The Marine Corps is testing a new green-on-green physical training uniform — boasting a gender-specific design, lighter fabric and shorter shorts — after a previous prototype drew negative feedback.
The shorts’ inseam will be reduced to 5 inches from 8 inches, according to a Marine Corps Systems Command spokesperson. And the reflective striping on the back will be thinner, a news release said Thursday.
But the days of silkies — the beloved soft-as-butter workout shorts with a barely-there inseam — are still long gone, the news release confirmed.
In 2021 the Marine Corps Uniform Board required Marine Corps Systems Command to modernize the physical training uniform for “better form, fit and function,” according to the press release.
In April 2021, Marine Corps Systems Command released an initial prototype of new physical training garb boasting moisture-wicking technology and reflective elements.
Approximately 350 Marines evaluated that prototype, according to the news release. And the reviews weren’t glowing.
“The results from last year’s [limited user evaluation] were clear,” Kristine Bealmear, the Marine Corps Systems Command physical training uniform project officer, said in the news release. “The material was heavy. The shorts were long. The reflective material was restrictive. And so we just kind of took all of that information and we went from there.”
The redesigned the shirts have lighter material and thinner reflective striping on the back. The new uniforms also come in gender-specific sizes.
“We found that gender-neutral sizing does not work well for our women Marines,” Bealmear said in the news release. “With the last prototype, for example, we found that if the shirt fit them well across the bust line, it was too big in the neck. Same with the shorts — if they fit in the waist, they were probably tight across the hip line.”
As in the initial prototype, the shirts feature “USMC” in big reflective letters on the back and an eagle, globe and anchor on the sleeves.
With the initial prototype, the physical training shirts would not be able to double as the olive drab undershirt worn with the Marine Corps utility uniform, Marine Corps Times reported in 2021.
Instead, the old olive drab shirt would be renamed the “utility undershirt,” only to be worn with the utility uniform or for PT when “forward deployed or when tactical requirements dictate per a commander’s guidance,” a 2021 press release said.
It appears that will be the case with the new prototype as well.
The physical training uniform “will be a stand-alone uniform,” Kelly Flynn, a Marine Corps Systems Command spokeswoman, told Marine Corps Times Thursday. “However, further guidance will come from the Marine Corps Uniform Board once the new PTU is approved.”
Most Marines won’t be decked out in the new duds for a while.
The fielding of the uniforms is being determined at this time, according to Flynn. But they will come to recruit depots and Officer Candidates School first, she told Marine Corps Times.
In the meantime, 350 Marines are evaluating the new prototype, and Marine Corps Systems Command will tweak the uniform in response to their feedback, according to the news release.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information on the “stand-alone uniform” component and timing of the uniform’s fielding.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.