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French military desert boots (hot climate boots) (Brodequins Zone Chaude Armée Française)

A new model of desert boots was adopted to equip the French Armed Forces in the early 2000s. It has become a part the French infantryman's combat system FÉLIN (Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégrées) - Integrated Infantryman Equipment and Communications), aka "le treillis Félin", the French analogue of American "Future Force Warrior" and British "Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST)".

After winning the tender of March 2004, the French company "Sagem Défense Sécurité" - a part of TNS (Thales, Nexter Systems, Sagem (groupe Safran)) were designated to carry out the Felin1 program, along with 25 subcontractor companies.

These French boots for arid and hot climate are primarily intended for use in harsh desert conditions of the North African region. The boot's top is made of thick cowhide suede and nylon ("Cordura"+1100) inserts, all brown-colored, and provide both ventilation and resistance to physical and mechanical stress.

The upper part of the boot features soft leather cuffs of more light-colored leather intended to grip the legs tightly and to prevent the ingress of extraneous dust and small objects.

The lining inside the boot is made of mesh breathable "Cambrelle" material (capable of absorbing moisture 5 times more than its own weight), which, being combined with "Cordura" inserts provide good heat balance and sweat disposal, as well as favorable micro climate even under extreme temperature differences inherent to the deserts. The lacing system consists of eight pairs of simple round eyelets. The sole is made of black vulcanized dense rubber of medium hardness.

The soles of these boots are fixed to the top by classical gluing and stitching method (the so-called "Goodyear Welt Construction"). The tread pattern of the sole is simple, and is formed of big angular protrusions of different configurations. This pattern allows to provide good grip on different surfaces and stable position of the feet when walking.

Among the manufacturers of these boots one should mention such well-known manufacturers of "Rangers" BMJA-65 black boots as "Marbot" and "Argueyrolles".

Most often these boots are used by French Air Force ground services personnel in Africa (Chad, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger) and in Afghanistan, in particular by the technical staff of military bases.

We can say that these desert boots ("Brodequins Zone Chaude") is something average between light canvas-and-rubber "Pataugas" and strong-and-stiff leather "Rangers". The French, being addicted to their traditional almost Juche-like "self-reliance", did not borrow the ideas of fairly successful American desert boots model, which became the further development of the "jungle boots" concept. The French had their early ideas and achievements, whose influence can be traced in the design of the modern French desert boots.

This can be proved by consideration of the design of French "Morvan"-made boots which date back to the Indochina war.

These boots are made definitely for hot climate, mainly arid, but, to some extent, too, they may go well in hot and wet climate as well. The top of the boot is made of leather (the lower part near the sole) and canvas: all are brown-colored. The top is attached to the leather mid-sole by robust double stitching and glue, the leather sole is attached to the solid vulcanized rubber tread by glue and twenty-boot nails (5 on each heel and 15 - along the welt of the sole), the overall impression of the construction is that it's very reliable and strong.

The lacing system is provided by five pairs of simple round eyelets, made of stainless steel. The tongue is not sewn to the top of the boot by side stitches. On the one hand it provides better ventilation, but on the other hand it allows penetration of moisture and small pebbles inside the boots. The marking of the boots is almost the same as in the contemporary "Pataugas".

The tread pattern of the sole is "semicircular studding" imitating padding with nails, as it was in older models of French low military boots. The soles and heels bear the name of the manufacturer - "Morvan", and size in the European (French) metric.

In addition, the analogs of contemporary French desert boots design can be traced in the commercial footwear of the 1950s. In the right figure one can see the advertising of the year 1955 catalog of the French company "Pataugas". The picture shows the obvious similarity between the modern French desert boots and the models, referred to as "Le Matrien Nouveauté de Pataugas" ...

The photographs of the "Brodequins Zone Chaude" boots can be seen on the French soldiers from the armed forces and the Foreign Legion, but quite often they wear the boots from other manufacturers. In particular, the French soldiers can be often seen in "Lowa Elite Desert", the German-made desert boots.

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