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ARMY BOOTS OF THE WORLD. REVIEWS

Belgium

Belgian "Desert" ABL Boots

There are several types of Belgian military boots for hot and dry climate ("desert" boots). The oldest version is very lightweight, made of suede and canvas. The tread pattern of the out-sole is standard Italian "VIBRAM" design, and out-soles of these boots are manufactured by "MARGOM srl", an Italian company , located in Caronno Pertusella, a Lombardian town to the north-west of Milan.

In general, they are made similarly to the black "jungle ABL" boots, with the out-soles glued and stitched along the welt. The lacing system consists of eight pairs of round eyelets. The top edge of the boots and additional oblique reinforcement strips on the both sides of the boots are made of natural leather (suede) instead of nylon, which is used in German and American "desert" boots. In such a way, the main difference between these two types of boots ("jungle" and "desert") is the colour and type of leather used.

Later models of Belgian "desert" boots have undergone several changes. By their appearance, they began to resemble Danish"desert" boots (model R0001), manufactured by "LeBock" footwear company.

The out-soles of such boots are made of nitrile rubber and are actually of the DMS (Direct Moulded Sole) type. The tread pattern is a variant of the ones, used in the standard Dutch army models of the 1990s.

The upper edge of the boots top features soft cushioning "collar" and made of soft "glove"- type leather inside. The number of lacing eyelets was increased by one extra pair, but, in contrast to the same type Dutch or Danish boots, the speed lacing system is not used. The lacing system elements, instead of a continuous leather strips is divided into 2 parts: 4 pairs of eyelets near the instep and five pairs of eyelets in the upper part. Between them there is a recessed curve, intended for convenience of the feet joint folding. The laces are of the circular cross section, as opposed to flat laces, used in conventional black ABL boots of Belgium.

Recently, the Belgian armed forces which take part in the UN and NATO operations are increasingly using the Airpower "desert" boots by "HAIX" company. This comfortable boots are lined with Gore-Tex, and the uppers are made of suede and composite textile materials. These boots are also widely used by the German Bundeswehr and a number of other armies.

This example clearly shows that globalization has also affected the armed forces: the standardization of uniforms and boots is combined with the decreasing of the national characteristics in the details of uniforms and equipment. It can be assumed that the gain of the process will lead to the situation when, for example the national uniforms of the Spaniards or Belgians will not differ from the uniforms of the Brits or Germans, with the exception of national symbolics like sleeve flags and military ranks.

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