New boots on the ground for Canadian sol­diers

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Canada -

In the wake of a strik­ing new re­view of Canada’s mil­i­tary, and prom­ises of a 20-year vi­sion for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Depart­ment of National De­fense has con­firmed a new, high-tech, painstak­ingly engi­neered form of trans­porta­tion for sol­diers in the field. Af­ter years of nig­gling dis­plea­sure, CAF mem­bers can an­tic­i­pate a sigh of re­lief.

The depart­ment is buy­ing new boots.

“We’re aim­ing to get the so­lic­i­ta­tion on the streets by the end of Au­gust,” Lieu­tenant-colonel Gor­don Ed­wards, di­rec­tor of sol­dier sys­tems pro­gram man­age­ment for the CAF, con­firmed to Torstar on Wed­nes­day. It’s been just three years since the gov­ern­ment signed onto $11.7 mil­lion in con­tracts for their cur­rent footwear.

“The Land Op­er­a­tion Tem­per­ate Boot doesn’t seem to have met the needs of the sol­diers the way we hoped that it would,” Lt.-col. Ed­wards ad­mit­ted. The new boots have elicited a range of com­plaints, from ma­te­rial break­ing down to zip­pers break­ing apart in harsh weather.

While the army con­ducted a user trial prior to pur­chase — “which is prob­a­bly one of the first times I think we’ve done it for boots,” Lt.-col. Ed­wards added — the then-pos­i­tive re­sults haven’t held as well long-term.

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