Are your boots too heavy? Is it difficult to find your size? Or do you love your boots?

The Defense Department wants to know.

If a boot doesn't fit right or isn't available, it can have a huge impact on a service member's performance.

The Army's Program Executive Office Soldier is leading the DoD's effort to gather feedback on standard-issue footwear to maximize combat effectiveness.

The 10-minute survey will give the Defense Department a better idea of footwear satisfaction across all branches of the military.

Use your Common Access Card to complete the survey by Aug. 1 to offer feedback:  https://surveys2.natick.army.mil/Surveys/siboot.nsf.

PEO Soldier launched an Army-specific survey that closed a couple of weeks ago, but language in the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directed a military-wide survey for broader feedback.

Capt. Daniel Ferenczy, assistant product manager for extreme weather clothing and footwear at PEO Soldier, said the NDAA language specifically targeted female soldiers.

"Congress will look at the report and say, 'OK, the highwater mark is female soldiers. Are they satisfied with the boots?'" he said.

If they're not satisfied, then the Army will have to take another look at foot sizing, he told Army Times on Friday.

Even though female soldiers are a focus, the goal is to receive feedback from all troops.

"If you're a boot manufacturer of construction boots, you're making sizes 7 to 12," Ferenczy said. "But in the military, we put boots on people that are literally every different shape and size."

One of the problems is availability, he said. Even though boots are offered in sizes 2 to 18EE (or double wide), some smaller statured soldiers are having trouble finding the correct size boots at their installation.

For example, the Army might need 10,000 pairs of size 10.5 boots and only 30 pairs of size 2. If two of the smaller size boots are issued to an installation but there are three soldiers who need them, then one soldier won't have the correct size.

"We just really need to hone in on that last small demographic of folks who need better boot sizes," he said.

The survey will help the services decide if the male foot model works for all soldiers or if industry will need to adopt female boot sizes specifically.

"As female populations and demographics increase throughout the services, we need to start retooling to match that," Ferenczy said.

The survey offers a quick opportunity for troops to say whether they're satisfied with their boots, if they would prefer men's sizing or women's sizing, and what's most important in a boot.

"We're trying to improve the war fighter's footwear in terms of comfort, fit and sizing," Ferenczy said.


Charlsy Panzino covers the Guard and Reserve, training, technology, operations and features for Army Times and Air Force Times. Email her at cpanzino@militarytimes.com.