Ukraine has introduced 3D-printed footwear to protect soldiers from Russian land mines.
A group of Ukrainian engineers led by Ihor Yefimenko said the boots can withstand an explosion equal to 200 kilograms (440 pounds).
They are particularly effective against Soviet-era PFM-1 mines, so-called “petal” or “butterfly” anti-personnel landmines.
According to the developers, the petal mine is so powerful that it can tear off a soldier’s shoes or the entire front of the foot during an explosion.
Using the 3D-printed boots, the foot is entirely “okay” and “even the sole remains intact,” one of the engineers stated.
The group said they developed five prototypes using different plastics to determine which is the most effective against Russian explosives.
Cheaper Than Western Counterparts
Engineer Vadym Vovchenko said all plastics used in the boots are 3D-printed for faster production.
He further revealed that they tried a metal sole to improve the gear’s durability but found it heavy and ineffective in responding to an explosion.
Despite the state-of-the-art technology in making the footwear, Vovchenko explained that the boots can only be sold for $400 a pair.
“They’re cheaper than second-hand Western anti-mine boots. I think it’s a competitive price because there’s no big markup,” he said.
More than 200 pairs of the anti-mine gear have reportedly been sold to the Ukrainian Army so far.
Increasing Use of Landmines
Since Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in June, Moscow has used land mines extensively to slow down its tank and armored vehicle advances.
Even the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) described the tactic as an “effective war footing” as reports about Ukraine’s slow progress have surfaced.
“In some areas, the density of the minefield indicates that [Russia] has likely used many more mines than laid down in its military doctrine,” the MoD intelligence report noted.
“Having slowed the Ukrainian advance, Russia has then attempted to strike enemy armored vehicles with one-way attack using drones, attack helicopters, and artillery.”