The Marine Corps is getting ready issue a solicitation for a full and open competition for both Temperate Weather and Hot Weather Rugged All Terrain Boots. Just a few years ago the Marines began their love affair with the retro look (and construction) of the RAT Boot. They’ve had a couple of contractors build the boots but haven’t been very happy with the product. Rather than look at the 19th century construction of the boots as the real culprit they decided to treat at least one vendor with disdain publicly and blame them. But, I’ve heard from more than one company building them that the boot’s design is the issue.
Originally innovated by Danner for the Marine Corps, the RAT is available in both Hot Weather and Temperate versions with the Temperate model incorporating a Gore-tex liner. It features a lace to toe system with a flex â€œVâ€ notch. It also features a heel and toe counter that helps resist abrasion. Overall, it’s a great looking boot. As you probably know, Marine Corps combat footwear is “Olive” (originally Olive Mojave) in color but it really resembles Coyote. Additionally, he heel is branded with the Eagle Globe and Anchor insignia. The boot has a couple of great features but the stitch down construction between the sole and upper remains troublesome.
The Marine Corps anticipates a maximum quantity of 325,000 Boots consisting of 162,500 pairs TW and 162,500 pairs HW. With shrinking demand for military footwear it will be interesting to see which companies are willing to dance with the devil on this one.
The actual solicitation hasn’t been released yet but you can read the per-solicitation here.