Lets start from the feet up!
The DMS jungle boot was developed to replace the Tropical Combat Boot due to its deterioration. Special Forces in Southeast Asia in August 1960 were issued the new DMS (Direct Moulded Sole) boots which featured leather and nylon duck uppers which had been vulcanized directly on to Vibram pattern outsoles. The neck of the boot, backstay, heel portion and toe areas were leather for strength with canvas insert side panels to aid drying times, once again a pair of screened brass drainage eyelets were set into the inner arch. Although these are the first Jungle boot as we know them they were never in Vietnam in any large volume.
The 2nd pattern of Jungle Boot used 1-inch wide nylon webbing as reinforcement in place of leather for the neck and backstay. The only other difference was that the screened brass eyelets in the inner arch were set flush to the leather as opposed to being sunken as they were on the 1st pattern boots
Dating early jungle boots is fairly simple, the early pattern boots have a small white label inside the tongue of the boot. This label will read DSA-1-4959- ?? – E The question marks denote the year – Pictured above are a 1964 dated pair
The third and fourth versions of the DMS Jungle boot are identical to look at apart from the sole. This is what is meant when people refer to the Vibram or Panama soles. The only other difference between the two boots is a non-visible one, the Panama or 4th pattern boots had a steel shank fitted inside the sole of the boot.
The Panama Sole with spike protection was approved in 1966 along with the new spike plate being added to the Vibram sole, but does not seem to be used on production boots until mid 1967. The delay is likely a result of the extensive process required to make new molds and the fact that manufacturers still had existing contracts for the old sole. The pair shown below are the earliest that I have seen and are June 1967 dated. However, it is not uncommon to see boots from Late 1967 and early to mid 1968 with Vibram soles as well (see above). From 1969 on, production is exclusively Panama. Despite these production dates, the Panama sole never reached the issue numbers of the Vibram during the Vietnam War and are not as commonly seen.
Dating these boots is simple, the date stamp is the three digits to the right of the tongue stamp, in this case February 1971. On the Vibram soled boots the stamp is repeated around the outside of the neck of the boot