When the British Army started operation in Afghanistan there were constant complaints about the quality of the footwear issued and men routinely swapped, borrowed or bought non-issue boots to better deal with the rigours of operations. Commercial companies such as Lowa and Altberg quickly became firm favourites with troops and the MOD finally recognised this and started purchasing issue boots from these sources. Tonight we have a pair of desert Lowa combat boots to look at:These boots entered official British Army service in 2007, as seen in this extract form the ‘Black Book’ of military kit issues by the army:These boots are still manufactured by Lowa and officially have the title ‘Desert Elite Coyote’. Their website gives more details on the boots:These boots can be dated by the series of pin holes on the tongue which show the size (9) and the date of manufacture (December 2009):The boots are made of suede type material with a high ankle design:The maker’s name is embossed into the suede:Ventilation panels are fitted to each side to allow air in to the boot:These could become clogged with fine sand so brushes were used to clean them out periodically. The soles of the boots are thick and with well-defined grips to ensure good traction on rough terrain:A label is sewn into each tongue with details of sizing and indicating that the boots were made in Germany:A Lt Colonel Tredder said in 2010:
I’m personally really pleased that we are giving guys top-of-the-range equipment, things like Lowa boots – you just don’t get any better than that.
These boots were very popular, but the army quickly realised that men often had personal preferences and so eventually offered a small range of boots so men could find the ones that suited them best. These boots were used extensively on operations until the introduction of MTP uniforms saw them slowly replaced with brown boots that better matched the new camouflage.