As the end of my 9th in-camp-training nears, it has been more than 15 years since I’ve enlisted during my NSF time. Lots of changes have taken place since then. Army camps. Assault rifles. Cookhouse food. There is, however, one thing that hasn’t changed for me.

My old, trusty, leather combat boots. Besides being a bitch in the beginning when the leather is so damn tough, once you’ve seasoned it the pair of leather boots is the one constant that has never let me down. 15 years and still going strong.

Every year, I would see one camp-mate or another with disintegrating Gore-Tex or Frontier boots. Black crumbs all over the floor. Entire soles (left picture below) falling off, abandoned in some random place.

boots-old-vs-new

On the other hand, ‘old’ soldiers like us would be wearing our pre-2003 leather boots (right picture above) and laughing our heads off as the rest head to the eMart year after year to buy new boots. From my first ICT till now, the new generations of combat boots has been a joke since day one.

boots-new

All the technology plus engineering expertise and you can’t even ensure that the sole stays attached. Meant for combat, somemore. The irony.

Sometimes, new isn’t always better. As time goes by, fanciful and interesting ETFs will be created to entice you to buy them, and to trade them. The more, the merrier it seems. Not necessarily. Only traditional, market capitalization-weighted, physically replicated ETFs would be used to construct my core index-investing portfolio. No frills, as long as it gets the job done.