Make yourself some Jungle Shoes


There is a bit of confusion going on with the various models of “Jungle footwear”, there are the high “Jungle Boots” (originally developed for the Army), the hi-top “Jungle Shoes” aka “Jungle Sneakers” (which might simply have been athletic shoes used in the field). Add swim shoes (aka “Coral creepers”) to the mix and it gets chaotic, especially since veteran accounts are mostly not detailed enough when it comes to the exact model worn.

Legend has it that the inspiration to use such kind of shoes in combat came from encountering Japanese soldiers wearing “Tabi boots”. Traditional split-toe work boots with rubber soles and cotton top, they are still sometimes used today. Check out the soldier on the left, he wear Tabi boots


Jungle Boots. Check out the laces, two separate sets! The upper one could be left loose if desired to increase cooling.


Some more pics


The guy in the middle has a scoped Springfield, they are probably Scout Snipers



Raiders & rubber boats. Could be “jungle” shoes, quality is not good enough unfortunately


Apparently the shoes were still used in the 1950s, check out this close up, USMC Scout in Korea:


I always fancied some for raider & scout sniper reenacting, unfortunately I know of no one who makes repros of these. Originals are now too fragile for heavy use ( + I would not want to ruin originals). I ended up making me some lookalikes. Went for the hi-top “Jungle Shoe” because I could use some easily available sneakers.

The original Jungle Shoes were made by several manufacturers and could vary a bit in appearance. Chucks & PF Flyers seem to come closest (Interestingly Converseย  & B.F. Goodrich (PF Flyers) were among the companies manufacturing Jungle Boots during WW2). I ended up buying “PF Flyers Center Hi” sneakers and modded them a bit. Certainly not perfect but after getting them a bit dirty they look the part ๐Ÿ™‚ย  (from far away ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Here is how I did it:


First I removed the rubber logo, unfortunately there is some kind of glue underneath which is a total pain to remove


I cut away the logo on the back as well


Next I carefully painted the eyelets


On to the soles, thin layers of paint seem to work best. Paint will still come of at times but not as bad as when the paint is too thick. I guess some repainting will be necessary after heavy use. But then again I’m not sure how long they will last in jungle warfareย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

I then used a black marker to get a metallic sheen on the eyelets and replaced the laces that came with the shoes with tan ones.


The soles ended up looking a bit to flat. To get a bit of sheen and structure on the soles I used lacquer spray. A trick I remember from my Grandfather who used hairspray to seal his paintings. Before:




Completed! ๐Ÿ˜€


If I remember correctly there was a special edition Chuck Taylor a few years back which looked like a Jungle shoe but I could not find it anymore. Same for PF Flyers which had been available in Green with a black sole. Those seem so be sold out too. Happy hunting!

~ by m1pencil on May 21, 2015.

25 Responses to “Make yourself some Jungle Shoes”

  1. Is the ventilation hole supposed to be painted aswell?

  2. Really interesting stuff

  3. this answers a question i’ve had for a while! in robert leckies book ‘helmet for my pillow’ he mentions on peleliu a guy was blown clearly out of his jungle boots.i always wondered what he meant.

  4. Haha I’m a great lover of flyers, so cool to see then being used for this

  5. Very nice! The closest repros to the originals I have found so far are these: (but they are too small for me unfortunately)

  6. (whoops! the link I posted takes you to their general site; scroll through the “shoes” section and you’ll see the boots I mean)

  7. Yes, the “1945 coral shoes”…and some originals can be found here: (scroll just past halfway down). They’re very cool looking but since they are originals…the ones you made are way more functional! Thanks again

    • My understanding is that the “Jungle Shoes / Jungle Sneakers / Athletic Shoes” and “Swim Shoes / Coral Creepers” are not the same. There is a lot of confusion going on (similar looking, quite a few manufacturers, veteran accounts misleading/ not detailed enough)… but a really cool find nonetheless!! I will report back once I receive my order.

  8. Very interesting…I have had a pair of the Navy UDT coral/swim shoes from the 1960s but that was awhile ago. I found a few other Rakuten dealers that sell the “1945 ARMY coral shoes.” And BTW, another “repro” of a shoe that is often called the “Marine Raider” is the Converse Bosley; it was a limited edition a few years back so is generally unavailable now. But it does look cool.

  9. FYI: Got my green “1945 Army coral shoes” in the mail, with shipping they were about $50-55. They look really nice and fit well (I wear a 10 or 10.5 US, sometimes in wide, and their 10W fits perfect). Don’t know if they’ll last long as they feel a bit flimsy but they are similar in that aspect to originals. I got them through the Seabees company and they were good with communication and they shipped fast.

  10. These just came out:

  11. found another version (a bit too much $ for me, though):

  12. oops! already posted that one! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Yo9u can customize these to get them real close and then remove the rubber logo when it shows up.

    Would you use these m1pencil? Or is it better to look for PF flyers?

    • I think a few manufacturers have released “Jungle Shoe” style sneakers since I made this post. “The Real McCoy’s” (pricy!) for example, from what I heard “ELMC” will release some as well. It might be worth checking around

  14. Hi-I don’t do impressions but I had a pair of the converse made up like in the link (it might be the pair I had made-I remember the picture showed the soles the tan/rubber color when I ordered but they arrived with black soles) I know you had some problems with the glue on the logo on the PF Flyers and clear rubber was an option for the logos on the converse so figured ‘what the heck’. I figured right-they were only sewn on and not glued. I changed the laces out to khaki when I got them-the brown was the closest option they offered.

  15. Got myself a mint pair with extra laces and fabric insoles!

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