90th IDPG Reviews


SM Wholesale Combat Boots - 2 Buckle Boots - M1943 Boots

Review Date: 2/12/2011
Updated: 4/5/2012

Updated Again: 11/3/2013
Author: Rob Pursifull


I was on the lookout for a new pair of two buckle boots or double buckle boots (officially: Boots, Service, Combat, Composition Sole).  My goal was to find a good quality pair that will last me plenty of sessions reenacting and will are also be authentic.  

Hearing great things about both WWII Impressions and SM Wholesale, I went into the process with a short list on who to purchase from.  I heard that SM Wholesale made their boots in wide EE width. This detail attracted me because I have very wide feet. An additional note or clarification - SM Wholesale supplies repro US WW2 boots to What Price Glory. These boots are the same as you would get from What Price Glory.

Having the chance to purchases the boots from him in person this past year at January GAP - FIG 2011, I seized the opportunity and purchased pair for myself. 

SM Wholesale has had a bad reputation in the reenacting community over the years for not being able to successfully order form him off his web site (smwholesale.com). However, since SM Wholesale has begun selling on eBay in the past few years, that reputation has begun to turn around. Word on the street is, if you buy from SM Wholesale via eBay, your purchase will actually show up in a timely manner.  

These boots are listed on the SM Wholesale website for $197 but are sold on ebay for $130. I purchased mine in person at FIG for $120.  At that price they are the cheapest pair on the market aside from the ones made by Sturm (Miltec).

My first thoughts were good, they are very well constructed and fit nicely.  I normally have to buy size 8's to get them wide enough to fit, however in this case I was able to get size 7 because they run very wide. 



Photos and Observations:


  • Laces are round and will need to be changed out. 

  • There is this funny black plastic layer in the sole under the heel which is really a turn off for me.  The photo of the boots on his website does not show this, however the photos he has ebay do.

  • The buckles are ok, however the Hook/ Tongue/ Prong of the buckle is a bit too long and is not shaped like the originals. 

Update, 11-03-2013, The buckles have been corrected, but the attachment tab is still rough side out leather.

  • The Leather that holds on the buckles is put on rough side out. I have yet to see this done on originals. 

  • The upper cuff of the boots is poorly patterned compared with originals.  It is Cylindrical in shape compared to the original design that is more conical. I can amuse they did this to accommodate fat calf's of today's population.  This does not affect functionality but, only affects the proper look and fit.  

  • In addition to the cuff being "cylindrical" rather than slightly "conical", the reproduction is significantly larger than original examples. I have compared an original size 7 cuff to the reproduction size 7 cuff - with "landmarks / seams" lined up to illustrate pattern and size differences.. As you can see, the reproduction is larger, the placement of the buckles is off, and some slight pattern/cut differences exist.

  • The nails are improperly installed and should go around the edge of the sole following the stitching. 




  • Correct toe shape 

  • Short nap, rather than hairy water buffalo 
  • All leather midsole (slipsole) instead of funny non leather layer that turns white on the Chinese boots 

  • Price one of the cheaper boots on the market (but not by much)
  • Come in EE sizes ( Great if you have wide feet like me)

  • Nails are brass coated and put in deeper than the Chinese boots




  • Funny black plastic thing under the heel

  • Buckles could be improved upon This is fixed on the 2013 run.

  • Buckle Cuff is made for Fatty Calves and not made like the originals

  • Nails could be put in a bit deeper and have a break in them under the center of the foot

  • Leather that holds on the buckles is put on rough side out. 

  • Only come in wide sizes
  • Lack authentic style size and lot marking - This is halfway there with the marking in the cuff, but could be done quite a bit better with just a little effort or a simple ink stamp.


Bottom line is that these boot look like that they are built to last, but only time will tell. These boots are not "Perfect" reproductions, but are otherwise representative and serviceable. If I, or any friend of mine were looking for Repro Combat Boots I would not recommend these boots, but would rather point them to WWII Impressions provided they were in stock at the time.

Since I purchased these boots in person from SM Wholesale, I cannot speak to the ordering / shipping process and how long it may or may not take.

Here are the boots once Dubbed.

For information on how to dub your boots - check out our article on Dubbing using Sno-Seal.

If you want to darken the cuffs of these combat boots, I recommend using Sno-Seal and Brown polish on the cuffs as described in the Dubbing article. If you want your cuffs REALLY dark, as some originals are very dark - I recommend using Fieblings Medium Brown Alcohol based leather dye, then dubbing and polishing the cuffs.

Update - 11/3/2013

Dave purchased a set of these boots because WWII Impressions was out of stock, taking pre-orders for an indefinite delivery date, and we didnt want to press our luck with the ATF boots.

His comments are as follows:

-They are much larger than a standard size 12.  The boots are not just wider but they are about an inch longer...  I would have been happy with a size 11.
-The tongue / prong on the buckle has been cut to the correct length.
-Some trouble with the ordering directly from SM Wholesale.  The online ordering was easy.  I ordered just before Labor day weekend and then found out that he (Steve) was out of town for a week.  Steve shipped the boots express mail about two weeks after I ordered them.  I played phone tag with him for a little bit to make sure that the order had been received. 


I dubbed the boots with Sno Seal and used Fiebing's Cordovan Leather Dye on the cuffs.



Update - 4/5/2012

So I have had these boots for about a year and figured it is time for an update on how they have held up.

The boots are still going strong for me with all the stitching holding tight, nails not falling out of the soles, and overall doing just fine. 
The only concern I have with the quality so far is the eyelets for the buckles are starting to look like they are going to come out. So far they have held just fine, but time will tell.

It was also brought to my attention that these boot only have 6 eyelets for the laces were originals have 7.  However, while 7 eyelets seem to be more common than 6, I have seen and original unissued sample size 71/2D with 6 eyelets, so I would not consider this an issue.

One modification that I have done to the boots is to shorten the prong of the buckles closer to the correct length seen on originals. 




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