Luftwaffe Late War Flying Boots
These boots represent something of an enigma. At first glance they matched fairly closely the pair illustrated in Mick Prodger’s Luftwaffe V RAF Flight Clothing reference book bottom of page 150, described by him as: ‘‘Towards the end of the war, quality declined visibly in manufacture of all flying clothing and equipment, and nowhere is it more obvious than in flying boots. These late war boots are made from a patchwork of dyed leather and unfinished suede, the single zip fasteners are made from black plastic, and the metal fittings are crudely cast and shaped from steel or zinc’. In checking the detail of our boots we noted minor variances between left and right although they came in together and are both named to same chap so have clearly been issued and used as pair. One has an eclectically heated label sewn in although no signs of it being a heated boot but we have noted possible evidence where a heating snap may have been removed. In addition the friction clips on the top leg straps are to a slightly different pattern, as are the snaps. The zips are a matched pair by Ri-Ri of plastic economy style; one features a leather pull tab and the other does not. The last shape is sharper than early war issue boots and the soles are leather rather than the rubber ‘Willop’ pattern. The other unusual thing is no bottom straps over instep are fitted and in checking the detail no sign of these having been removed. Both boots carry RB number labels and include what we believe to be the owners initials R.B.Y. We have subsequently discussed these discrepancies with Mick Prodger and between us have come to the conclusion these are probably a pair of reconditioned/reissued boots characteristic of late war production. The Germans, like everyone else, had a shortage of raw materials like rubber and metal by 1944; worn and damaged RAF Irvin jackets were repaired, reconditioned and reissued in just the same way. Sadly we don’t have any provenance with the boots but as we have often said if they could only talk they would certainly have a story to tell! So whilst not an exact matched pair we believe their current condition is as they were used in service in the final stages of WW11 circa 1944/45 and would sit happily as such in a collection or on a mannequin. The leather and suede sections are in generally good display condition, the zips are fully functional and the interior sheepskin lining is actually very good indeed. The leather soles and rubber heel tips are sound and do not show excessive wear. So now you have it. If you like your kit ‘mint and boxed’ these are probably not for you. If however you like kit that has certainly been well used and representative of service condition in the closing stages of WW11 then these could be just the ticket. If of possible interest please drop us a line for a range of detailed photographs that will fully illustrate exactly what we have on offer.