Military seeks combat boots of higher quality
By Jung Sung-ki
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) plans to open bidding for supplying the military with higher quality combat boots, the agency announced Monday in a news release.
Previously, only 11 shoemakers designated by the government were allowed to supply the military with combat boots. The designation was intended to help facilitate the manufacturing of combat boots in the case of a military emergency.
This kind of exclusivity with the private contracts has lowered the quality of combat boots, as the designated suppliers didn’t make proper efforts to improve the quality of the footwear for soldiers, the agency said.
In August, the Ministry of National Defense launched an inspection of the quality of combat boots currently in use, following complaints that the heels of the boots easily separated.
According to the results, a total of 5,201 boots supplied by five of the 11 designated makers were found to be defective in some way.
“To solve the problems with private contracts, the DAPA will allow other competitive shoemakers to participate in the bidding to supply combat boots to the military,” a DAPA official said.
The agency will conduct a preliminary probation of the products of the candidates before opening the bidding, he said.
The DAPA held a briefing session Monday on the new bidding rules.
“The change in the way of procuring combat boots will help improve quality, and we expect it will also help improve the combat readiness of our military,” the official said.
Modern combat boots are designed to provide a combination of grip, ankle stability, and foot protection suitable to a rugged environment.
They are traditionally made of hardened and sometimes waterproofed leather. Today, many combat boots incorporate many technologies originating from civilian hiking boots, such as Gore-Tex nylon side panels, which improve ventilation and comfort.
They are also often specialized for certain climates and conditions, such as jungle boots, desert boots, and cold weather boots as well as for specific uses, such as tanker boots and jump boots.