Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Jungle Heritage: The Pike Brothers 1952 Lowkinawa Boot

The 1952 Pike Brothers Lowkinawa Boots have their origin in the jungles of South East Asia.

US forces in WWII had problems with their issue footwear going rotten in the Pacific Island jungles, several attempts were made to produce a boot capable of surviving the climate, but none were particularly successful. So, soon after the War it was decided to properly develop and trial boots for hot and humid environments. 

This was the fist real attempt at a jungle boot.

Early advisors to Vietnam were often based out of Japan, and these particular boots were first tested in Okinawa, hence the original name: Okinawa Boots. 

The originals were exactly the same as the double buckle leather boots issued to American troops WWII, but with part of the upper in canvas. Good luck finding a pair though, they are as rare as rocking horse sh*t!

An original pair.

Luckily Pike Brothers stepped in and have made their own version: much shorter than the original, dispensing with the double buckle, they've named it the Lowkinawa. 

The upper boot is a mix of cowhide and canvas. Construction is a durable Goodyear welt with an outdoor sole.

It's a stylish and comfortable boot, the cowhide is beautiful and sturdy, however, the canvas ensures that the boot remains nice and light.

In short, it's a boot that wears it's military heritage proudly, but won't make you look as if you're about to retake the Solomon Islands single handed.

For those of us that wear boots year round the Lowkinawa is a great option for Spring & Summer. I can't wait to see how these break in.

Check them out here.

(Pix courtesy of Pike Brothers & Saunders Militaria.)

Monday, 7 January 2019

Your New Winter Jacket - Early Pattern WWII Tanker Jacket

I have a confession to make... I own too many jackets. The last thing I needed was another addition to my collection.

However, I'd be searching for a stylish alternative to the  ubiquitous N1 Deck jacket for a while. When I saw this one, I knew it had to be mine. The Tanker Jacket, in terms of look, cut and fit is the perfect option.

The Tanker Jacket, as the name would suggest, was issued to American armoured crews in WWII. Its  short boxy fit suited the tight confines of armoured operations.

The jacket went through some minor changes through its service, with early versions having large patch pockets and later ones (1942 onwards) sporting sash pockets (left). 

Original early versions are extremely rare and most reproductions concentrate on the later jackets, so tracking down first pattern jacket was a bit of a challenge.

Luckily WWII Impressions, an American company that specialise in accurate and high quality reproductions, were able to deliver. Don't just take my word for it - they produced the costumes for Fury.

Brad Pitt in Fury wearing an early pattern Tanker Jacket
This jacket will not make you look like Brad Pitt, however, it is very stylish.

For this uniform WWII Impressions had their own 100% wool melton custom woven and heather dyed to match originals. They used 100% cotton twill in the correct 8.2oz weight dyed using military spec dyes to match the earlier shade OD #3. The knit cuffs, collar, and waist band are made of 100% wool yarn dyed to the authentic shading. 

The zipper is a genuine durable Talon or Ideal bell shaped nickel/brass slider on nickel/brass teeth. To top this off they slapped an authentic wash-away US QM inspector tag inside bearing the size, their name and authentic contractor and spec information.

I've never seen an original jacket, so I'm not qualified to go on about how accurate a reproduction this one is, however it's clear that the attention to detail on this jacket is exemplary.

Simply put, it's beautifully made and timelessly stylish jacket. What more could a chap need?

Go ahead and order here.

(Pix courtesy of WWII Impressions.)