Bootmakers MEINDL recently sent us a pair of their new Equator Alpha GTX patrol boots, in MoD Brown and incorporating the very latest Gore-Tex technology, for review in C&S Magazine.
In 2014 I had the opportunity to try out very early examples of German boot manufacturer Meindl’s EQUATOR GTX boots, in the hot and high karst landscape of El Torcal de Antequera nature reserve in Spain; see our December 2014 issue. Although outwardly a lightweight desert boot, this new model was designed around the latest generation of Gore-Tex® thin three-layer EXTENDED COMFORT breathable laminates engineered to perform without extra insulation.
Roll forward two years and not only have Meindl updated this desert boot design, but W.L.Gore & Associates have also expanded their EXTENDED COMFORT laminates portfolio to cater for three different categories of combat boot; namely HIGH LIABILITY, TACTICAL and PATROL. The resultant marriage of the new boot design and new laminates is the Meindl Equator Alpha GTX waterproof desert boot, which tips the scales at just 612 grammes for UK size 10.5 or EU size 45, but offers protection from pathogens yet allows the foot to breathe in very high ambient temperatures.
The new Gore-Tex EXTENDED COMFORT ePTFE membrane laminates were scheduled for a Press Launch at the IWA hunting and shooting show in Nuremberg a few days before this issue of C&S hit the newsstands but, to allow us to try out the new Equator Alpha GTX while on assignment in the Emirates in February, Meindl sent us a pair in UK MoD brown colourway beforehand and Gore-Tex sent us the launch info a fortnight in advance. Thanks all.
As should be obvious from the photos, from the sole upwards the Equator (sand) and Equator Alpha (brown) models are essentially of very similar construction, though the Alpha has extended heel protection and its lace tunnels and hooks are of more substantial design than the earlier model’s pressed plate style. The biggest difference between the two boots is the composite sole, with the bought-in Vibram outsole now being dropped in favour of one of Meindl’s own design. I had no issues with this new sole design out in the Gulf.
The one area where these lightweight boots really stand out is in the breathability & waterproof stakes, with the new Gore-Tex EXTENDED COMFORT laminate fabric taking them into a different realm. These latest generation fabrics fall into three classes, aimed at different operational scenarios: HIGH LIABILITY EXTENDED COMFORT laminate boots are intended for multi-day missions over harsh terrain carrying heavy loads; TACTICAL EXTENDED COMFORT boots are lightweight and agile, intended for shorter missions carrying lighter loads in warm and hot climates, without sacrificing durability and waterproof properties; and PATROL EXTENDED COMFORT boots are intended to be the ideal solution for “everyone with heightened expectations regarding breathability performance and heat loss”.
This new three-layer laminate construction without separate inner lining means that the boots take up hardly any water and dry out more quickly. I am a firm convert to this new technology.
This article with detail images of the boots was first published in the
April 2017 issue of COMBAT & SURVIVAL Magazine.
Images © Bob Morrison