Boots Boondocker: Meet the Military Boot of the American Navy in the War

The N1 Boot was the boot official of the United States navy during the Second World War. This model is also known as the boot Boondocker. Its shape is so iconic it forms the basis for many boots in the present day. That is, which was a footwear military, became an excellent option for casual!

Boots Boondocker Meet the Military Boot of the American Navy in the War

It is extremely rare to find an original pair, but there are brands making faithful reproductions and others that have launched versions of very good taste.

The following, I’m going to tell you a little bit about the history of the Boondockers, and share the most important details and a few tips of where you can buy a boot in this style.

The number N1 of uniforms of the United States navy

In 1943, the US Navy has developed a new and improved line of uniforms. All items received a naming alpha numeric inside of the series N-1, N-2 or N-3. The new equipment included jackets winter lined with wool, and protective suits for the rain, and garments for the hot weather.

The cuts were quite spacious, allowing the clothes to be superimposed, creating barriers against the cold, wind and water without restricting freedom of movement.

The new colors were specifically chosen to better camouflage the forces in combat zones. Instead of blue, black, white and grey are used in the equipment earlier, the news would be khaki, olive or light green.

Were developed the standards of the uniform formed by the various N items for board services and to work in tropical, temperate, cold and arctic.

The navy has decided to adopt the boot field of the Marine Corps for all of their ground forces. No modification has been made on the boot and it was included in the list of items assigned to the nomenclature N-1.

The boot N1 navy – Affectionately nicknamed the Boondockers

The N1 Boot was the boot official of the United States navy during the Second World War. The boot is also known as Boondocker, nickname given by the soldiers in the theaters of operation, fought in the Pacific. The U.S. occupied the Philippines at the end of the century XIX. THE boondock means place incivilizados with vegetation and natural terrain. Boondockers are the explorers of the mountains, jungles, and any other remote place.

The shape is so iconic it forms the basis for many boots in the present day. It has been built with style derby, cgold cow full grain inverted (roughout) and rubber outsole recycled and / or reused in an effort of conservation of materials. It is extremely rare to find an original pair, but some brands make faithful reproductions and other manufacture versions of very good taste.

This boot should not be confused with the boot M-43 Type III, the sidewalk by Steve McQueen in The film The Great Escape. Although the two are similar, only the navy has rubber outsole with rope. The army also has adopted rubber soles in 1943, but the composition was pure rubber, passed for recycled and then to synthetic. It is interesting that at the beginning of the boot of the army kept the toe cap is traditional and had points reinforced with rivets. In mid-1944 these details have disappeared, and the boot was very similar to that of the navy.

The outsole special: rope and rubber to save

The conservation of raw material was very important. Each resource was invaluable to a great war, with no forecast of the end. The entire economy of the United States was awarded the orders of conservation and have had to adjust their products. Levis, for example, removed the rivets and some metal buttons from your jeans 501 and passed to paint the arch in the pocket instead of sewing.

The soles of the boot boondocker were made of recycled rubber. To save even more, this rubber has been infused with the rope ground, helping to extend the use of the supply of rubber.

When the sole and the heel are viewed from the side, the ends of the fibers are visible and create the famous rubber speckled-associated with the shoes field, the Navy and Marine Corps.

The leather inside out: The great difference between roughout and suede

The military boots were made of rougout, and not suede. The appearance is similar but the difference is huge.

The main rough out used in the Second War was provided by the Horween Leather, which currently provides for the best brands of boot, such as the Viberg and Oakstreet Bootmakers. The leather inside is much more durable than the suede.

You see, I’m not talking about stain resistant, the main concern of those who do not understand that the boot is made to use and get dirty. This resistance difference is because one is a leather full slash and the other is a layer peeled.

On the rough out side hairy, which is more difficult to cut and scratch passes to the outside. The softer side, frail, and resistant to water gets inside. The side hairy also drink best treatment waterproofing the base oils and that each soldier was responsible for enforcing.

As to the suede, it is a layer peeled from the skin full, parted in the middle in its thickness. The side hairy leather is also out but as half of the skin is used for another thing, the suede does not have the same resistance to water.

Where to buy boots navy style Boondocker N1 today

As I said, it is rare to find a boot that original, but you can find reproductions and versions on the market.

Many brands make boots based on this classic design, and some reproduce faithfully the form and even the outsole with rope.

Remembering that the main characteristics of this type of boot are: construction goodyear welt, leather roughout natural color, the beak smooth, flattened, without lining, simple design with no embellishments and rubber soles.

During the Second world War the factories in the United States received the same message: help the armed forces. They came back all production to the military effort. The boots originals were manufactured by several companies, following approximately the same specifications.

The list below has reproductions and also models with small variations on the theme. No matter what your budget, there is a boot inspired by the boondocker for you.

Feel free to add other brands in the comments, but please note that I did not choose any boot with great variations on the theme such as chukkas, leather soles,, soles, tratoradas, cap toe, etc.

The list

I have put together the boots in the two groups.

  • The first has reproductions, some more faithful than the other (and multiple levels of quality).
  • The second one has boots using some details from the original, but adds interpretations of his own.


  • WWII Impression: There are some shops specialized in military uniforms that make reproductions of the Boot N1. Among them, the most faithful, which has outsole with rope and in the same format as “pointy” is a WWII impression;
  • At The Frontalso has an excellent version;
  • Other websites that reproduce are the SMWholesaleand the Sessen Antique;
  • The Buzz Ricksonhas a version of the M-43, which as I said, it is very similar


The RLM always have a version, made with leather from Horween.

  • The Real McCoyshas its own version of price tag. I quite like it that way.
  • Ralph Lauren, $294, appears very true to the original, includes the rivet, limited supply the of this writing.
  • Has two models of the Redwing that fit in the tender, the Merchant Olive Mohaveand the Blacksmith Hawthorne
  • The Viberg also has two models, the Boondocker, and the Service Boot
  • The Oakstreet Bootmaker has its Marine Field Shoe.
  • You can customize a boot from Wolverineor White’s
  • LL Bean has one that in fact is the M-43 with rivet, but the price is cool
  • SeaVees, very affordable and an outsole which edge the timing but it goes on
  • Chippewa, and its classic service boot.
  • The Sagarahas a boot that can be ordered by e-mail.

Enjoyed learning about this boot?

Register your e-mail address to receive more tips and stories about the boots classic