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Swiss military boots - Kampfstiefel 90 (KS90)

KS90 (Kampfstiefel 90) are the military boots of Switzerland (model of the year 1990). These boots has become a part of a new military equipment set, which have been used by the Swiss armed forces since 1990 along with the new camouflage TAZ90 (Tarnanzug Modell 1990).

The material of the boot's upper is thick and durable 100% natural high-quality grain leather. The inside layer is light-yellow soft and durable "glove"-type leather, which is aimed at protection of the feet areas, which are most exposed to friction and mechanical injuries. For example, the malleolus bones of the legs are covered with additional layers of thin leather and foam wadding. The multilayer construction of the leather upper allows one's feet feel warm and dry. The height of these boots are about 21 cm and the weigh is about 1750 grams for a pair of boots. Between the leather upper and the out-sole a protective rubber sealing tape goes along the welt, as it uses to be in the modern mountain boots.

The dual-layer boot's tongue is marked and stitched high to the sixth pair of eyelets (counting from the bottom of the lacing), allowing one to walk through shallow and middle-depth puddles without water ingress inside the boots. To protect the upper part of the foot under the laces, the design of the Swiss military boots features additional folded "shutters" of leather.

The lacing accessories (speed-lacing system eyelets) are labeled with the manufacturer's name - "STOCKO". This brand belongs to the "YKK Stocko Fasteners GmbH" company of Wuppertal, Germany, a multi-year contract provider of the Bundeswehr and some other NATO armies. The lacing system, counting upwards from the bottom, consists of the three pairs of "D"-shaped rings, a pair of hook clamps for keeping the laces firm and four pairs of speed-lacing eyelets. The upper of the Swiss KS90 boots look very similar to the top of the old German Bundeswehr boots (the so-called "Alte Art Kampfstiefel"), which were used in the 1970-80s.

The KS90 boots, made by different manufacturers feature various lacing system eyelets, made either of steel and bronze, black painted or unpainted (shiny stainless steel).

The information about the Swiss military boots manufacturers are stamped on the boot's tongue, in two lines. The top line indicates the boot's size in millimeters (e.g. 295 - according to the "Mondopoint" system),, width (e.g. 7), and Swiss military contract number. The chart size of European and Swiss boot sizes is listed in the table below:

Groößentabelle Stiefel / Schuhe
Schweizer Armee Größe250255260265270275280285290295300305310315320
EU Größe38394040414242,54344454646,5474849

The bottom line indicates the manufacturer, among the most common names are: "MINERVA" and "BALLY", more rare are such names as "LOWA", "RECK", "DEON", "ELGG", "VELTHEIM" ( "Aeschlimann"), "RAICHLE" ( "Mammut") ...

The soles of Swiss army boots are composite in construction and consist of polyurethane and nitrile rubber, the marking on the out-sole indicates the manufacturer ( "DAG", "gg", "Maloy", "Astra" etc...). The tread pattern is a Swiss licensed modification of conventional "Vibram" soles. The edge of the boot's welt is covered with protective rubber strip.

The tread pattern provides good adhesion to most surfaces and the lugs configuration elements is slightly different for different manufacturers (in particular, on the edges of the heels and in the shape of the squared "crosses" in the center of the out-sole). The size, width, and the year of manufacture use to be indicated with white paint on the bottom of the out-sole, in one or two lines, or omitted, because this information is indicated on the tongue as well.

The Swiss KS90 boots are quite comfortable and soft, but they also have an inherent weakness, similar to, for example, Bundeswehr boots of Model 2000 and, sometimes, Models 2005/07. When the boots are improperly stored, overheated or overdried, small fractures can appear between the out-soles and protective sealing rubber tape the goes along the welt. The moisture easily penetrates into these micro-cracks, starting a hydrolysis chemical reaction with the polyurethane foam-shock-absorbing layer, whereby the sole crumbles and ravels slowly but inevitably.

From my personal experience of checking out the used Swiss military boots, most boots that showed degradation were produced by such manufacturers as "BALLY" and "MINERVA"- i.e. the most popular manufacturers.

At the same time it should be noted that Swiss KS90 boots, manufactured recently show the slightly changed out-soles. Instead of broad protective rubber strip and glued soles they feature more advanced soles (they seem to be Direct Molded soles), covering the lower part of the boot's shanks. The photos below (051) depicts the boots, produced by "MINERVA"company in the year 2012.

Besides the features of the out-soles and the rubber side-bands (the joint of the boots upper and sole), all the other constructive elements remain unchanged - the out-sole tread pattern, lacing system, etc. Perhaps the most characteristic feature of these boots is the DMS attachment method.

KS90 boots are to be stored and carried in a backpack inside a canvas bag with lace on top.

Before the introduction of Swiss army equipment set model M90, the footwear care set case was made of gray vinyl material, with rivet-fastened pockets for brushes, creams etc.

When the Swiss TAZ 90 (TarnAnZug 90, or TASS 90 in French) camouflage was introduced, it got the name "Swiss Woodland", or just "Swiss forest camouflage" in the other countries. The Swiss army introduced the footwear care set in TAZ90 camouflage cases, very similar to the previous gray vinyl ones, but made of laminated vinyl-lined waterproof fabric. It features the same pockets with rivets, and the folding edges are fastened with wide "Velcro" ribbon. A special pocket for the owner's name tab is provided on the upper outer side.

This set consists of brushes for cleaning clothes and boots, two black metallic tubes with boot polish, with the inscriptions: "SCHUHCREME" - "CREME POUR CHAUSSURES" (03 or 09 sara lee), small brush for applying the cream (in a special carrying case), a wooden pallet and a sewing set consisting of needles, multi-colors threads binding, Swedish pins and other small necessary things.

If to look closely at this camouflage set, one can see small inscriptions pointing, that this boot care set belongs to the ARMED FORCES OF SWITZERLAND: "SCHWEIZER ARMEE" and "ESERSITO SVIZZERO" ...

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