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"Hybrid" footwear of the Swiss Army: buckles and cuffs and "grenadier" boots

Between the ankle "mountain" boots and KS90 boots the Swiss armed forces have been using an intermediate version of the military boots, featuring cuffs with straps and two buckles. Externally they resembled a "hybrid" of French BMJA-65 "Rangers", Italian boots with cuffs and old Swiss ankle boots. The lacing system consisted of hooks in the upper part of the lacing and "D"-shaped half-ring in the lower part. Under the lacing one can see the traditional Swiss folding "shutters" of overlapping leather. The boot's top is made of smooth leather, the boots inside are lined with soft light-colored "glove"-type leather.

The out-sole is stitched and glued, the tread pattern is the classic "Vibram". By chance the author of this review managed to take a good look at two pairs of such boots, and the out-soles were marked with the following manufacturer names "SKYWALK" and "DAVOS".

The second, quite a rare type of Swiss military boots is the so-called "grenadier" boots ("Grenadierstiefel"). The photo below show such boots, manufactured by "BALMER SCHUH".

These Swiss boots are in fact a "hybrid" of boots from neighboring Alpine countries - Austria and Italy. The lower part of the boots and the lacing system, consisting of six pairs of simple round eyelets, the single cut upper (without separation of ankle and top parts of the boot) as well as the use of thin leather lining remind clearly the Italian ("Scarpe militari:" Anfibi "da para).

The other features of the "grenadier" boots clearly resemble the Austrian light boots (Leichtschuh), especially the top of the lacing (but six pairs of hooks, not four as on the Austrian boots), additional leather pads on the heels as well as a typical Austrian out-soles with "Vibram" tread pattern.

The late "grenadier" boots by "Balmer" feature more advanced "Vibram® Fourà" out-soles. Usually black "Vibram" label on the sole is used for military boots, while bright yellow label is for commercial products. So the Swiss "grenadier" boots shown on the photos below can be identified as clearly commercial. At the same time in the web one can find the photos of the Swiss soldiers in just the same boots, though quite seldom.

One can assume that the so-called "Grenadier Stiefel" ("grenadier" boots) are not the statutory military boots of the Swiss army, but, being purchased privately, they are allowed for use during the military service, as these boots meet the appropriate quality requirements. In favor of this hypothesis is the fact that, according to Swiss law, if a recruit (who was determined fit for military service and wants to serve) has any problems with his feet, he is allowed to choose any of the from the approved list instead of the statutory KS90 boots. Of course, this is possible by the written consent of an orthopedic doctor.

Considering the matters concerning the Swiss military footwear, the weight values of the boots and gaiters are also worth mentioning. According to the Swiss military Regulation "Reglement 51.009 d", section "Bekleidung und Packungen" ("Clothes and accessories for luggage"), Appendix 2, Weight Table (average) ("Anhang 2", "Gewichtstabelle (Mittelwerte)", the weight of a pair of items is as follows:

- Combat boots, model of the year 1990 (Kampfstiefel KS90) = 2,270 kg;

- Mountain boots, consisting of 2 components (Schalenschuh) = 2,610 kg;

- Boot inserts (inner boots) to the mountain 2-component plastic boots (Innenschuh zu Schalenschuh) = 0,850 kg;

- Swiss Air Force ground personnel boots, model of the year 2005 (Stiefel Fliegerbodenpersonal 05) = 1,750 kg;

- Work boots, model of the year 2002 (Arbeitsschuhe 02) = 1,110 kg;

- Gaiters, model of the year 1990 (Gamaschen 90) = 0,250 kg.

Also the "Reglement 51.009 d" provides instructions for boot care, drying and cleaning. Paragraph 54 (Kampfstiefel 90 und Kampfstiefel schwer 14) recommends to:

- Remove the insoles of the boots to dry on a daily basis;

- Use padding of crumpled paper to eliminate the excessive moisture, and replace the wet padding as necessary;

- Dry the boot in a place with good air circulation, not close to the sources of heat, if possible, one can hang the boots to dry;

- Clean the boots with brush, or wash them, depending on the degree of soiling;

- Make the boots shiny only after drying of boot cream, which has been applied beforehand, or use the boot spray only which contains no solvents in their composition.

The next clause № 55 (named "Schalenschuh") recommends to:

- Remove the inner boots (liners) from the mountain 2-component plastic boots and dry them daily, and the insoles are to be taken out to dry fully;

- Dry the external plastic boot's housing and the inserts in places with good air circulation and keep them away from strong sources of heat;

- If the plastic part of the composite boot is slightly dirty or just dusty, it can be just wiped out, but if the soiling is strong, washing and drying are recommended;

- At least once a month the leather inserts (internal boots) are to be treated with shoe polish, then dried and shine-polished.

Rubber boots are also used in the Swiss army. These rubber high boots feature steel toe cap and the out-soles with the same tread pattern, as on the older-fashioned mountain ankle boots - the Swiss version of the Vibram, with small square-shaped lugs in the center of the out-sole elements and strips, radially placed perpendicular to the sole edge. Strap loop is provided at the top rear side of each Swiss green rubber boot for the ease of pulling-on and hang-drying.

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