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Mittet Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather

The Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather manufactured by Mittet AS can be worn with snowshoes, as here by Norwegian infantry during Exercise COLD RESPONSE 2016 [© Carl Schulze]

Carl Schulze, just back from serving on NATO Exercise NORDIC RESPONSE in the Arctic, looks at Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather from Mittet.

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Trench foot and frostbite are two of the dangers soldiers face when operating in cold and sub-zero conditions. Both are easy to catch and usually the problem starts with the feet getting wet. Wellington boots or specially designed military cold weather boots are one solution to the issue, but walking in these things is often tiresome and they add a considerable weight to what you already carry in your rucksack. With the ‘Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather’, the Eidsnes-based Norwegian company Mittet AS offers a light, extremely effective, and affordable solution that will keep your feet dry and warm.

Mittet Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather are the piece of kit you want when operating in and over snow covered terrain [© Carl Schulze]

The Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather are not a new item. Actually, the opposite is the case, as they have produced and marketed for well over 30 years and have proved have popular among soldiers ever since. Over the years the overboots have been modified and improved many times. The sole material, for example, has been changed from high-density polyurethane to a cold-resistant and highly insulating microporous polyurethane to reduce heat and cold penetration. Another improvement made over the years has been the introduction of a waterproof zip and velcro-style closure, making it easier to get in and out of the overboots.

In size EU 43/44 (UK 9.5/10 or US 10/10.5) a single overboot weighs 461 grammes, so a pair of them only weigh 922 grammes [© Carl Schulze]

In 2015 these overboots were given the NATO Stock Number (NSN) 8430-25-161-2691/99 and SAP item number 30133021-29R. Against this background, it is not surprising that the overboots have been adopted by quite a number of military forces, first of all those of Norway. Among the other nations that followed suit are France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The soles of the Thermal Overboots feature nubs shaped like a flat suction cup which provide good traction and footing even when walking on sheer ice [© Carl Schulze]

Fit Most Combat Boots: The Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather fit most army issue combat boots. In Northern Norway Joint-Forces tested them in combination with the Scout boot manufactured by the German HAIX Schuhe Produktions und Vertriebs GmbH. This boot is one of the standard issue boots of the German Armed Forces.

A quick-release drawstring system attached to middle section of the overboots allows them to be tighter aligned with your combat boot[© Carl Schulze]

Getting in and out of the overboots is quite easy and made even more pleasant by a high instep. You just open the hook & loop (Velcro?) covered front zip right to the bottom end of the instep and then slide in or out with your combat boot. If you want to secure the overboots tighter to your combat boot, a drawstring is available that features a quick-release. Once you have closed the front zip and its Velcro cover, the shaft of the overboot goes right up to just under your knee. A fix-lock system on the inside of the upper end of the shaft allows you to tighten the upper end around your calf.

The boots can be rolled up without being damaged and therefore can be stored away without requiring a lot of space.

The front zip of the overboots, that runs from the lower end of the instep right up to under the knee, is a durable model from the YKK range and is sealed to prevent water from entering [© Carl Schulze]

Materials and Features: The bottom section of the overboots is made from waterproof polyurethane. The material maintains its softness down to -30°C, is quite durable and, according to the manufacturer, withstands over 50,000 flexes at -25°C. The author, and tester of the boots, has owned his first pair of overboots manufactured by Mittet since the early 1990s and, despite being regularly used, they are still soldiering strong. The soles feature nubs, shaped like a flat suction cup, which provide good traction and footing even when walking on sheer ice. A groove in the sole part allows the attachment of ski bindings. Joint-Forces also tested the overboots in combination with the Bundeswehr issue snow shoes; the results were very satisfying and during three days of walking on snowshoes only on one occasion did an overboot slip out of the binding of a snowshoe.

The middle section of the overboots is made from a polyurethane-covered knitted fabric that maintains softness down to -30°C and therefore nicely fits around the combat boot that slips inside [© Carl Schulze]

The middle section of the overboots is made from a polyurethane-covered knitted fabric that maintains softness down to -30°C and therefore nicely fits around the combat boot that slips inside. The waterproof material features a plush lining that, in addition to keeping the inside dry, also serves as insulation and holds warmth. The quick-release drawstring system is attached to this part of the overboots.

The shaft top part of the overboot, that stretches from well over the ankle up to just below the knee, is made from a woven polyester-cotton mix that is water-repellent and breathable. This helps to avoid a lot of condensation. The front zip of the overboots, that runs from the lower end of the instep right up to under the knee, is a durable model from the YKK range. It is sealed to prevent water from entering. When moving through areas covered in deep snow the fix-lock system situated at the top end of the shaft and securing the shaft around the calf prevents snow from entering the overboots. In size EU 43/44 (UK 9.5/10 – US 10/10.5) a single overboot weighs 461 grammes, so a pair of them only adds 922g to your combat load.

Conclusion: If you face a period of action in terrain with soggy ground or in a region deeply covered in snow, the Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather manufactured by Mittet AS are probably the piece of kit you want to take along in your backpack. Even when you have to move on snowshoes they are still the right match. Due to their low weight you can put them on up-front, preventing your combat boots getting wet and keeping your feet fit for the fight. In addition to the version described here with the long shaft, the Mittet Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather are also available in a version just ranging to the half calf height.

EGB (Fallschirmjäger mit Erweiterter Grundbefähigung) of German Fallschirmjägerregiment 26 train in urban warfare tactics, Baumholder, January 2024 ~ all of the Special Operations Capable Paratroopers wear Mittet Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather in order to keep their feet war and dry [© Carl Schulze]
Exercise COLD RESPONSE 2014, Dutch engineers search a track in Northern Norway for hidden anti-tank mines ~ these troops wear the old type Mittet Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather [© Carl Schulze]

About Mittet AS: Mittet AS is a family-owned company established in 1946. Today it operates production facilities in Norway, Lithuania and Estonia. The business is focused on the production of textiles for various purposes, mainly synthetic textile fibres. Initially the company produced mainly textiles for home use, for example curtains and bedsheets.

Today the main business of the company is to supply other companies, as subcontractor, with textile fibre materials. This includes quilting for workwear and furniture, technical textiles for sound absorption panels, flame laminated textiles, filters for ventilation systems and so on. However, Mittet AS still maintains its own range of products, including boot insoles for cold weather, warm slippers for indoor use and, of course, Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather.

Seen during Exercise COLD RESPONSE 2012 this Norwegian Armed Forces helicopter door gunner wears Mittet Thermal Overboots for Cold Weather ~ at this time the design did not feature the front zip running down to the instep [© Carl Schulze]

[images © Carl Schulze]

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