West German Paratroopers’ Boots

Today’s post is a little unusual as it covers a piece of militatia that is neither British, Empire nor Commonwealth. West German paratrooper boots were however coveted by British troops and extensively used by someBritish units in Northern Ireland during the troubles when the standard British Army boot was still the inadequate DMS boot. The West German paratrooper boot is a highleg design, made of a dark brown leather:

These boots have been modified at some point and the metal studs on the bottom are not standard issue:

What made these boots so appealing to the British soldier was the high leg design that meant that puttees could be dispensed with, although there was of course the downside that there were far more eyelets for laces so it took longer to do the boots up:

Of even more importance however was the fact that the tongues were sewn into the boots so that they were far more waterproof than the older designs:

The boots have a thick, protective toe cap:

The back of the boot has a thick reinforcing strap up the rear:

The size, 9 1/2, is stamped into the leather around the boot top:

These boots tended to be worn on patrols in the countryside of Northern Ireland rather than in urban areas. They were also more prevelant in some units than others, such as the Royal Marines who particularly liked them. The dark brown colour encouraged many to dye them black to better blend in with official British Army issue kit, but like anything else not offically approved they quickly gained ‘ally’ status- the old belief by all soldiers that any kit issued by someone else is better than that issued to them by their own military! By the 1990s high leg combats had been issued by the British Army, so these were less obviously different and even today some troops swear by German paratrooper boots:

I’ve worn German paras since I was an idle uni student. Just dubbin’d my latest pair yesterday. Had em for ages, cost me 29 quid. The sole went on them eventually and I shelled out for them to be resold with a ninja vibram sole. Cost me fifty fecking quid. Worth it though. Super broad fitting as well for hobbit feet.A handsome looking old school boot, especially when accessorised with chunky leather laces

One comment

  1. I do not think these are West German Paratroopers boots. No British Soldier would have got away with wearing brown leather boots with metal studded leather soles in Northern Ireland! If they are marked nine and a half they are not even German as continental sizes are 41, 42, 43 etc.

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