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US Navy service shoes


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#1 etienne

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 08:49 AM

Hello,

I found those very nice USN shoes last week and would like to have your opinion : I think those are garrison or dress shoes rather than work shoes, but do you think they could have been used on ships ?

They are lined with light canvas, and the leather is very supple. The NXS contract number is rather low and is dated of May 27, 1942.

Here are the pics :

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#2 Sabrejet

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:47 AM

I have the low quarter version. I think both mine and yours would be rather slippery on a wet deck!

shoes1.jpg shoes3.jpg

#3 Sabrejet

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:47 AM

shoes_2.jpg

#4 etienne

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:38 AM

I have the low quarter version.


It seems like they came after the high ankle version ... they were probably less expensive, needed less leather and were easier to manufacture :think:

I think both mine and yours would be rather slippery on a wet deck!


Perhaps but the low quarter shoes were standard issue during ww2 :crying:

Edited by etienne, 04 October 2012 - 10:39 AM.


#5 29navy

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:45 PM

They were both standard issue shoes. You were supposed to be issued two pairs of shoes, one high top, one low. The high tops were the ones that were supposed to be worn with the leggings. Of course you could wear them any time. However, I never met a vet that remembers getting the high top pair.

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#6 sigsaye

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:27 PM

They were both standard issue shoes. You were supposed to be issued two pairs of shoes, one high top, one low. The high tops were the ones that were supposed to be worn with the leggings. Of course you could wear them any time. However, I never met a vet that remembers getting the high top pair.

Charlie

The high top oner were what Sailors revered to as "Boon Dockers". I know that for every one else, that was the name or the brown shigh top shoes that every one wants to wear or put in their desplays. These were not liked and wore out quickly when they were issued and tossed as they were not liked. My father had a paint slattered pair that he said he only wore for painting. Any way, they were not an alternative to the low quarter dress shoe, but rather the Navys work shoe. Obviousley, any other services Boon Dockers were prefered and worn. Again, Dad had a pair he auaried from the Marines and used black shoe polish on them to eventually turn them black (he hated brown shoes).

Steve Hesson

#7 etienne

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 11:41 PM

Thanks guys for your educated advices ... why were those high top shoes disliked ? They seem to be well made, supple and comfy, perhaps to fragile and not adapted to hard work on ships decks ?

Anyhow, I'm pretty happy to have found those early contract shoes, I have a pair of low quarters in sight (I'm waiting for the seller to lower its price !) ... and I'll just have to find a USN contracted roughout pair.

#8 etienne

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 07:01 AM

I took a look to the photos I have picked up recently, and here is two examples of high tops shoes worn on ships ... year 1942 ;)

The guys on the second pic are probably newly arrived on board ... that could explain the hight tops :think:

Attached Images

  • AnkleBoots1942.jpeg
  • AnkleBoots1942b.jpeg

Edited by etienne, 05 October 2012 - 07:02 AM.


#9 sigsaye

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 03:29 PM

Thanks guys for your educated advices ... why were those high top shoes disliked ? They seem to be well made, supple and comfy, perhaps to fragile and not adapted to hard work on ships decks ?

Anyhow, I'm pretty happy to have found those early contract shoes, I have a pair of low quarters in sight (I'm waiting for the seller to lower its price !) ... and I'll just have to find a USN contracted roughout pair.

My Father disliked them because they were too restricting for his ankles. He never liked high top anything. And, it was a generational fashion thing for him. He wore them in Boot Camp, so they were for recruits, Salty Old Sea Dogs didn't wear them. We used to purposely fade new dungarees to look "Saltier", so it happens. They actually held up well on wood decks, but steel decks with non skid ate them up. The service shoes I was issued had leather soles and I wore them on my first destroyer as my boon dockers had worn out. The leather soles lasted about three months and the non skid surface of the deck paint (also used to an extent in WW 2) just ate through them. The rubber soles of the boon dockers not only gave better traction on the steel decks, but held up longer. My father was a Snipe (propulsion Engineer) who worked on steel deck tread in the pits. Rubber soled boon dockers just worked better.

Steve Hesson

#10 etienne

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 11:38 PM

My Father disliked them because they were too restricting for his ankles. He never liked high top anything. And, it was a generational fashion thing for him. He wore them in Boot Camp, so they were for recruits, Salty Old Sea Dogs didn't wear them. We used to purposely fade new dungarees to look "Saltier", so it happens. They actually held up well on wood decks, but steel decks with non skid ate them up. The service shoes I was issued had leather soles and I wore them on my first destroyer as my boon dockers had worn out. The leather soles lasted about three months and the non skid surface of the deck paint (also used to an extent in WW 2) just ate through them. The rubber soles of the boon dockers not only gave better traction on the steel decks, but held up longer. My father was a Snipe (propulsion Engineer) who worked on steel deck tread in the pits. Rubber soled boon dockers just worked better.

Steve Hesson


Thanks Steve, you're an encyclopedia about the US Navy :thumbsup:

I guess this way to age items, to try to look like old salts is known in every army and navy around the wolrd :rolleyes: ;) ... I did it too :unsure:

#11 RustyCanteen

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 03:54 PM

Steve is correct, these boots are usually referred to as "boondockers". They were the working shoe, but were not very popular, as can be seen they were less preferred by sailors who often wore the low top shoes for normal use.

These boots did come with a rubber sole late in WWII, which was continued into their postwar manufacture. Actually as Steve says these were mostly worn in bootcamp because you had to, and most photos show this but once into the fleet they stayed in the bottom of the duffle bag. Postwar production incorporated the use of aluminum eyelets for the laces in addition to the rubber sole mentioned above.

You have a very nice pair of boots!

#12 etienne

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:40 AM

Steve is correct, these boots are usually referred to as "boondockers". They were the working shoe, but were not very popular, as can be seen they were less preferred by sailors who often wore the low top shoes for normal use.


That is completely confirmed by the analysis of period photos ... I only saw a few ankle boots and most are rubber soled roughout boondockers, save the previous ones.

#13 67Rally

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 05:00 AM

Postwar production incorporated the use of aluminum eyelets for the laces in addition to the rubber sole mentioned above.


Into the early '80s (when I went in), we still HATED boondockers (or "chucka boots" as the nomenclature on the tags described them). The high-top shoes were never high enough to benefit the wearer. It seemed that the leather at the top found a way to cut into the ankle area, making them uncomfortable.

We were told by our company commanders that the navy issued these shoes as they were boot-like (they had steel-toes and shanks) for performance and protection and shoe-like so they could be removed if the sailor fell overboard.

We all went to the uniform shop or out in town to find a nice pair of jungle boots (all black) that were lightweight and pliable. The deck apes and snipes would find similar versions with the steel toes - if they had chiefs who were sticklers for the "protection" (rather dubious as the steel could cut the toes off).

#14 RustyCanteen

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 05:06 AM

Into the early '80s (when I went in), we still HATED boondockers (or "chucka boots" as the nomenclature on the tags described them). The high-top shoes were never high enough to benefit the wearer. It seemed that the leather at the top found a way to cut into the ankle area, making them uncomfortable.

We were told by our company commanders that the navy issued these shoes as they were boot-like (they had steel-toes and shanks) for performance and protection and shoe-like so they could be removed if the sailor fell overboard.

We all went to the uniform shop or out in town to find a nice pair of jungle boots (all black) that were lightweight and pliable. The deck apes and snipes would find similar versions with the steel toes - if they had chiefs who were sticklers for the "protection" (rather dubious as the steel could cut the toes off).



I suspect you have summed up the feelings of many regarding the boot and it's postwar versions, it is funny that now for someone collecting you really need a pair, but to someone just discharged it was a work boot and in some cases didn't even make it that far before hitting the curb with the trash.

I have never heard of anyone with a fond memory of them.

RC


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