Marines in cold climes could be sporting the first new intense cold-weather boot fielded since the 1960s, as officials finalize testing and evaluation of commercial options.

Officials with Marine Corps Systems Command are down to two options, with the winner expected to be delivered by summer 2020, said Emanuel “Manny” Pacheco, director of systems command public affairs.

The two semifinalists are the Belleville Intense Cold Weather Boot and the Danner Acadia. Over the ­winter, systems command staff will conduct follow-on user evaluations to validate the two boot submissions in an operational environment.

The original request for information called for an order up to 50,000 pairs of boots.

Marines and soldiers have been using a 1960s-era rubberized intense cold weather boot known throughout the ranks as the “Mickey Mouse” boot for more than half a century.

Its official name is the Extreme Cold Weather Boot.

The boot is effective at preventing frostbite and ­keeping feet warm down to -60 degrees Fahrenheit.

But it is heavy and by trapping in the warmth it also traps in the moisture, creating soaking wet feet.

The new boot must weigh in between 4 pounds and 4.9 pounds.

The new boot is part of efforts to upgrade its cold weather gear as Marines are expected to ­contribute forces to Arctic regions, such as their regular ­700-Marine rotations to Norway. Another gear item in that kit was the 2018 purchase of a new ski system, which was awarded to Serket USA for its Scout model ski and Patrol ski binding.

This is an excerpt from “17 Things Marines Need To Know For 2020,” in the 12-23 print edition of Marine Corps Times.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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