What The Heck Is Suede Leather?

The Army wants you to go shopping. Not just any shopping, but boot shopping. In a recent wave of rule-enforcing zeal, those at the top are circulating an image with the title: Examples of Unauthorized Boots and it’s got everyone in a hustle to find out whether or not their boots are compliant with the rules.

But we don’t want soldiers out there spending hundreds of dollars on boots they don’t need, so we’re here to clear up some confusion.

AR 670-1 Rumors

Of course, when any news item affects a lot of people and generates a lot of discussion, a lot of rumors can take root and grow into unhealthy portions of disinformation. Soon, if we don’t nip rumors in the bud, we’ve got completely wrong info circulating and Soldiers purchasing boots for no reason or purchasing the wrong boots.

Don’t rely on rumors or false authorities… get it straight from the source, the DA PAM 670-1. Here’s what that excerpt looks like:

As an option, Soldiers may wear commercial boots of a design similar to that of the Army combat boot (tan), as authorized by the commander. The boots must be… made of tan flesh-side out cattlehide leather.

What the Heck is Suede Leather?

Now, the part that seems to be causing stress and confusion is what the boots are actually made of. Note that the rule states the boots must be made of tan “flesh-side out cattlehide leather. This means if your boots are made of synthetic materials, out they go and it IS actually time to go shopping.

Now, the part that’s causing lots of headaches and confusion is the term flesh-side out cattle hide leather. There are boots out there made of leather, but it’s pigskin leather. Or it’s not flesh-side out.

How about suede leather?

We Called the Boot Company and Asked…

Well we called Belleville a major boot manufacturer, that seemed to comply with the authorized description except for the confusing term on the spec sheet, “suede leather”. You see, our confusion started when we noticed that AAFES stated on their website that the TR101’s are unauthorized. Why? It must be the “suede leather”, we thought.

We called and asked them about the suede leather. Turns out, suede leather IS flesh-side out leather!

So…the boot company is shooting itself in the foot by not clarifying the terms, which goes to show you…

Don’t Believe Everything You Read on the Internet!

When even the AAFES website gets it wrong, it’s time to realize that everyone can make mistakes. Case in point: the Tactical Research by Belleville TR 101 and the TR 111 are listed as “unauthorized” when in fact that’s not true.

As an American, you were taught to ask questions in school and as an adult you’ve hopefully learned not believe everything you read.

Now here’s evidence that even things you see in print and on the internet should also be subject to verification and questioning.

The folks at AAFES are losing sales because they didn’t bother to call Belleville and find out what suede leather means. But now you know, and hopefully some soldiers who already own these boots can save money by continuing to use them. After all, as the cadence goes…

“Stomp your left and drag your right!
(boots cost money, boots cost money!)
Now take them to a fire fight
(boots costs money, boots cost money)”

To learn about the differences between suede and other types of leather, check out my post here.