Soldiers will soon have different types of combat boots to choose from to suit their specific operational needs.
On 30 Dec, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will be introducing three new combat boots - two variants of Army Combat Boots (ACB) for the majority of Regulars and national servicemen, and the Enhanced Combat Boots (ECB) for soldiers in selected manoeuvre units.
This is part of the SAF's continual efforts to improve and renew the Personal Equipment of servicemen and women. These new boots are the latest in a series of Personal Equipment upgrades which began in March 2015.
Earlier, two new physical training (PT) shoes were also rolled out. The Adidas Duramo is suited for neutral to high-arch foot types while the New Balance NB 565 is suited for neutral to low-arch foot types. It will replace the existing Zoot model.
"The SAF continuously renews our Personal Equipment, so that we better meet the operational requirements and enhance the combat effectiveness of our soldiers. We do this on a regular basis," said Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Elizabeth Soh, Head System Development Branch in HQ Supply.
"We strive to enable our soldiers to sustain longer in harsh conditions and increase their performance through comfort in ergonomics. The key outcome is to enhance combat effectiveness and physical performance."
Made by US company Altama and South American company Wellco Peruana, the two ACBs are designed for use in jungle terrain. Both utilise Direct Moulded Soles construction, which enhances the durability of the boots. Panama thread patterns improve traction for movements in jungle terrain.
The ECB is produced by US company Magnum and is suited for both jungle and urban terrains. Its durability is also enhanced by a fully-stitched cupsole, while the Vibram jungle outsole allows for good traction. These boots will be issued to soldiers from the infantry, commandos, guards and armoured infantry from January 2017.
All three boots have enforced sole inserts, which make them puncture-resistant and help to protect soldiers from sharp objects on the ground.
The boots are used by the United States (US) and British armies, and were selected based on their positive track record among users.
They will replace the current Frontier boots, which have been in use in the SAF since 2012.
More choices for recruits
Come May 2017, new recruits will be issued with a pair of Altama and Wellco Peruana boots each on enlistment day.
On the benefits of the two-brand mode of equipping, LTC Soh noted that this would provide supply-chain resilience and guarantee the supply of ACBs, which are an intake equipping item.
She added: " Personal Equipment can be quite subjective, especially for footwear. The idea is that the recruits will be issued one pair of each brand. They can wear them for training. After that, if they find they prefer one brand, they can replace their boots with their preferred brand."
Full-time national serviceman (NSF) Lieutenant (LTA) Sharan Thangavel, was one soldier who appreciated having a choice in training footwear. The Altama boot was his preferred choice as it suited his broad feet.
"The Altama's sole is wide (and) I used it the most during overseas training, such as for 10km long walks. When you're moving such long distances, I think comfort, as well as the weight of the boots, is very important. It's durable through the different terrain challenges," he said.
The Platoon Instructor at Officer Cadet School (OCS) had tried all three boot options for about two months and used them during an overseas training stint in late November. He also liked that the Magnum was lightweight (700g) and had good traction, which made it ideal for navigating the urban environment.
Fellow OCS Platoon Instructor 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Tan Hean Shuen, who had also tried out the boots for the two-month period, felt that both the Altama and Wellco Peruana provided good lower shin cushioning, which improved comfort for long-distance walking.
Like LTA Sharan, he found the Magnum lighter and more suited for everyday use: "The sole feels thicker, especially on the heel area, which is good for marching on tarmac floors. It's good for long distances."
Both agreed that the new boots were an improvement to their existing Personal Equipment.
"I was from NCC (National Cadet Corps) and I was issued the full leather boots. I could feel the difference between the leather boots and the Frontier boots I was issued in Basic Military Training, to these three new boots," said 2LT Tan.
"I can see the progression, and it's definitely for the better."
All three boots will be available from 30 Dec. The Altama and Wellco Peruana boots can be purchased with eMart credits at the following eMart outlets:
The Magnum boots are cash items and are currently only available at SAFRA Mount Faber and The Chevrons eMart outlets.
Weight: 900g (ACB) or 700g (ECB)