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ARMY BOOTS OF THE WORLD. REVIEWS
Although Belgian boots look a bit like the French "Rangers", only without buckles at the top, the Belgian "ankle boots" differ with their characteristic unique design, and in the recent years they have been the subject of copying.
The main difference between the Belgian army boots from the similarly-looking boots of other countries is, of course, the marking. All the Belgian military boots (as well as the uniform and the other field equipment) are necessarily labelled "ABL" (Armèe Belge / Belgisch Lèger) which means "The armed forces of Belgium" in French (Walloon) and Dutch (Flemish).
The list of manufacturers Belgian army boots leather top:
"GESKA" ("Geska" NV) - the full name of this company was "A. Geyskens en Kinderen" from Testelt, and Rugak was sub company from Geska.
According to the information, kindly provided by Johan Geyskens (who belongs to the 4-th generation of Geyskens family), GESKA and RUGAK are the abbreviations:
RUGAK = RU (rubber)+ G (Geyskens) + A (Alfons) + K (kinderen = kids);
Alfons was the name of the grandfather, Kinderen (Kids) = 4 boys and 1 girl were the border of the company.
During the discussion with the author of this review, Mr. Johan Geyskens emphasized, that real GESKA-RUGAK boots were NEVER produced anywhere besides Testelt (Belgium), and all the rumors about production in Portugal and other European countries are just speculation or mistakes.
Of course, there have been many attempts to arrange the production of the copies of GESKA-RUGAK boots... For example, such an attempt was made by a South-Korean footwear manufacturer, but no good result was achieved, so the production was stopped. The unbeaten quality boots can not be copied without "know-how" secrets....
If to compare two most wide-spread kinds of GESKA-RUGAK boots, the following peculiarities are worth mentioning:
- the left boot was made with the use of RUGAK old sole (with nails in heel), while the upper leather was thinner than usually (normally the upper leather had 2,0-2,2 mm of thickness). These boots and we made also for ABL Scouting troops.
- the right boot was made with new sole, and the heel was attached with 2-component glue. The newer boots were manufactured in the 1990-th, their out-soles had better grip with different surfaces and more modern look.
Both boots had been made in Testelt, Belgium, though the latest out-sole bears no "BELGIUM" inscription.
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