Soldiers can sport a variety of footwear other than standard-issue Army boots during training, but now there's one thing they officially can't wear: those trendy, odd-looking shoes that separate the toes (think gloves for the feet).
The service has issued the following footwear dictum, the Washington Post reports:
There are a variety of minimalist running shoes available for purchase and wear. Effective immediately, only those shoes that accommodate all five toes in one compartment are authorized for wear. Those shoes that feature five separate, individual compartments for the toes, detract from a professional military image and are prohibited for wear with the IPFU or when conducting physical training in military formation.
The Army taking sartorial offense at funky footwear may not seem like a big deal. But Tom Ricks argues in his "Best Defense" blog on Foreign Policy's website that "one of the warning signs of deterioration in the military during peacetime is an emphasis on appearance over effectiveness."
(Photo: Army Capt. Douglas Powell runs outdoors for physical fitness at Camp Nathan Smith, Afghanistan, March 23, 2011. Photo by Sgt. Breanne Pye.)