BOSP Combat Boots have been produced in the UNESCO World Heritage Site town of Bardejov in north-eastern Slovakia for over 25 years, writes Bob Morrison.
Footwear production commenced in Bardejov in 1956 and five years after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia the company OBUV-ŠPECIÁL (which translates into English as Special Footwear) was created to preserve the footwear industry in the town. A quarter of a century down the line, under their BOSP registered trademark, the company produces a wide range of military and blue light services boots and shoes as well as hiking and sports footwear.
In addition to supplying several BOSP footwear models to the Slovakian Armed Forces, OBUV-ŠPECIÁL also manufactures under contract for long term partners in other countries at their 21,500sqm factory and warehouse complex in Bardejov, just 20km from the Polish border. As their military boots are available through NSPA, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, other countries can buy them speedily from stock and they are also available for individual purchase through dedicated Czech, German and Polish online BOSP retail outlets. Here in the UK we don’t often see this Slovakian brand, but their boots are quite popular with Central European soldiers and police officers.
The four boot models I took off the BOSP display stand at IDEB 23 in Bratislava to photograph outside in natural light were: the Army Ranger HD, in tan; the Squad Special, in black; the Taras Army, in brown; and the Taras Mid, in black. All four models seen here use Gore-Tex laminate lining socks in their construction, but non-membrane boot models are also available.
- The Army Ranger HD is an 8-inch boot with 2.0-2.2mm thick suede cowhide and ballistic nylon textile uppers with a DAVOS rubber outsole and solid polyurethane midsole; lining is non-insulated Gore-Tex Extended Comfort.
- The Squad Special is a full leather uppers 8-inch boot with a VIBRAM rubber outsole and solid polyurethane midsole; lining is insulated Gore-Tex Performance Comfort.
- The Taras Army is is an 8-inch boot with 1.8-2.0mm thick cowhide leather and polyamide knitted fabric uppers with a composite RUBBERMAC outsole and polyurethane midsole; lining is insulated Gore-Tex Performance Comfort.
- The Taras Mid is a 6-inch version of the Taras Army with a VIBRAM rubber outsole and EVAc midsole; lining is non-insulated Gore-Tex Extended Comfort.
One final point: I have seen BOSP footwear being used in the field by Slovakian military personnel but I have not had the opportunity to try these boots out for myself. However those samples I have seen and handled have appeared to be well constructed and as the company has licence agreements in place with both GORE-TEX (WL Gore) and VIBRAM, who are companies that are particular about quality control and only having their brands associated with good reputation footwear manufacturers, this would suggest to me that they are most likely fit for purpose.
[images © Bob Morrison]