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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacques View Post
    But the black shoe polish/wax that was used may have provided some water proofing (possibly meaning more frequent use), not every soldier might have had two pairs of boots (black for parade and unpolished for work parties and combat), and the highland regiments did switch from from the longer putties to the short ones during the war. That is, if the information i discovered online is correct.
    Then again, maybe the soldiers in the trenches were more concerned about clean weapons, ammunition, clean water, rations and could have cared less about the condition of their boots. Seems like there are so many possible answers for such a simple question.
    I was having this conversation a few months ago with some very knowledgeable people as I was trying to decide on some ammo boots. While traditional finished leather, sealed at the seams with melted wax and polished all over the surface with wax, will provide plenty of waterproofing, the brown rough-out leather boots were also treated by soldiers to have equal protection. It involved brushing in "shoe grease" to the leather tops, over and over again, whilst breaking them in. The end result was likely a softer and more pliable boot with the leather empregnated with grease. Scuffs and scrapes would not be as much of a concern with this method as a boot that's only treated on the outer surface with wax. In a wartime environment, nobody is going to keep trying to repair lost wax protection on a topcoat when the boot gets gouged.

    Of course, the regiments eventually did away with puttees altogether, as they were mostly useless for keeping water out of one's boots once they get saturated.

    At any rate, I still haven't worn my ammo boots enough to break them in. Mine are more modern era parade boots with a high polish and super-chunky soles. I wear them with the later ankle puttees (shorter than WWI versions) and plain khaki hose tops. I'm told these boots will become really comfortable at some point, but I haven't found it yet! The hobnailed soled are not conducive to everyday wear.


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  3. #12
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    This discussion on the Great War Forum may be of interest: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/100959-boots-boots-boots/

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  5. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Scott View Post
    This discussion on the Great War Forum may be of interest: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/100959-boots-boots-boots/
    Thanks again Bruce. i've been on The Great War Forum but haven't come across this yet.

    Jacques
    "I know of no inspiration to be got from trousers."
    Lt. Col. Norman MacLeod, QOCH, c. 1924

  6. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    I was having this conversation a few months ago with some very knowledgeable people as I was trying to decide on some ammo boots. While traditional finished leather, sealed at the seams with melted wax and polished all over the surface with wax, will provide plenty of waterproofing, the brown rough-out leather boots were also treated by soldiers to have equal protection. It involved brushing in "shoe grease" to the leather tops, over and over again, whilst breaking them in. The end result was likely a softer and more pliable boot with the leather empregnated with grease. Scuffs and scrapes would not be as much of a concern with this method as a boot that's only treated on the outer surface with wax. In a wartime environment, nobody is going to keep trying to repair lost wax protection on a topcoat when the boot gets gouged.

    Of course, the regiments eventually did away with puttees altogether, as they were mostly useless for keeping water out of one's boots once they get saturated.

    At any rate, I still haven't worn my ammo boots enough to break them in. Mine are more modern era parade boots with a high polish and super-chunky soles. I wear them with the later ankle puttees (shorter than WWI versions) and plain khaki hose tops. I'm told these boots will become really comfortable at some point, but I haven't found it yet! The hobnailed soled are not conducive to everyday wear.

    Tobus,
    Any idea what they meant by "shoe grease"? The only thing that comes to mind is Dubbin.
    "I know of no inspiration to be got from trousers."
    Lt. Col. Norman MacLeod, QOCH, c. 1924

  7. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacques View Post
    Tobus,
    Any idea what they meant by "shoe grease"? The only thing that comes to mind is Dubbin.
    I'm told that a modern equivalent is Huberd's Shoe Grease. That company has been around since 1921 and claim that their product is still much the same as the original. It's primarily beeswax and pine tar, as their primary customer base was loggers.

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  9. #16
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    I've used Bear Grease and Mink Oil on my army boots, which I use mainly for bad weather and riding my motorcycle. Both work a I suspect are very similar to other forms of shoe leather grease. Yes, the boots become very comfortable when broken in.

    Dave

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  11. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    I'm told that a modern equivalent is Huberd's Shoe Grease. That company has been around since 1921 and claim that their product is still much the same as the original. It's primarily beeswax and pine tar, as their primary customer base was loggers.
    Thanks for the link Tobus. i'll give them a try.

    Jacques
    "I know of no inspiration to be got from trousers."
    Lt. Col. Norman MacLeod, QOCH, c. 1924

  12. #18
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    Dubbin was certainly used by the British Army and, from the broad arrow marked examples here, appears to have been an 'issue' item: https://www.blancoandbull.com/boot-c...forces-dubbin/

    There are also some recipes here: https://www.blancoandbull.com/boot-cleaning/dubbin/

  13. The Following User Says 'Aye' to Bruce Scott For This Useful Post:


  14. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Scott View Post
    Dubbin was certainly used by the British Army and, from the broad arrow marked examples here, appears to have been an 'issue' item: https://www.blancoandbull.com/boot-c...forces-dubbin/

    There are also some recipes here: https://www.blancoandbull.com/boot-cleaning/dubbin/
    Bruce,
    Once again with more useful information, thank you.
    "I know of no inspiration to be got from trousers."
    Lt. Col. Norman MacLeod, QOCH, c. 1924

  15. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Dave View Post
    I've used Bear Grease and Mink Oil on my army boots, which I use mainly for bad weather and riding my motorcycle. Both work a I suspect are very similar to other forms of shoe leather grease. Yes, the boots become very comfortable when broken in.

    Dave
    Thank-you Dave. i am a big fan of Fiebing Neatsfoot Oil as a leather conditioner, and in this application it works very well. However i have not been happy with its waterproofing qualities. And after a quick online search i learned that bear grease is claimed to have medicinal properties as well as its use in water proofing leather. It is also the most expensive option. Although, as it is recommended for hair loss, i might have to give it a try.

    Jacques
    Last edited by Jacques; 3rd August 20 at 10:46 PM.
    "I know of no inspiration to be got from trousers."
    Lt. Col. Norman MacLeod, QOCH, c. 1924

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