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Dutch Military Boots of Models M/57

The armed forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands ("lower lands") consists of three arms: the Royal Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht - KLu), the Royal Army (Koninklijke Landmacht - KL) and the Navy (Koninklijke Marine - KM). The Royal Marine Corps (Korps Mariniers) is operatively subordinated to the Netherland's Navy.

In addition, under the auspices of the Netherlands Navy there are the Royal Military Police (Koninklijke Marechaussee - KMar) and a small contingent of recruited troops in the Caribbean: Aruba (Arumil) and Curacao (Antmil).

The Netherlands Antilles (Nederlandse Antillen) are in the Caribbean region. Since December 15th, 1954, this territory is self-governing, and on October 10, 2010 the Netherlands Antilles actually moved from state entities, which were a part of the Netherlands and became the separate self-governing territories of the Kingdom. Since the 1990s, the Dutch troops took part in the four major military campaigns in: Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan (Uruzgan Province).

Currently, the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands is female, her name is Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. In the late 1950s, the armed forces of the Netherlands began to use brown military boots of the models M/57. In fact, these boots were just a simplified version of the American "jump boots" of the 1940s. At first, they were provided to the paratrooper units, then - to the rest of the army, as well as it used to be in the United States.

The "jump boots" represent by themselves the high-lacing rubber-soled leather boots, intended to provide extra ankle support when landing by parachute. Such boots were issued to the paratroopers since the August 3, 1942, when the final model was approved by the specification of Boston Quartermaster Depot (BQD No. 58D). Although jump boots were to be replaced by the new type combat boots, they still continued to be worn throughout the war and even nowadays.

The first American "jump boots" were designed in 1941 by William P. Yarborough, and got the nickname "Corcorans" by the name of Corcoran®/Matterhorn® Company, a division of Cove Boot Company, located in Martinsburg-city, Pennsylvania. This Compamy was the first US Department of Defense contractor to manufacture these boots.

Almost from the very beginning, the "Corcoran" jump boots have become the symbol of elite status footwear for Rangers and paratroopers not only in the US, but almost all over the world. These boots are still manufactured, and very certain special forces and airborne soldiers are officially authorized to wear "Corcoran" boots with their dress uniforms as a sign of high qualification and merits.

The Dutch army boots model M/57 are practically compliant with the American specification for the russet-coloured chrome leather army boots, created in the year 1948 - the so-called "M1948 Boots, Service, Combat, Russet".

The boots M/57, as well as the American prototypes, are red-brown ("russet") in color, they differ with the reinforced toe and counter (extra layers of leather). On the inside of the boot's top there an additional suede strip is sewn down in order to keep the pants tucked in the boots and for more tight fit. The leather upper is processed by "shagreen" technology and was supposed to fat impregnation. The sole of the boot is made of thick cowhide with sewn and glued rubber tread.

So, if the Dutch M/57 boots are just a copy of the American boots, let's make a short historical tour.

In the previous years, the out-soles of the military boots were made of thick cowhide, but circa 1940 the US military began developing combat boots with rubber tread pattern. Soon the decision about the economy of scarce raw materials, which were used for production of high-quality boots, was made, and wide use of different alternative materials began. The resulting effect (serious drop in quality of the boots) was so strong that the US Armed Forces hastily abandoned the substandard substitutes by middle of 1942.

The previously used low boots with gaiters were extremely unpopular among the troops, because gaiters poorly fixed the ankles, they were inconvenient in use because the side lacing, the process of putting on and off the gaiters and low boots was long and uncomfortable, so a lot of complaints from the soldiers were received. Therefore, the further transition to high boots became simply inevitable. The original American boots, taken as an example to be copied, were as follows:

From 1956 to the 1970s these boots were issued in the black colour. The out-soles of the model M/57 Dutch boot, like the American ones, were reinforced with boots nails on the perimeter of the heel. The tread pattern is typical for the American army footwear - the ribbed shallow "grid". The in-depth holes were provided on the rubber heel for tamping nails.

Lacing system consisted of eleven pairs of round bronze eyelets. The flap of the boots tongue is semi-closed. The marking with the serial number and date of manufacture was applied by hot stamping on the outside of the upper side of the boots.

Actually, the Netherlands' military boots of the model M/57 can be distinguished from the American military boots only by the marking on the sole and the leather top. In the photo shown below one can see the marking of KL (Koninklijke Landmacht) - i.e. The Netherland's Army and the size, and soles and heels show "Indiana" - the logo of the manufacturer. "Indiana" is a Dutch company from Lelystad (Lelystad), which manufactures rubber soles even nowadays.

Since September 1, 1956 the US forces made transition from brown-coloured boots to the black-coloured ones, while the other characteristics of the "M1948 Russet Combat Boots" model boots remained unchanged. There you can see the photo showing the boots repainted from brown to the regulation-defined black colour by the soldiers themselves.

At the top of the boot shaft the "hot stamping" marking is specified. On the inside shaft the size and fullness of the boots are indicated (the picture shows size 43 and "B" ("Breed") width - i.e. for wide feet. On the outside shaft the 4-digit military identification serial number (in this case 8800) and the date of manufacture this pair of boots - the month and the year of production (1-67, i.e. January 1967) are indicated in the round-shape stamps.

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