About 500 Marines will test and evaluate the newly designed physical training uniform, service officials announced on Tuesday. The olive-colored shorts and T-shirts will be made from breathable materials and will feature black mesh side panels and reflective Marine Corps logos.
The new PT uniform is modern and will give Marines better form, fit and function, Lt. Col. Andrew Konicki, Marine Corps Systems Command's program manager for Infantry Combat Equipment, said in a statement.
These are the first updates to Marine physical training uniforms in nearly a decade. Military.com first reported on the new designs in January.
The four contracts were awarded to: Made in America, American Fashion Network in New York; Fit USA in Florida; SND Manufacturing in Texas; and String King in California. The companies will provide a total of 600 uniforms, according to the announcement.
The Marine Corps will test 100 of the prototypes in a lab environment. Five hundred more will be issued to a range of personnel, including men, women, enlisted Marines, officers, and those at both junior and senior ranks.
Marine Corps Systems Command will work with Training and Education Command on the testing. The intent, the announcement states, is to "include instructor and student populations from the [staff noncommissioned officer] and NCO Academies and instructors from Officer Candidate School and The Basic School."
The evaluations run at least 30 days and are expected to be complete by the beginning of August. Feedback on the prototypes will be collected and presented to the Marine Corps Uniform Board.
"The scope of the user evaluation is going to verify/validate the form/fit/function of the new physical training uniform, with the output of the evaluation resulting in possible specification changes, contract modifications, and a better end product," the announcement states. "For example, part of the expected output of the user evaluations is the development of female-specific sizing."
The Marine Corps updated its requirements for the uniform in January. Officials want the uniform to be anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, stretchy, fast-drying and have reflective features.
The front of the new PT shirt will feature small "USMC" lettering in silver reflective material, according to photos and draft designs of the uniforms. Each sleeve will have an eagle, globe and anchor in the same reflective silver. The back of the shirt will also say "USMC" vertically, and will have diagonal reflective strips on each side of the letters.
The new drawstring shorts will have side pockets and be lined in black knit fabric. The left leg will feature a silver reflective eagle, globe and anchor.
Activewear has changed since the current PT trunk-style shorts were issued, said Kristine Bealmear, the PT uniform project officer with Marine Corps Systems Command.
"I feel it's important for our Marines to have these advanced garments to provide them comfort and durability during their PT sessions," she said. "They need to look their best regardless of uniform."
The new short is an olive-green basketball-style short, which means it's longer than the current version. As a planned augment to the uniform, there is an optional running short for those who prefer a shorter inseam, the announcement states.
The current PT trunks will eventually be phased out.
"The running short would not be included in the initial clothing allowance issue or on the minimum requirements list, but would be authorized for wear during unit PT events," it adds.
Marines will keep their current running and sweat suits. The new PT uniform shirt also won't replace the olive cotton T-shirt Marines currently wear with their utility uniforms. That shirt will be rebranded as the "utility undershirt," and might still be required for PT when forward deployed.
The Marine Corps is also developing a maternity version of the PT uniform.