes: Our sizes are accurate as per US government specifications, and it is the same as the US military uses. Do not "order up" as the sizes were designed to allow for the wearing of cushion sole socks and feet to swell. These usually correspond well to most leather work and hiking boots. If you've spent your entire life in Skechers and shower shoes, or are unsure, it's best to visit a shoe store and have your feet measured on a Brannock device.
Laces: Our Service Shoes are made with genuine, 40" WWII production (August 1943) nylon laces. This is the size issued in all service shoes during the War. The shoe size has no effect on what length lace is needed- the eyelet run is the same length on all sizes. That said, a few people have wanted longer laces. We will have some longer, new production laces available later this year.