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Combat Boot Archives 9 ~ MEINDL Desert Fox CHL Boot

The following Footwear Archive article on MEINDL combat boots was published in the July 2013 issue of the now out-of-print COMBAT & SURVIVAL Magazine, writes Bob Morrison.


Archive: The latest [2012] contract to re-equip Britain’s armed forces with combat boots covers five different categories and two separate manufacturers using their own last designs will supply each category to ensure a higher percentage of troops are able to wear off-the-shelf footwear than if only one manufacturer’s products had been selected.


The lined mesh tongue gusset extends fairly high to keep out sand and debris [© BM]

In theory every soldier should be able to choose the one of two boot designs that better suits his or her feet (both male and female sizes cobbled on different lasts are also being catered for) thereby reducing the percentage of troops requiring specialist non-standard combat footwear and subsequently saving money.


This month [July 2013 issue] we have been trialling the eighth of the ten new brown boot styles being issued and the second in the Desert Combat High Liability (DCHL) category. Manufactured by MEINDL, the Desert Fox Pro model is an updated version of their earlier tan Desert Fox boot which was issued to British Forces in the last decade for frontline operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The other boot in this category is the Desert Scout from HAIX, which we briefly reviewed along with the HAIX Scout and Alaska models in our February [2013] issue.


The Desert Fox Pro uses the Vibram Multigriff (Multigrip) sole which was developed specifically for Meindl and carries their name [© BM]

Other than being brown, the Desert Fox Pro boot looks almost identical to the earlier model, but turn it over and you will immediately spot that the manufacturer has supplied their more general purpose Multigriff tread pattern sole this time.


Specifically designed for MEINDL by Vibram this tread has better self-cleaning properties in mud than in fine sand and gives more grip on rock and desert scree. As frontline UK Forces deployed on Operation HERRICK are not working so much in open desert these days it was specified by MoD Defence Equipment & Support that the DCHL must be fit for intensive combat use over terrain including “desert, sand, field, track, road, rubble and rock”.


Meindl describe their 9-point locking lacing system as DiGAfix [© BM]

Manufactured from brown suede velour with brown nylon mesh upper panels the new MEINDL boot has the same Clima lining, albeit in brown, as the earlier tan boot to give optimum breathability. Its collar, which has cream rather than brown lining, is not heavily padded but the suede and mesh tongue is.


The welt (rand) which binds the sole to the upper is not as deep on this boot as on its DCHL category competitor, meaning the heel and toe won’t be protected to the same degree from scuffs, but as the Desert Fox Pro is about 100 grammes lighter (UK Size 10) than the HAIX equivalent weight may be the deciding factor for the wearer.


It is no great secret that I have been wearing Alt-Berg desert boots, through choice, for close on sixteen years now [as of 2013] but whenever I have been on assignment in desert or arid regions I have taken a second pair of boots as back-up and to give my feet a break. Just one glance at the wear on the soles shows that my tan MEINDL Desert Fox boots have clocked up a rather high mileage. Enough said?

{ images © Bob Morrison 2013 }

My original Meindl Desert Fox boots are much cherished and have seen a lot of wear [© BM]

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