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80th Anniversary Edition of U.S.N. Field Shoes (N-1), developed for the Pacific Theater and first deployed in 1943. Made according to the original specifications, including period-appropriate marks and packaging.
Hand-Lasted 270° Goodyear Welt Construction. Horween® Chromexcel® Roughout Leather. Unstructured Toe. Dr. Sole 1122 Raw Cord Sole & Matching 1102w Raw Cord Heel with Brass Tacks, Double Rapid Stitch, and Natural Edge Stain. Barbour® Welt. Calfskin Vamp Lining. Contrast Stitching. Brown Enamel Brass Eyelets. Flat Waxed Cloth Laces.
Includes 1943-issue U.S.N. Dubbing, 1943-issue U.S.N. Laces, and Boot Bags Made in USA from Coyote Brown #10 Milspec Cotton Duck. Also includes 1943-issue U.S.N. Code Flag Card and no two pair of boots will include the same card.
Developed to embody the character of Chicago, the Elston last is engineered specifically for our line of Everyday Boots, providing exceptional all-day comfort for nearly all foot types with a generous toe box.
Inspired by the cork soles of the famous U.S.N. N-1 "Field Boot" used in WWII, the 1122 includes numerous improvements, including greater durability, shock absorption, and a reduction in weight. Perhaps the most notable improvement is its traction which comes courtesy of the pulverized hemp cord embedded into the nitrile rubber compound. Each sole is affixed to a thick layer of leather and paired with a matching Dr. Sole 1102w Raw Cord Heel.
Horween's Roughout is a version of its famous Chromexcel® with the rough side out. Similar to a rugged suede in texture, but with a firmer hand and color that deepens and develops a beautiful patina with wear.
By 1943, the U.S. Navy had become a far more versatile force, with shore parties, construction battalions, and amphibious units—roles that had historically been filled by Marines, Army Engineers, and so forth. Thus, the need arose for more robust general-purpose footwear. With time and resources in short supply, it was decided the Field Shoes adopted by the Marine Corps in 1941 (known colloquially as ‘Boondockers’) should be recommissioned as the primary field shoe for Navy personnel, which was then designated under Specification 72-S-2, and issued in 1943 as part of the Navy’s new N-1 uniform standard.
The Field Shoe was developed to withstand amphibious assaults, featuring then-new water-resistant ‘Marine Field Shoe’ leather developed by Horween. Many know this leather as “Natural Chromexcel Roughout” but Horween’s invoices say ‘Marine Field Shoe’ to this day. Rubber soles were another necessary novelty, but because rubber was in short supply, the specification called for “cork” soles that contained scraps of hemp cord.
Since its debut, the Navy’s Field Shoe would come to have a broad and lasting impact on the design and manufacture of boots of all sorts—including our very own Field Boot. To celebrate its 80th Anniversary, we are reissuing the U.S.N. Field Shoe (N-1), featuring Horween’s ‘Marine Field Shoe’ leather, of course, with an unstructured toe, just like the original. Dr. Sole’s 1122 Raw Cord sole & matching 1102w Raw Cord heel are not only inspired by those of the originals, but objectively superior. The sole is finished with the same number of brass tacks and same double rapid stitch as our 1943 reference specimen. We also made sure that all the marks and packaging are not only period-appropriate, but spot matches for some of the typographic standards used by defense contractors in 1943, but we didn’t stop there. Included with our U.S.N. Field Shoe (N-1) are three artifacts, issued to the Pacific fleet in 1943, but later recalled as surplus.
Of course, there is one notable difference between the original and our re-issue: Rather than being stamped-out by the million, each of our U.S.N. Field Shoes is hand-lasted and hand-finished.
Included: Dubbing (Mold-Prevention Type)
To maintain both their feet and their footwear, soldiers and sailors were expected to regularly dress their Field Shoes with dubbing, paying particular attention to stitching that may be less water-resistant than Horween leather, as well as heels and toes which are subjected to regular wear. Our U.S.N. Field Shoe includes a surplus can of Dubbing (Mold-Prevention Type), which was issued in 1943 alongside the original Field Shoes. While this dubbing may still be effective against water, it may affect the color and surface of leather in unpredictable ways and is thus included only as a collectable.
Included: Original Field Shoe Laces
The laces issued with the original Field Shoes were nylon, 40” long, and in various shades of reddish-brown, depending on the vendor. In 1943, a typical shoe size for a soldier or sailor would have been either 7 or 8, and since Field Shoes were expected to be laced very tightly, laces were much shorter than a civilian might expect today. Of course, nylon was a rationed commodity so the requirement to use only as much as was required cannot be overstated. In addition to longer, modern laces, our U.S.N. Field Shoe includes a pair of nylon laces issued with the original Field Shoes in 1943. While they are unlikely to be long enough for most, they are included as a collectable.
Included: Code Flag Card
Pilots, sailors, Marines, and just about anyone aboard a Navy vessel was expected to be familiar with Code Flags—raised either to broadcast a specific communication, such as “Doctor on Board,” or to represent an alphanumeric in Morse Code. A flash deck was created to aid in the memorization of Code Flags and, while not issued alongside the original Field Shoes, these cards represent one of the finer points of naval history that time might otherwise forget. Our U.S.N. Field Shoe includes one Code Flag flash card, chosen at random, from a 1943 Code Flag flash deck. No two pair will include the same card.
Signs of the Times
All marks on the product and packaging not only period appropriate, but inspired by some of the more notable contractors involved in U.S.N. Field Shoe production, including International Shoe Company and The Narrow Fabric Company (The latter, it must be said, had what must be the best of all possible trade names for a lacemaker). Since design and typographic standards were more utilitarian concerns in the war era, what visual consistency there was in the labeling and packaging of equipment produced by third parties was usually a result of there being a handful of widely used type families, particularly those designed by Morris Fuller Benton. In the development of our U.S.N. Field Shoes (N-1), we created a simple, utilitarian visual system based on a few design motifs used by contractors of the original boot, including the use of Benton’s Franklin Gothic and Schoolbook—in charmingly-inconsistent widths and weights.