US Service Shoes by Mil-Tec

Smithy

Well-Known Member
As some of you may have seen in the Roughout thread I was lucky today and received two pairs of boots from Soldier of Fortune in the UK. This is the other pair, a reproduction of the US Service Shoe in russet which was adopted into service in November 1941,

The quality and workmanship on these repros are excellent. These are a lot more heavy duty than the Roughouts though and will need some breaking in but they look fantastic and are an iconic US boot from the war. Sizing for these was spot on and as always SoF are just a dream to deal with. They package things so beautifully too.

To get them started, I think I'll give them a polish with a couple of different shades of brown shoe polish. Anyway I'm really looking forward to breaking these in. If you're after a Service Shoe repro I would highly recommend them.

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Micawber

Well-Known Member
An old trick was to piss in traditional leather boots before bed then wear them hard the next day. Disgusting as it might sound to some sensitive 21st century souls it works - Google it if in doubt. I also liberally dose new boots that I don't want to bull to a shine in what was known as Hoopers 1882, now Abbey 1982 leather dressing...


The stuff looks like the contents of a dripping tray [used to love bread n dripping with salt n pepper as a kid] but that's due to the high fat and wax content. It's lovely stuff but a bit heavy for use on refined leather clothing. Ideal for boots though.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
An old trick was to piss in traditional leather boots before bed then wear them hard the next day. Disgusting as it might sound to some sensitive 21st century souls it works - Google it if in doubt. I also liberally dose new boots that I don't want to bull to a shine in what was known as Hoopers 1882, now Abbey 1982 leather dressing...


The stuff looks like the contents of a dripping tray [used to love bread n dripping with salt n pepper as a kid] but that's due to the high fat and wax content. It's lovely stuff but a bit heavy for use on refined leather clothing. Ideal for boots though.

That's like RM Williams Saddle and Leather Dressing. Looks like the frying pan the next day after you made bacon sandwiches at 2 o'clock in the morning after a heavy session at the pub! I've been using the stuff for decades and it's magic.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
There's a lot of old wive's tales about breaking in boots with water immersion, but if you look at info from leather & boot manufacturers out there, that's not at all recommended.

I wouldn't do it with delicate jobs but have done it before with army boots (the horrific ones they issued in the British and NZ armies) back in the 80s. You could have chucked those in the ocean for half a year and they would have laughed at it!
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
That's like RM Williams Saddle and Leather Dressing. Looks like the frying pan the next day after you made bacon sandwiches at 2 o'clock in the morning after a heavy session at the pub! I've been using the stuff for decades and it's magic.

Yep that's it. Hoopers used to be used by tanneries for finishing saddle and harness leathers etc and used to be known as Hoopers Horrible. The name was changed by Abbey not that many years ago but it's essentially the same stuff. Not for the faint hearted.
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
There's a lot of old wive's tales about breaking in boots with water immersion, but if you look at info from leather & boot manufacturers out there, that's not at all recommended.


All good info, but #12 in particular.

Now, now! There's usually an element of truth in a lot of old wives tales, old wives don't get old by being thick:D
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Been wearing them around the house all evening and absolutely love them already.

Seriously guys, if anyone is after a Service Shoe repro give these a go.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Been wearing them around the house all evening and absolutely love them already.

Seriously guys, if anyone is after a Service Shoe repro give these a go.
Remind me never to invite you to my next intervention . Here I am trying to down size and now you’ve put a bug in my shorts with these .;)
Ok waiting for a quick review, Intel and photos . Where are they made , how’s the leather , how’s the soles ? Pictures please, you evil man you !
;):D
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Remind me never to invite you to my next intervention . Here I am trying to down size and now you’ve put a bug in my shorts with these .;)
Ok waiting for a quick review, Intel and photos . Where are they made , how’s the leather , how’s the soles ? Pictures please, you evil man you !
;):D

Haha!!!!

In short they're brilliant buddy. Some of the nicest boots I've had in a long time.

The leather is full on, these are the real deal, not some flimsy, thin leather knock off. These are very hefty, thick leather. The soles are stitched and nailed just like originals. Sole pattern looks to be like originals too. I have no idea where they're made to be honest, Sturm Mil-Tec are German but I don't know if they're made there. Saying that the quality is really top notch. They are as good as if not better than any high quality shoe brand you'd buy at a high end shoe shop.

If you want I can take some more snaps but it'll have to be tomorrow. Night time here and the light is dreadful.

Seriously though, if you're thinking about a pair of Service Shoes these would make you very happy.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
It sounds like for about $135.00 you can’t go wrong . How’s the sizing ? I have to figure out UK to US conversion sizing .
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
It sounds like for about $135.00 you can’t go wrong . How’s the sizing ? I have to figure out UK to US conversion sizing .

I'm a 9 British (43 European) and ordered that and they are bang on, the perfect size. Their Roughouts were sized exactly the same for me as well.

One thing that has surprised me. I've been wearing them all evening to start breaking them in. I was expecting agony and blisters but so far so good. Yes the leather is thick and unyielding but the only real area where I've felt them as new boots are the tops where that thick leather meets and rubs against the ankles, apart from that they're wearing in very quickly and more comfortable than what I expected.
 

Flightengineer

Well-Known Member
Tim, nice boots. I've seen them on their website for a long time but haven't bought them yet.
What is the insole length for size 43?
How do you feel - they have the same stiff sole as the Red Wings? How flexible is it?
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
If possible, I'd like to see the insoles of both boots. My Corcoran's have a nice, lightly padded insoles, but my roughouts have, basically, nothing.

I'll take a photo later and post it for you Chandler. There's no insole, although the heel section is leather lined.

Tim, nice boots. I've seen them on their website for a long time but haven't bought them yet.
What is the insole length for size 43?
How do you feel - they have the same stiff sole as the Red Wings? How flexible is it?

The soles on these are pretty stiff Dmitry. I tried measuring the inside sole length - not the easiest but it's around 26.5 to 27 cm. Outside bottom of the sole measured from tip to toe is 30.5 cm

Hope that helps.

Great looking boots!! Looks a lot like mine from ATF. If you want to have fun, do as I did following this recipe: http://thelandlessgentry.blogspot.com/2018/02/diy-antiquing-corcoran-brown-jump-boots.html which included leaving them overnight soaking in water :cool:

I remembered your project with your ones. They look great but with mine I'm going to keep it simple and just use 2 or 3 different shades of brown polish to give them a bit of character.
 
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