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"1918 German Infantry Boots Black or Brown?" Topic

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Terry3728 Dec 2016 11:26 a.m. PST

I am trying to confirm if German boots were black or brown by 1918? Does anyone know for sure or have a reference they can suggest?



idontbelieveit28 Dec 2016 11:59 a.m. PST

Depends on what color the mud was?

I think they used brown leather blackened with polish. I recall reading they switched to black midwar. This reenactor page says there was an order but also calls attention to kind of being able to wear what you could get your hands on as the war went on.

dualer28 Dec 2016 12:14 p.m. PST

All my sources say brown, for both "dicebeakers" and ankle boots. I understood your leaning towards black, but thats a ww2 thing, I had the same doubts until I did a little digging!

Martin Rapier29 Dec 2016 2:58 a.m. PST

Do them brown. Even the WW2 thing is a bit doubtful.

I would say from experience that heavily dubbed boots can look very dark indeed.

Terry3729 Dec 2016 10:59 a.m. PST

Gentlemen, Thank you for the replies. I rechecked the Osprey books and all they say is "brown boots, but a trend toward blackened leather. So I agree with the suggestion and will use a dark-ish brown. That ought to cover it all ways.

Again, many thnaks!


AICUSV29 Dec 2016 4:47 p.m. PST

In 1915 the German Army switched over to black for leather. Units equipped with brown were to dye their pieces. By 1918 boots were not all that common among the troops, in general use were shoes and puttees. Leather was in so short supply that even some of the shoes were made of wood and paper. The puttees were field grey as were the uppers of the shoe, soles were natural wood.


Terry3729 Dec 2016 7:22 p.m. PST

Thanks AICUSV,

Great picture, and I am sure it is the affect of lighting, or my PC, but everything looks brown – shoes and puttees.

However, black seems to be right then for the 1918 time frame, so I am happy with that.

Interesting comment about wood and paper shoes. I have in my collection one of the wooden bullets that were allowed for practice when metal became in short supply.

Thanks again,


AICUSV30 Dec 2016 9:24 a.m. PST

I never really trust color in photos on the net. Too many different transitions they go through. Also, lighting was very poor when I took the photos (with my phone). There is some brown as there is a leather edging around the paper body to attach it to the sole. After 100 years some of the dye has worn off.
The fieldgrey is a shade darker than the uniform and the puttees are a little greener than the shoes. I actually posted the photo because I expected someone to question paper shoes.

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