Make yourself some Jungle Shoes

fly9

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

jbppt98

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

jboot1

Some more pics

jboot2

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

jboot3

jboot5

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

jboot6

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

jboot4

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 ConverseΒ  & 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 πŸ™‚Β  (from far away πŸ˜‰ )

Here is how I did it:

fly11

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

fly2

I cut away the logo on the back as well

fly10

Next I carefully painted the eyelets

fly3

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 warfareΒ  πŸ˜‰

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.

fly4

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:

fly5

After

fly7

Completed! πŸ˜€

fly8

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.

20 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: http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/yamamotojp/item/10016278 (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: http://www.ljmilitaria.com/geargeneral/footgear.htm (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: http://www.pfflyers.com/PM16GH3.html

  11. found another version (a bit too much $ for me, though): http://www.pfflyers.com/pd/grounder/todd-snyder-grounder/PM16GH3.html?dwvar_PM16GH3_color=Pike#color=Pike

  12. oops! already posted that one! πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: