There isn’t a rule that says British elite forces must wear any particular brand. However, since general army issue boots are made by U.K. based Alt-berg, it seems a simple job to stick with what you know.
Alt-berg boots are built to last
Anyone who has owned both Alt-berg boots and German Para boots can testify which will last longest. They are both designed with durability in mind but the British boot wins hands down. Alt-bergs are definitely built to last.
However, the guys with the ‘who dares wins’ attitude aren’t running about in standard issue squaddie boots. Oh no! The classic ‘defender’ is a great tabbing boot, but it is a bit heavier than most people might wish for and it isn’t sound dampened in any way.
The needs of the SAS are generally for a lighter quieter boot. This is why the Alt-berg Sneeker is the boot of choice for so many special ops personnel.
It is a microlite high leg leather boot. It is ultra-lightweight and very comfortable. In fact, because you really can wear them all day without effort or discomfort, these boots are also favourite with other service branches. Many police prefer them when on their feet all day.
A vibram sole is a guarantee of great grip. Back in the nineteen fifties the first team to successfully summit of K2 were wearing boots with Vibram rubber on their soles. Since then the Vibram sole has got even better and these days is a byword for for cushioning as well as grip. In the sneaker they have combined these grippy soles with an anti-torsion base feature to ensure you don’t twist your ankles even on the roughest terrain.
Of course, all the above counts for nowt if they don’t fit your feet perfectly. The good news is that Alt-berg boots come in full and half sizes, so you can get the exact size to fit. This is an important advantage over some rivals.
An impressive five width fittings are available and it is this that makes the resulting boot you buy closer to a made to measure than an off the shelf boot. Getting the right width and length combination is a moment of real pleasure. When you try on a new boot on and it feels like you have already worn it in for a few months, that is when you know that you have chosen the right boot.
Looking after your Alt-berg sneekers.
The one potential downside of the sneeker is that they are not classed as naturally waterproof. Therefore you will need to regularly apply leder gris to keep the rain out. This is actually seen as a good thing for service personnel as the regular waterproofing forces the owner to closely inspect their alt-bergs on a regular basis. This helps ensure that small issues don’t become big issues and thereby ensures the long life of these excellent boots.
A new development; the Sneeker Aqua
If you are looking for a new boot Alt-berg have release a waterproof version of the Sneeker to address precisely the issue mentioned above. It is basically the same boot but with a SYMPATEX® Waterproof lining and a more robust sole.
Alt-berg, the manufacturers have been around for about 30 years and are based in the U.K in Yorkshire (not far from Catterick barracks). So if you have trouble with your Alt-berg boots you will have at least a fighting chance of actually getting it sorted. To be fair they have a decent customer service reputation. I think they know and respect the fact that many of their customers are serious people who really shouldn’t be messed with.
Its for all these reasons that Alt-berg Sneekers are still the most popular tactical footwear for the SAS and elite forces throughout the world.