Question re: what to wear and shoes for new cadet?


We are brand new to air cadets, know very little, feel very lost and have a few questions?

Firstly, what is the best thing for my 13yr old son to wear to “blue uniform” night (correct jargon? As I said, we are very new and inexperienced!) whilst he awaits to see how he gets on/gets his uniform? And what is the best thing for him to wear on a “normal” night? He has been advised to wear his school uniform on parade nights, but we are not sure if this is just trousers, shirt and black shoes (polished!) or his entire school ensemble, ie + blazer (emblazoned with school logo) and tie?

He is also in need of new shoes and I would like to purchase him a pair of shoes for Air Cadets? Again, what is the best kind to purchase whilst we await approval for “official” Air Cadet uniform? I was thinking a pair of sturdy, plain black walking type shoe/boot? Or am I OK to purchase a pair of boots from Army Surplus at this early stage? He will likely need thicker socks if wearing the walking boot type, so what colour would be best to get please?

As I said we are very “green”, ie know nothing as he has only attended one evening so far!

Advice would be greatly appreciated…

Welcome to the Air Training Corps (Parents) Squadron - the biggest one we have! :wink:

At our sqn, new cadets who are waiting for uniform are asked to parade in black trousers & white shirts; ties are not required. Footwear should be polished, black shoes, not trainers.

With regard to type of shoes, they need to be black & have toe caps so that they can be “highly polished.” Boots must also be black, but toes caps are not required = much more choice.

I have included this link as an example of the type of shoe with toe cap, rather than a specific recommendation. You can get them with rubber soles (often referred to as DMS) or leather soles.

Shoes - yes, if you have an army surplus shop near you, that is a good place to start. You might find quite a few options on eBay, search for “military black shoes cadet Oxford” & refine as necessary - for boots = “black cadet military combat boots” or similar. As boots can be expensive, especially in the mega-growing teenage stages, not unusual to start off with a second hand pair. Handy if the boots can be waterproof for any outdoor activities. If your dearest child hasn’t worn boots before, get them to break the boots in properly before wearing them on a long outdoor trek!

Google “air cadet uniform” & you will find several links to direct commercial suppliers. It is probably worth getting your son to ask at the sqn to find out where cadets got their footwear or other “extra” pieces of uniform. Once you start, it is a down-hill slope, your house will look like an Army barracks as you get pleading requests to buy MTP camouflage uniform, webbing & a whole range of goodies. At least Christmas is nearby! :slight_smile:

Firstly Welcome to the ACO, and to the forum. You may want to adjust your username, to prevent unsolicited contact. Also don’t believe everything that appears on here, some of it is rumour and hearsay.

In answer to the questions you have raised, as your son has only been at the unit for one evening so far, I would relax, and not worry about it to much, it can be quite daunting!! Yet all will become much clearer over time.

Blues Uniform - This will of course be issued in the future, but in the interim it completely varies from squadron to squadron, some will be school uniform, others will be happy with Jeans & T-Shirt. The best solution is, if you have any queries to first engage with the Squadron’s Staff team, as they will be able to provide the correct answer especially when it is something that varies unit on unit.

Shoes - These are not issued at all, and you will therefore need to look to purchase these as you have mentioned. For use with his blue uniform a pair of Parade Shoes will be required, these are commonly known as Oxford Toecap shoes. The important aspect is for there to be a defined toecap. For use with the Green Uniform (CS95 or MTP PCS) a pair of Black Boots are required, Brown Boots are also available but can only be worn with MTP, so you would be limiting yourself from that aspect. These need to provide ankle protection, and a basic assault boot will suffice, there is no need to purchase a £150 pair of Lowas.