To meet demand for a suede boot in UK MoD Brown produced on their last crafted for the female foot shape Alt-Berg have now produced the Desert Lady Elite.
If you have read C&S Magazine for any length of time you will be aware that even though I do my level best to review each and every model of boot sent in for review in as impartial a way as possible I inevitably have my favourites for specific purposes. The desert boots produced by Alt-Berg, the Yorkshire bootmakers, are one of those favourites as not only have they served me well throughout my eighteen year tenure as editor of this magazine but, just like company founder Mike Sheehan, what you see is precisely what you get.
It was way back in 1997 that I first put on a pair of Alt-Berg Desert Boots, which were essentially a derivative of the company’s successful Jungle Boot, to tackle the very first annual Toyota Desert Raid in the Sahara and, believe it or not, I still have these boots to this day. Times changed, the world moved on, off-road vehicles became even more sophisticated, and so too did combat boots. In due course Alt-Berg introduced their Desert Microlite boot, which many sensible British squaddies deploying operationally to desert theatres opted to privately purchase, and yours truly shunted his old ’97 model boots to the top shelf of the ceiling-high boot rack to make space for the new, and slightly lighter, kid on the block.
Roll forward to early 2012 and Alt-Berg had rolled out a range of footwear aimed specifically at the female police and military market, produced on a brand new last designed to better replicate the feminine foot shape (see March 2012 issue). Naturally, as many female soldiers were serving with the British Army in Afghanistan at that time, one of the first three new female boot styles to hit the market was the Lady Desert Elite in beige. In 2015, however, brown is the new beige for British troops heading to hot and/or arid climes so the Lady Elite Desert Boot In MoD Brown is also now available.
In mid-May, with the thermometer steadily climbing, my assistant Jitka and I went out to the Czech Republic to cover the IDET defence expo and to photograph Czech Airborne and Police Counter-Terrorist personnel. On the warmer days of our week-long trip to Brno, and when not wearing black, Jitka wore brown Lady Elite Desert Boots on her feet while dressed in khaki 5.11 shirts and trousers.
As we were on our feet for twelve hours each day at the show and we did a fair bit of exploring around Moravia on our days off following the show, the boots received a good pounding. On one particularly hot and humid day, when even my feet in my latest Gore-Tex technology Meindl Equator boots were feeling a tad on the hot side, Jitka expressed amazement at how dry her socks were when she took her Alt-Bergs off to check after a solid ten hour stint. My response was a simple “Told you so!”
Specification: The Lady Elite marries 2.2 to 2.4mm thick best quality suede uppers with fabric panels and Cambrelle ultra-breathable fast-drying lining to a Vibram Tsavo sole with micro-cushion mid-layer. To prolong the life of the uppers use Alt-Berg’s Leder-Bök spray.
¤ This article with detail images of the boots was first published in the July 2015 issue of Combat & Survival Magazine.
Images © Bob Morrison