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Why Navy SEALs Wear Chuck Taylors in Maritime Operations
Sep 11, 2020
by Blake Stilwell
Converse's iconic Chuck Taylor shoes aren't just for people who want to look cool for a decent price. They might also be the unofficial athletic shoe of U.S. Naval Special Warfare.
High-top or low, these longtime staples of American fashion are also the shoe of choice for Navy SEALs who need functional sneakers at sea, on land or in close-quarters combat. Teamguys are actually issued clean pairs of all-black Chucks for use in maritime operations. Some choose to wear them on land missions.
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Not only do the SEALs get to take down some of the world's worst bad guys, but they also get to look old school cool while doing it.
The reason is in the sneaker's design. A pair of Chucks doesn't add any bulk to the foot and the flat soles means better balance and stability with a more equal distribution of your weight. And as anyone who's sported a pair of Chucks knows, there's not a lot of arch support, so you can feel the boat, the sand or whatever else is underneath your feet.
This is important because special operators don't always get to operate in the full view of day. As a result, when you're climbing a ladder or something in the surf, you want to know your feet are going to get in the rungs of whatever it is you're climbing. In Chuck Taylors, you have a good sense of how big your feet are.
Size is an important factor for SEAL feet because amphibious missions may require switching in or out of fins in a hurry. In a sleek pair of black chucks, SEALs can easily slide their fins on or off as needed while moving from combat swimming to beach ops.
What the SEALs really love about Chucks -- and all other branches of the military, take note -- is that Chucks are lightweight and minimalist. They crush down and are easy to carry, provide stability to the wearer, and if they get wet, they dry off in a hurry.
Have you ever tried to dry out combat boots that have been filled with water?
Best of all, if they're coming to rescue hostages and they don't know whether the hostage will have shoes on their feet, the SEALs will bring a pair for the hostage.
Navy SEALs will tell you that the best tools are the ones that are simple, effective and don't require much thought. So whether it comes to Navy SEALs or the original Converse Chuck Taylors, accept no substitutes.
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Photo caption: U.S. Navy SEALs may have to go from swimming to walking in hurry. There's no time to mess with shoes. (U.S. Navy/Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam Henderson)
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