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Polish Military Boots Model 928/MON with GORE-TEX® Membrane

The Polish sources use to designate model 928/MON black army boots as the "special" ones, but in fact they are universal purpose boots, suitable for hiking, as well as for forest and swampy terrain, i.e. for virtually all tasks the modern army boots must be applicable. This model is also preferred by the Polish special forces soldiers.

The top of the 928/MON boots is made of hi-quality smooth cowhide of 2.5 to 2.7 mm in thickness, with hydrophobic impregnation, allowing the leather to "breathe." All the boots have to pass 100% control of waterproof features for the leather uppers, seams and joints between the out- soles and the boot's top. The process of hydrophobic impregnation consists in treating the boot's top leather with substances that increase the "water-repellency", after that the outer surface of the leather does not absorb moisture for at least six hours of continuous exposure in the water. The toe, the counters and the ankles are protected by special padding inserts. In the boots model 928/MON the "Bootie"-system is implemented: the membrane fabric is "sock-shaped", the seams are flat, at this waterproof features are provided.

These boots also feature GORE-TEX® membrane fabric, the tiny holes of which provide ventilation and natural feet vapours removal, therefore, it helps to maintain a comfortable temperature and humidity inside the boots, while keeping moisture from entering the boot, for example a drop of water is too large to get into the membrane material.

Only the special care products ("for membranes") are suitable for these boots. Any conventional means of footwear care and protection can clog the pores of the membrane and significantly impair its properties. The membrane fabrics use to be clogged over time even from simple use, and that's well known to the owners of such kinds of boots.

The out-soles of 928/MON boots are made by the Italian company Vibram® (tread pattern Fuora®), they are "self-cleaning" and universal, provide good adhesion to different surfaces, wear-resistant and antistatic.

Depending on the manufacturer, on some batches of 928/MON boots the out-soles are made by another, less famous Italian manufacturer "DAVOS", which also provides boot out-soles for the Armed Forces of Italy and Switzerland. In any case, the out-sole are made of slippery-proof, wear-resistant, oil and petrol-resistant rubber with antistatic properties.

A pair of 928/MON boots weighs more than two kilograms - they are quite heavy even as for the military boots. Therefore, with all their comfort in use the owner of these boots must have sufficiently strong legs for long hikes in them. They work well in the cold season - at a temperature from about -20 C to +10 C.

928/MON are sturdy, high quality and easy to clean boots with good water resistant features. Due to their design, they usually do not rub the feet, under condition of proper choice of size/width. It is recommended to choose the boots 1-1.5 cm larger than the actual size of the feet.

Soft leather "collar" is stitched at the top of the boot, as well as on most modern Polish military boots. The design of these boots resembles the Swiss army boots model M-90 - both models have wide rubber rim on the boot's side (at the junction of the leather top and the out-sole), intended to protect the boot's top from damage when used in the mountains). Polish 928/MON boots also resemble Bundeswehr boots models 2005-2007 (construction with a minimum of seams , damping inserts on the back side, the design of the tongue, ventilation system etc.).

The lacing system consists of eight pairs of speed lacing D-rings or 4 rings below plus four pairs of lacing hooks on top. The elements of lacing system are allocated in two blocks: four pairs of lacing elements in the lower part and four pairs in the upper part of the lacing, in the middle part there is a pair of self-locking clamps for the laces.

The boots model 928 (wz.928) are produced by several companies, the largest of which are: "Kupczak", "Demar" and "WOJAS". Judging by the reviews of the Polish users of these boots, the best ones are made by "Kupczak" ("PHUP Products m. Kupczak."), which is the developer of the model. We can not say that all producers, except the developer, just make copies or fakes, but in this case the logo "Kupczak" is the sole standard of quality.

According to the Polish legislation, the developers of any boots model, approved for the national Armed forces, should hand off all the rights on the model the Ministry of Defence, so did the "Kupczak" company. After this the developing company use to received the right to participate in tenders for the supply of these boots on a competitive basis.

So one can see a curious situation: the materials use in the original model 928/MON manufactured by "Kupczak" are high in quality and quite expensive (for example, GORE-TEX® membrane is not so cheap). But the specification, approved by the Polish MON, is in fact a simplified and generalized version, compared with the "know-how" design of the developer (for example, the specification prescribes the use of leather, nylon, membrane fabric and lacing eyelets of stainless steel).

The process of boots manufacturing in accordance with the developer's specification does not imply that the quality of the used materials (nylon fibre, fabric membrane, leather and impregnation chemicals, stainless steel) and manufacturing accuracy shall be as good as the developer intended. All these minor discrepancies and deterioration of small details, invisible separately, but taken as a whole led to higher price of boots by "Kupczak", as they are made by higher quality standards compared to all the other manufacturers. And, as it was mentioned before, the process of "Kupczak" boots manufacturing involves more expensive and higher quality materials. However, the minimum requirements for the manufacture of 928/MON boots, in general, are kept by all the other suppliers. So, "Kupczak" always win all the competitors, if not to take into account the price of their boots.

However, during the decisions making about the boots contract manufacturer for the Armed Forces, the most serious is the question about the price. So the situation is typical, when the worst but more cheap boots producers win the tenders. In such a way "Demar" and "Wojas" companies, whose quality can be called no.2 and no.3 after the no.1 leader ("Kupczak") used to get contracts. It turned to the situation, when the Polish Ministry of Defence no longer ordered the army boots from "Kupczak" in the last couple years. Practically the entire contract was granted to "Wojas", which even does not use the GORE-TEX® membrane (instead of inscription "GORE-TEX®" inside the boot, the manufacturing company simply indicates "Wojas"), and makes use of the other, cheaper materials to offer less expensive final products.

This issue was vigorously discussed on the Polish discussion forums and the Poles did not hesitate to use strong expressions, for example, one user wrote:

"...Czemu KUPCZAKI są lepsze od Wojasów itp.?? I jeszcze raz zaznaczam że warto dać nawet i 400zł za Kupczaki bo za 400zl trudno kupić cywilne ODPOWIEDNIKI... ogólnie róznica jest taka jak między ORYGINALNYMI "ADIDAS" wyprodukowanych w Niemczech i "adidoss" z targu za 30zł.."

(Why ... "KUPCZAK" are better than "Wojas" etc. ?? ... I repeat it again, that I'd better prefer to give even 400 zloty for "KUPCZAKI", because it is difficult to find the appropriate civilian boots for 400 zloty... ... as a rule, the difference (between "Kupczak" and "Wojas") is just the same as between the original "Adidas" made in Germany and "adidoss" from the local market for just 30 zloty).

Among the other customer's reviews about these boots there were also: "... The boots by "Demar" are of higher quality than the "Wojas" boots, the first boots have more rigid out-soles and leather tops, and they need more time to "break in", but they will last longer than less durable "Wojas" boots with softer leather and stiffer rubber "rim" along the boot's sides. "Wojas" boots also feature thick laces which often use to be jammed in the clamp for laces in the centre of the lacing system. "Demar" boots, in opposite, show no problems with the same laces from the "Wojas" boots.

Both companies ("Demar" and "Wojas") are considered to have lower standards of production at a lower price, as compared with the original manufacturer. At present "Kupczak", the company-developer of the 928/MON boots is no longer manufacturing this model by contracts for the Polish Armed Forces.

There are almost no supplies of such boots on the military warehouses - the stocks of this model just have been exhausted over time, and that makes "Kupczak" 928/MON boots the true treasure for those who know such details and picky in footwear.

The original 928/MON boots by the original manufacturer are quite expensive, they are made in Poland only, where they stand about 650 zloty (157 Euros). But similar boots by "Wojas" can be found for just 150 zloty (36 Euros), and they can be manufactured in Slovakia or some other countries.

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