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Remembering Louis Zamperini and WWII Military Shoes

Unbroken is the tale of an Olympic runner who joined the United States armed forces during World War II and was later taken prisoner by the Japanese navy.

Affectionately known as “Luckie Louie,” Louis Zamperini was drafted into the United States army in 1941. But his luck was soon to come to an end. After surviving a plane crash, Louis became a prisoner of war. The movie follows his life from star athlete to all the trials and tribulations of war-time.

What kind of shoes did Louis probably wear?

The United States’ army combat footwear during World War II consisted of Type 1, 2 and 3 Service Shoes. The soles of the shoes began as leather and then were changed to rubber.

A probable cause for the change in sole is due to the fact that leather soles are potentially dangerous. They are often slippery, even on dry surfaces. Rubber soles were deemed preferable to leather because they provide traction on every surface, including ice and snow. While the shoes seemed advanced at the time over WWI shoes, the technology is far and away better now for our mend and women in uniform.

‘Jungle Rot’ and ‘Trench Foot’ are not just war-time concerns

Louis probably carried a pair of jungle boots with him as well. These were usually carried in addition to their field shoes and were specially made to allow water to seep in and out of a mesh insole in the mucky climate. Even so, many men’s feet suffered from jungle rot, a very similar condition to the WWI malady ‘trench foot.

Can you serve in the military if you have flat feet?

During World War II some young men who had flat feet were disqualified from military services, especially in the Army and Marines. This was because the military doctors believed that men with flat feet would never make it through the long hikes.  “Recruits with flat feet may be disqualified for service at the military entrance processing station (MEPS) if the assessor decides that the person’s flat feet may become an issue.”

Whether Louis and the other soldiers in World War II were marching in the streets or in intense combat, the shoes that they wore were a critical part of their uniform.

Be sure to see this movie this Christmas – and pay attention to the soldiers’ shoes!

 If you or anyone you know suffers from flat feet, call us at (859) 264-1141 or make an online appointment.

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