This new boot sole can help troops ‘get a grip’ in slick, icy conditions

Standard boot outer soles have been developed for desert, jungle, even pavement. But slick, icy conditions have always been a bit trickier, requiring strapped on crampons.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Standard boot outer soles have been developed for the desert, the jungle, and even pavement. But slick, icy conditions have always been trickier.

Now, a new rubber compound being built by two companies aims to fill the gap between inadequate grip and full blown ice climbing.

To showcase their new sole, Belleville Boot Company and Vibram put on a display of ice blocks, set at a 15-degree incline, at this year’s Warrior Expo East by ADS, Inc.

The new rubber mixture is used on select points in the tread of the boot to help grip to the slick, icy surface. It’s also usable in slick, snowy conditions, said Belleville Chief Sales Officer Glen Becker.

“What they’ve created is a wet ice technology, various lugs are emphasized with this new compound,” Becker said. “It really allows the sole to grip wet ice.”

That’s important when a slipped step could mean a tumble downhill with a 60-pound pack.

Becker said the combined tech is still under development, but the company is shooting for interest from military units, specifically those that operate in cold, wet environments.

The final product will be an insulated, cold-weather boot, using GORE-TEX materials and the Vibram gripping outer sole.