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ARMY BOOTS OF THE WORLD. REVIEWS

Military Boots of the Netherlands - Model M90 (M400)

In the mid-1990s the Dutch Armed Forces transferred from the model M66 army boots (brown and black) to model M90 black boots (the so-called "Militaire Legerkisten M90 Landmacht Model"), developed by "Bata Industrials" and adopted in the year 1990.

It is worth mentioning, that these model M90 boots are also called model M400 - this is just an internal development code of the manufacturer, and can be found mainly on the dedicated Dutch-language forums and web-sites. In such a way these boots got double identification name, used by military and manufacturers. The name M90 is used much more.

As it was mentioned in the other military boots reviews of the present series (dedicated to the Dutch and German military footwear), the Dutch themselves colloquially use the following slang words to call their army boots: "Legerkisten", "Legerlaarzen" ("army chests", "war chests") and "Legerschoenen "("military boots"). Sometimes these words combinations in the title include the word "Gevechts" ("Combat"), so we can see, for example, the name "Gevechtslaars".

The most characteristic features of M90 boots, as compared with the model M66, are the improved design and overall construction, which became closer to the anatomically correct shape; the out-sole is made of double-layer nitrile rubber; a wide soft cushion on the top edge of the boots was added, as well as padded tongue and grey-coloured "glove"-leather lining inside the boots - all these novelties give very comfortable feeling when worn.

Speed lacing system of seven pairs of eyelets has been replaced by five pairs of speed lacing eyelets at the top, hook-clamp for laces below and two lower pairs of simple round eyelets. The soft padded tongues of these boots feature "D"-shaped rings to fix lacing.

At that time almost the same transformation occurred with the standard US army "Mildew-Resistant Speed-Lace" boots. The early versions of these boots featured full-scale quick-lacing system, consisting of ten pairs of cylindrical eyelets. Since 1994, due to the uselessness, the low-most two pairs of cylindrical eyelets were replaced with simple round eyelets

The new M90 boots are supplied with new type insole, consisting of a special three-layer material (cloth) "Saran", that provide temperature and humidity regulation inside the boots due to air cushion. This "Saran" insole has anti-fungal and shock-absorbing properties as well.

M90 boots are black-coloured only, they are made of soft and flexible hydrophobic leather, they feature DMS (direct-moulded soles), as well as the previous M66 model. The toe and the counter are protected with plastic "toe-cap" and the plate accordingly.

Among the major developers and manufacturers of the Dutch army boots one should mention three companies:

"Bata Industrials",

"Gerba B.V." (the other variants of this name "Gerba - NL", "Gerba - Windsor legerschoenen" can be also found) and "Lavoro".

The first company of this list is the largest manufacturer and supplier of military footwear not only for the Armed Forces of the Netherlands, but for the other countries too. For example, the company's boots were supplied to the US Army during the Vietnam War and until the end of the 1980s.

"Bata" has been supplying the American troops with the famous "jungle" boots: the early models featured "Vibram" out-soles (the presented photo shows the appearance of the out-soles, produced in 1967);

next models came with the "Panama"-type out-soles (the photo shows the out-soles produced in 1988). One can see the italic inscription of "Bata" logo.

Thomas Bata, who founded "Bata Industrials" footwear company in 1894, began production of boots in Zlin (Czechoslovakia). Further on the talents and efforts of Thomas Bata turned the company into one of the leading enterprises in Europe.

After the successful start of footwear production in Czechoslovakia, Bata decided to build his factories in other countries, including the Netherlands.

In 1922, the first boot shop "Bata" was opened in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, on July 12, 1932 the company's founder lost his life in the plane crash nearby his industrial complex. His son, Thomas Bata Jr., inherited the family business and founded "Bata Shoe Organisation" holding.

"Bata" has acquired a plot of land in the municipality of Best town to build an industrial complex and Batadorp (Bata Village in Dutch), which was the exact copy of the company's headquarters buildings in Zlin.

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