Zonkey Boot hand welted field boots

The Blucher Boot

Though the pedigree of SUVs, aviator’s watches or Blucher boots might not be obvious, it is their military background that gives these objects a more masculine touch, which a Balmoral Oxford might lack.

The Modern Boot And Shoe Maker’s 1917 edition refers to the 18th century Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher as the inventor of the original modern army bootee. A field marshal, von Blücher wanted for his infantry troops more comfortable footwear, ankle high, with an open front and a tongue attached —therefore easy to put on— and with a seamless counter and plain toe.

The boot he envisioned was adopted as the regulation footwear by many armies’ infantry divisions and its upper construction became known in the anglophone world as a ‘Blucher’. Interestingly, the Germans used, and still do, only the English term ‘Derby’ for the same base pattern construction.

With the Blucher an essential piece of equipment for the British Military and Navy, the demand became far greater than the manufacturing capabilities of the shoemakers. The craftsmen, who used to sew the boots by hand, faced technical challenges in industrialising the making process and not loose quality.

To deal with the issues and attempting to make the boots watertight, a ‘galosh’ leather piece was added to the pattern. This piece was sewn on top on top of the vamp, overlapping the quarters and extending to the counter. The new version became known as the ‘double boot’ or the ‘galoshed Blucher’.

Our Blucher boot, ZB 240 FIELD, is a refined interpretation of the military boot, with the ‘galosh’ made in sturdy hatch grain vegetable tanned leather and the ankle part in soft full-grain hunting suede.

Unlike the original regulation boot, our counter does not reach the top line of the upper to keep the leg part as comfortable as possible. The leather tab, traditionally sewn on top of a long leather counter, has been skipped for the same reason, and a textile pull tab took over the function.

For quick lacing we mounted metal eyelets and for sturdiness in the urban field, we opted for a hand welted construction with leather middle soles and commando rubber outer soles.

July 2019

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