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India develops boobytrap-safe army/police boots using insulation materials

Insulation materials have a wide variety of applications, mostly in the building sector. In the few instances that insulation is used in other industries, its application tends to be highly innovative.

Shoe manufacturers working on army commissions are one example here. Soldiers of any nation working in extreme cold weather are typically assigned boots made with thermal insulation materials that can protect their feet against temperatures of up to minus forty.

The boots themselves are nothing too special, be it that their soles are reinforced with iron. But it’s the liners, made of insulation materials, that ensure the army can soldier on in the most bitter of climates.

Various regular shoe manufacturers are taking their cue from their colleagues who have been mandated by the army to produce extreme cold weather boots and the results are beginning to be seen in the civilian market too, mostly in walking and snow boots.

In India, which has an army and police force that frequently deal with minefields, they have begun pioneering isolation materials in boots to reduce the impact of landmines on soldiers’ legs.

The Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) in India recently came out with an anti-mine boot for defence and paramilitary forces that has a capacity to mitigate medium-size landmine blasts with a shock energy of 40,000 kg per sq cm to an impact of just 160 kg per sq cm.

The new boots, which were developed in collaboration with the Defence Material Store Research Development Establishment, also in India, have been sent to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) for trial.

"When a man steps on a landmine, the blast energy is colossal and can turn the feet bones into powder in a fraction of a second. We have inserted shock absorbers in the sole of the shoes that will reduce the shock energy, preventing major injuries to feet and leg," said V.B. Parvatikar, the technical director supervising the project, in a comment to the Hindustan Times.  

The boots, which look like mega high platforms, weigh 2.8 kg. An earlier version of the boots could absorb shock energy of 180 kg per sq cm.

The armies of European countries with mountains also tend to use boots reinforced with insulation materials, which have ski bindings for forces deployed in high altitudes.