is the widely-used nickname for U.S. Army
Extreme Cold Vapor Barrier Boots
(Type II). The bulbous rubber
boots have no liner but retain warmth by sandwiching up to 1 inch of wool and felt insulation between two layers of rubber. The boots' appearance is somewhat comical, but they have moved well outside the military
to become a staple item of equipment among those who work in extremely cold weather
Bunny boots are normally worn with one heavy wool sock and are typically used for temperatures below 0 degrees F. The boots are available either in black (Type I) or white (Type II).
The black pairs, sometimes called Mickey Mouse
boots, weigh 44 oz. for each boot and are rated for temperatures down to -20 degrees F. They are less common than the white pairs that give the boots their name.
The white pairs weigh 48 oz. for each boot(or 6 lbs. per pair) in size 9R and are rated for temperates below -20 degrees F. Some white bunny boots apparently are rated to protect an inactive wearer to -40 degrees F. and an active wearer to -60 degrees F. (U.S. Army Pub. "Cold Weather Injury Prevention" 2-8165).
Use and cultural significance
The boots are a cultural phenomenon in Alaska
, where they are recognized as one of the main symbols of Alaska and are often highly sought after from specialty dealers. Construction workers, police officers at wintertime events, and others use bunny boots, which are seen as especially useful when the wearer is required to stand for prolonged periods. (They are seen as too heavy and lacking in traction
for outdoor sports such as mountaineering
.) The bunny boot is the ultimate; Alaskans do not recognize any commonly-available boot that is any warmer.
Type II (white) are currently standard issue for USAP (United States Antarctic Program) personnel at the Clothing Distribution Center at Christchurch, New Zealand.