Gentleman's Query

1940’s Boots Alpine Style

The other day, I received an email from a British reader who was enamored with the idea of getting himself a pair of boots from the mid 1940’s. He sent me a picture and asked where he could find such a boot. At first, I thought a specific pattern such as this would be something for a custom bootmaker, but most of them create dress boots rather than heavier leather boots for hiking and working.

1940's Boot

1940's Boot

Personally, I am not an avid wearer of this type of work boots. I own only one pair from an industrial brand totally unassociated with fashion,  and although I am happy with them when I work outside, I never wear them in combination with anything other than jeans. This particular boot has a special heel and square tow, which indicates that it was actually a ski boot thought the reader specifically wanted a work boot. In any case, I was interested to see if I could answer our reader’s question and perhaps find a more stylish pair.

I began my search in Britain, the home of our reader. The trick was to find a black leather boot with a leather sole; most boots these days have some kind of synthetic or rubber sole, which eliminates the majority of bootmakers. With this criteria, I found the Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot at Zalando UK. Although it comes in black leather, the details are obviously different. The welt does not go all the way around, the sole is brown, the uppers are cut differently and there are only three hooks at the top. Also, if you look more closely, the last of the Wolverine has a more rounded shape.

Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot

Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot

Knowing that there were numerous companies in the US that produced boots during WWII, I tried to find a stateside manufacturer of these kind of boots. Most boots that I came across were styled roughly in the same manner as the Wolverine.

Schuh-Bertl, Munich

And so, I had to branch out a little further and found the Munich-based company Schuh-Bertl. Solid boots are one of their specialties. Interestingly, they featured a good-year welted alpine boot that looked rather similar to the model I was searching for:  all black, completely welted, and squared-toed with hooks for closure. Of course, the upper is not identical, though considering that it is difficult to find such boots at all, I think it is pretty close.

However, since I am not a historic work boot expert, I was wondering if anyone here can tell me where one can purchase such boots. I look forward to your comments below!

 

 

Schuh Bertl Alpine Boot

Schuh Bertl Alpine Boot

4 replies
  1. Carl Wilhelm
    Carl Wilhelm says:

    Hi!

    The 1940’s boot on the picture above is probably not made for working in the first place, but for skiing and other sporting activities. The somewhat squared shape of the sole and the design of the heel suggests that the boot is made to be adaptable with an old fashioned cable ski binding. My old army boots looks pretty much the same way and I have somtimes used them with skis.

    Unfortunately, i do not kow if and where you can by these anymore, but I used to see them i military surplus stores.

    Charlie

  2. Sven Raphael Schneider
    Sven Raphael Schneider says:

    Dear Charlie, thanks for your comment. I should have mentioned that to begin with but for some reason I forgot. The reader was looking specifically for a work boot but thanks for pointing it out, I now added it to the article!
    In regards to sourcing, in what countries did you see them in military surplus stores?

  3. Carl Wilhelm
    Carl Wilhelm says:

    I’ve served in the Swedish army, where skiing obviously is part of the training. I suppose one could find this kind of boots in most countries where alpine skills are a military necessity.

  4. Gernot_Freiherr_von_Donnerbalken
    Gernot_Freiherr_von_Donnerbalken says:

    The type of boots which is searched for really reminds me of boots used by mountain troops in WWII. As I am a little fond of this issue I can tell, that such boots are unfortunately much harder to find as a reproduction than simple jackboots.
    Maybe this auction might be of interest, but I couldn’t tell any other, alas.

    http://www.ebay.de/itm/Gebirgsjager-Stiefel-Scharfschutzen-Wehrmacht-WH-WK2-/110730847952?pt=Militaria&hash=item19c812a6d0

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