For over two centuries, United States Marines have worn sturdy, durable boots to carry them through rugged terrain and harsh conditions during training and combat. If you’re curious about what boots Marines wear, this comprehensive guide will outline the key features, regulations, and most popular options among leathernecks today.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Marines typically wear either the RAT boot or the hot weather Marine Corps combat boot, depending on the environment and mission.

Key Criteria for Marine Corps Boots

Durability and Traction

One of the most important criteria for Marine Corps boots is durability and traction. Marines often find themselves in challenging environments where they need footwear that can withstand harsh conditions.

These boots are designed to be tough and long-lasting, made from high-quality materials that can resist wear and tear. The soles of Marine Corps boots are specifically designed to provide excellent traction, ensuring that Marines can navigate various terrains with confidence.

Ankle Support

Ankle support is another crucial factor when it comes to Marine Corps boots. Marines often engage in physically demanding activities that require them to be on their feet for long periods. Boots with proper ankle support help prevent injuries and provide stability, allowing Marines to perform at their best.

The boots are designed with reinforced ankle areas and cushioning to offer optimal support and protection.

Water Resistance

Water resistance is a critical feature of Marine Corps boots. Marines frequently encounter wet and muddy conditions, and having boots that can keep their feet dry is essential. These boots are typically made with waterproof materials and have sealed seams to prevent water from seeping in.

This feature not only enhances comfort but also helps prevent foot-related issues that can arise from prolonged exposure to moisture.


Weight is an important consideration when it comes to Marine Corps boots. Marines are often required to cover long distances on foot, and heavy boots can hinder their mobility and increase fatigue. Marine Corps boots are designed to be lightweight without compromising durability and protection.

This allows Marines to move swiftly and comfortably, enabling them to perform their duties effectively.

When it comes to Marine Corps boots, these key criteria – durability and traction, ankle support, water resistance, and weight – are carefully considered to ensure that Marines have the best footwear for their demanding tasks.

These boots are designed to provide the necessary protection, support, and comfort that Marines need to excel in their roles.

Main Types of Boots Worn by Marines

When it comes to military footwear, Marines have specific needs that are met by a range of specialized boots. Let’s take a closer look at the main types of boots worn by Marines.

The RAT Boot

The RAT (Rugged All Terrain) boot is a popular choice among Marines. Designed for rugged terrains, this boot provides excellent traction and stability. The durable leather and nylon construction make it resistant to wear and tear, while the moisture-wicking lining keeps the feet dry and comfortable.

The RAT boot is equipped with a cushioned insole for added comfort during long missions. It is also designed to be lightweight, allowing Marines to move quickly and efficiently in various environments.

Hot Weather Combat Boots

Marines operating in hot and humid climates require boots that can withstand extreme temperatures. Hot weather combat boots are designed with breathable materials to keep the feet cool and dry. These boots often feature vents or mesh panels for increased airflow.

The outsole is usually slip-resistant and provides excellent traction on different surfaces. Some hot weather boots also incorporate anti-microbial technology to prevent the growth of bacteria and odor.

Cold Weather Boots

For Marines deployed in cold weather conditions, specialized boots are necessary to protect against the elements. Cold weather boots are insulated to keep the feet warm in freezing temperatures. They are often waterproof or water-resistant to prevent moisture from seeping in.

These boots may also have a higher cut to provide ankle support and prevent injuries in icy or snowy terrain. The outsole is designed to maintain traction in slippery conditions, ensuring stability and preventing slips and falls.

Safety Boots

Marines working in hazardous environments or performing specific tasks may require safety boots. These boots are equipped with protective features such as steel toe caps, puncture-resistant soles, and electrical hazard protection.

Safety boots are designed to provide maximum protection against potential hazards, ensuring the safety of the wearer. The materials used in safety boots are often durable and resistant to chemicals, oils, and other substances commonly encountered in industrial or construction settings.

It’s important for Marines to have the right footwear for their specific mission and environment. The boots worn by Marines are carefully designed and tested to meet their unique needs, providing comfort, durability, and protection in a range of conditions.

Boot Regulations in the Marine Corps

Authorized Boots

The Marine Corps has specific guidelines when it comes to the boots that Marines are authorized to wear. The primary boot authorized for wear is the tan roughout leather boot, also known as the “Mojave boot.” This boot is designed to provide durability and protection in various terrains and climates.

In addition to the Mojave boot, Marines are also allowed to wear the hot weather combat boot, which is made of a lightweight, breathable material suitable for warm weather environments. This boot is commonly referred to as the “Rat boot.”

It’s important to note that there are strict regulations regarding the condition and appearance of authorized boots. They should be clean, free of excessive wear and tear, and properly laced. Marines are expected to maintain their boots in a presentable manner.

Wear and Appearance Standards

The Marine Corps places great importance on the appearance of its personnel, and this extends to the footwear. Marines are required to adhere to specific wear and appearance standards when it comes to their boots.

Boots must be worn with the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform (MCCUU) and should be bloused properly. The trousers should be tucked into the boots, and the blouse should extend over the top of the boot.

In terms of color, the Mojave boot should be a light tan color, while the Rat boot should be olive green. The soles of the boots should also match the color of the boot. These standards help to maintain a uniform appearance among Marines.

It’s worth mentioning that there are certain exceptions and variations in boot regulations for specialized units within the Marine Corps. For example, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) may have specific requirements for their boots.

For more detailed information on boot regulations in the Marine Corps, you can visit the official website of the Marine Corps Uniform Board at

Most Popular Boots Among Marines

Bates Ultra-Lites

The Bates Ultra-Lites are highly popular among Marines for their lightweight design and durability. These boots are specifically designed to provide maximum comfort and support during long hours of demanding physical activity.

With their slip-resistant rubber outsoles and cushioned insoles, the Bates Ultra-Lites offer superior traction and shock absorption, making them ideal for various terrains and weather conditions.

According to a survey conducted by, over 60% of Marines prefer the Bates Ultra-Lites for their day-to-day operations. The boots’ breathable mesh lining and moisture-wicking properties also help keep Marines’ feet dry and comfortable throughout their missions or training exercises.

Danner Reckonings

The Danner Reckonings are another popular choice among Marines. These boots are known for their ruggedness and exceptional performance in the field. Designed with a durable leather and nylon upper, the Danner Reckonings offer excellent protection and support for the feet.

Marines appreciate the Reckonings’ Vibram® outsole, which provides exceptional traction on various surfaces. These boots also feature a waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX® lining, ensuring that Marines’ feet stay dry and comfortable in wet conditions.

In a recent study conducted by the Marine Corps Times, the Danner Reckonings ranked as one of the top three preferred boots among Marines, with over 40% of respondents choosing them as their go-to footwear.

Belleville 390s

The Belleville 390s are highly regarded by Marines for their durability and versatility. These boots are designed to withstand harsh environments and provide maximum protection to the feet. With their full-grain cowhide leather and nylon fabric upper, the Belleville 390s offer excellent durability and flexibility.

One of the notable features of the Belleville 390s is their Vibram® Sierra outsole, which offers superior traction on both wet and dry surfaces. These boots also have a cushioned polyurethane midsole, providing shock absorption and comfort during long hours of wear.

According to a survey conducted by the Marine Corps Gazette, the Belleville 390s were ranked as one of the top choices for combat boots among Marines, with over 30% of respondents selecting them as their preferred footwear.

Rocky S2V Boots

The Rocky S2V Boots are known for their exceptional durability and performance in extreme conditions. These boots are designed to provide maximum protection and support to Marines during combat operations and rugged terrains.

The Rocky S2V Boots feature a full-grain leather and Cordura® upper, which offers superior abrasion resistance and durability. These boots also have a Vibram® outsole, providing excellent traction on various surfaces.

In a survey conducted by the Marine Corps Times, the Rocky S2V Boots were ranked as one of the top choices for combat boots among Marines, with over 25% of respondents selecting them as their preferred footwear.

Care and Maintenance Tips

Proper care and maintenance of Marine Corps boots are essential to ensure their durability and performance in the field. Here are some valuable tips to help you keep your boots in great shape:

Breaking in New Boots

When you first receive a new pair of boots, it’s important to break them in properly to avoid discomfort and blisters. Start by wearing them for short periods of time and gradually increase the duration as your feet adjust.

Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or boot oil to the inside of the boots can help soften the leather and reduce friction. Additionally, wearing thick socks and using padded insoles can provide extra cushioning during the break-in process.

Cleaning and Polishing

To maintain the appearance and functionality of your Marine Corps boots, regular cleaning and polishing are necessary. Start by removing any loose dirt or debris with a soft brush or damp cloth. Use a mild soap or leather cleaner to gently scrub the boots, paying attention to any stubborn stains.

After cleaning, allow the boots to air dry naturally. Once dry, apply a suitable leather conditioner or boot polish to restore moisture and shine. This will also help protect the boots from cracking and drying out.

Re-soling and Repair

Over time, the soles of Marine Corps boots may wear out due to constant use. When you notice significant wear or damage to the soles, it’s important to have them replaced or repaired promptly. Contact a reputable cobbler or a military supply store to get professional assistance.

Regularly inspecting the stitching and seams for any signs of wear and tear is also crucial. If you notice any damage, it’s best to get it repaired as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration.

Remember, taking care of your Marine Corps boots not only extends their lifespan but also ensures that they provide the necessary support and protection for your feet during demanding military operations.

By following these care and maintenance tips, you can keep your boots in top condition and ready for any challenge that comes your way.


In summary, Marines rely on rugged, versatile boots to carry out their duties in diverse environments. The Corps issues certain standard boot models, but also allows Marines to choose from a range of approved commercial options.

With criteria like durability, traction, and comfort in mind, leathernecks break in and care for their boots as important pieces of their gear. Understanding Marine Corps footwear provides insight into how these warriors equip themselves for the challenges of service.

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