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YDS Tornado GTX 8-inch Combat Boot

The YDS Tornado GTX combat boots have a Gore-Tex laminate membrane lining 'sock' and the surface of the textile sections is water-repellent [© Bob Morrison]

The YDS Tornado GTX model from Turkish manufacturer Yakupoğlu Deri Sanayi A.Ş. is a high specification 8-inch leather and textile combat boot, writes Bob Morrison.

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Parent company for the last two decades to Yorkshire’s Goliath Footwear, a boot brand well known in UK blue light services circles, the YDS Group has a long tradition of supplying both Turkish and other NATO armed forces with combat boots; indeed two of their models (the Falcon and Kestrel) were procured in bulk by the UK MoD for two of the 2012-2017 brown boot categories. At the back of their latest Military & Police catalogue, in which they state they are Europe’s largest boot manufacturer, YDS list almost fifty countries that they service.

The Tornado GTX is listed in the Combat High Liability section of the latest YDS catalogue [©BM]

The YDS Tornado, an ‘8-eyelet’ high leg suede leather and textile combat boot with a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable lining and Vibram dual density polyurethane-rubber injected sole, fits squarely into the Combat High Liability boot category. Tipping my scales at fractionally over 800g for a single UK size 10.5 / EU 45 (I know, I have big feet for a little man) this is not a light boot, though it is almost exactly the same weight as the most recent (i.e. 2017-2022 procurement contract) all-leather UK MoD CHL boot supplied by ALTBERG.

Although I received my sample pair in February, medical treatment issues at the start of March meant I was regrettably unable to travel over the Europe for the linked STEADFAST DEFENDER exercise programme so I have not yet had an opportunity to give the Tornados a series beasting in the field. However as part of my recovery process relied on me regaining my mobility after nine days in hospital beds, I used this as an excuse for getting out into the muddy and waterlogged Devon countryside at every feasible opportunity and by the start of this weekend not only was the going becoming less soggy but the thermometer had climbed sufficiently from low single digits to be nudging 20°C. By my reckoning I’ve now experienced the temperature equivalent of equivalent of out of the four two seasons over the course of the last six weeks and so far so good.

As was only to be expected, the Vibram soles performed well on wet and muddy surfaces as well as giving good purchase on coastal rocks and shingle when the sun finally came out. As these boots have a Gore-Tex membrane laminate liner sock which extends to the second top eyelet position and my boots were tightly laced I was able to wade through several inches of running water without issues, but interestingly the textile sections of the uppers also appear to have a water-repellent finish as can be seen in the lead photo.

The lower three pairs of lace ‘eyelets’ are actually tapes [©BM]
Upper three pairs of lace eyelets plus the fourth pair up from the toe are ‘closed hook’ tunnels and there are tensioning tapes at the fifth position [©BM]

These are quite stiff boots but the collar and tongue are very well padded and despite this stiffness I did not need to break them before wearing them for long periods; which is not something one can say about all makes of combination textile and leather uppers combat boots, as I can attest having reviewed an awful lot of different types over the last quarter century or so. Incidentally, YDS currently advertise six different Combat High Liability boot models in their current catalogue and two of these have full grain leather uppers in both modern and more traditional designs.

The stiff collar and the tongue, which is bellowed up to the seventh eyelet position to keep out wet and dust, is well padded and there is additional internal padding over the ankles [©BM]

Turning now to the lacing, my Tornado GTX boots (manufactured in November 2023) are of the very latest design and differ slightly from those shown in the English language catalogue circulated at recent defence & security expos and from the current downloadable PDF catalogue. Instead of having seven eyelet pair positions the latest version has eight with an extra tape eyelet added above the fourth position; the lower three pairs are tapes with the upper three pairs plus the fourth position pair being metal closed ‘lace tunnels’. At first I threaded the laces criss-cross style (or Japanese style as my late Burma Star veteran father would say) through all eight pairs of eyelets, as can be seen in the photos from my previous ‘teaser’ article, but after a few days I decide to re-lace them vertically between positions five and six as way this seemed to be more comfortable when flexing the foot.

The YDS memory foam insoles are a quality item which cup the heel and support the arch [©BM]

Finally to the YDS memory foam insoles, which cup the heel and are shaped to provide arch support. These are quality items similar to some of the expensive after-market insoles which some who are on their feet a lot swap over for the sometimes quite minimalist items supplied with military / police boots bought primarily on price. In the past I have not only used earlier YDS insoles as intended but found them to perform so well that I have later swapped them to replace lesser quality items used in certain cheap and cheerful footwear brands; I suspect over time this latest type could prove to be just as useful.

The Vibram outer sole has an aggressive tread pattern which works well in mud and seemed to self-clean very well in the recent soggy UK weather [©BM]

Bottom line? I really like this YDS Tornado GTX boot and suspect it could well see a fair bit of future use as back-up to my long-time favourite combat boots when I am out in the field as it is not only comfortable and supportive but it looks the part too.

So far this year the weather here in ‘Sunny’ Devon has been ridiculously wet but Spring finally briefly arrived at the end of last week giving me the chance to wear the Tornados in warmer and drier conditions [© Lynne]

[images © Bob Morrison, unless noted]

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