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Russet Shoes Russet Shoes
1904 Russet Service Shoes

The standard shoes worn by the American soldier was the 1904 Russet Service Shoes. They were characterized by the smooth leather upper, cap toes, and smooth leather sole. While they were ideal for garrison and light field duty the shoes lacked durability during service on the Mexican Border in 1916-1917 and they were not suitable for the trenches of France. The shoes were reserved for service in the rear where a spit shine appearance was mandated and tile and wood floors were hazardous for the use of hobnailed boots. The shoes here have a swiveling heel to aid in sharp marching on the drill field. Carl Panak Collection
Trench Boots Trench Boots
1918 Trench Boots

Doughboys in France needed durable footwear for the conditions they encountered in the trenches. Based upon boots used by the French Army, the United States Army developed the M1917 trench boot. The boots were made from roughout leather which had to be coated with dubbing for waterproofness. The leather soles were hobnailed for traction and resistance to wear. There were problems with the M1917 boot though, and an M1918 trench boot was field which featured a thicker sole and improved construction. For more information about footwear of the doughboys, check out this excellent article.

The boots here are the improved 1918 model with thicker sole. However these are a variation of the 1918 and they lack toe cleats. Carl Panak Collection

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