The Marine Corps made it official this week with the announcement that the Marines will start issuing the Rugged All-Terrain boot to recruits and officer candidates starting this October. The boots are not new to the Corps. Deploying Marines have been issued the RAT boot since 2009.
However, the Corps has improved the design to make sure the boot dries faster. Marine officials said it will take until Oct. 1 2016 to outfit every Marine with the new boots. Until then, Marines can continue to wear the Marine Corps Combat Boot.
Marines have told uniform officials that they were not impressed with how long it took for the RAT boots to dry after wading through streams in Iraq and Afghanistan. Marine officials have heard that feedback and made improvements. The quick drying RAT boots will feature a nylon ankle strap rather than the current leather one to allow the boots to dry faster. The leather gusseting that connects the tongue will also be replaced with a heavy duty nylon guesseting.
However, with the wide spread introduction of the RAT boots come a reduction in clothing allowance for active duty enlisted Marines. The allowance will drop $31.07 "to reflect the price difference and the longer useful life of the RAT boot," the Marine Corps announcement stated.
The boots are build to last two years, according to Marine officials. In fact, the Marine Corps had planned to replace the MCCB with the RAT boot two years ago. However, Marines found the RAT boots made by Bates were wearing out much faster. Soles were separating from the boots and the eyelets were falling off. The Marine Corps had to recall 8,000 pairs of boots made by Bates.
In response, the Marine Corps had to issue a separate contract to Danner, the original maker of the RAT boot, to get boots to Marines. The Corps had re-opened the competition to field the boot in 2011 that Bates won even though Danner was already making the RAT boot for Marines deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan.