Soviet Kirza boots, surplus
One-off lot of Soviet enlisted men's Kirza boots called Sapogi! The crudeness makes these rather charming, but the boots are no joke.
While the model was taken into use during World War 2, they wore these officially up to the 90's and unofficially even beyond. We heard the Mongolians are keen on Soviet surplus boots these days, who knows if they're planning a reunion tour across the Europe or something.
Half vegan, half Russian
The outsole is rubber, whic is nailed on leather midsoles. The lower is made of surprisingly good quality, thick unlined leather and the shaft comprises of Kirza with a leather support strip on the back. Kirza (or some call it Kersey) leather was one of the most important developments during the war, saving hundreds of Roubles when they made soldiers' boots. The inventor, a chemist named Plotnikov, was given a truckton of roubles and the hallowed Stalin State Prize medal for his efforts, a ticket for NOT (likely) being transported to Siberia. Kirza leather is still made today. It looks very much like the real thing and keeps water out pretty well.
The shaft height and circumference are size dependent, but these are not at all humble in appearance, as they reach almost to the knee. The shaft can also be flipped over at the point of your choice to make it shorter - this is what many Soviet soldiers seemed to do in warzones.
We got a couple with the WW2 type dimple sole. These boots are sold separately. The boots haven't been made during the war, they are later production.
Sizes in the Soviet system, which is first the recommended foot length in millimetres, then EU/French size. These are designed to be used with footwraps, so if you wear socks, wear thicker ones.
The last is sorta human shaped, but not excessively wide.
Here's a litte chart with comparable US and UK sizes.
|Russian/EU size||US size||UK size|
Care for your boots and they might care for you! Clean the boots with a moist rag and/or a brush. Apply grease and polish to the leather. Kirza does not need to be treated.
Although there are some slightly used pairs, usually these are in unworn shape, however A) old and B) of Soviet manufacture. A means they might be a bit stiff and dirty on the surface, B means they are cobbled together with some hearty dosage of vodka. So these might not be too pretty, but they are pretty strong.
So, how did this stuff find its way in Finland? Well, when Soviet Union collapsed, the former satellite states gained their independence. There was a huge leftover stock of Soviet stuff still in the old army bases because the Russians left in a hurry or didn't just care to take their shit with them. Most are gone, but these leftover stocks are still occasionally unearthed, like these Kirza boots dug out from an old army depot near the Lithuanian/Belorussian border. That's how secure the availability is in the future.
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does not recommend
Hiroki A. 07.09.2019
I'm going to replace the insoles as the ones that came with it make a popping noise as I walk, but no dramas; they're perfectly usable as is.
The best bit? Considering that Hunter wellies made in China cost ~£100, these boots are an absolute steal. They do the job better, look better and have the blessings of uncle Joe.
Albin K. 11.09.2019
These boots don't shape themselves with time to fit your feet, they reshape your feet to fit the boot. For the greater good of the industrial proletariat of the world I suppose.
When you have used the for some time you will kind of feel like marching to Berlin and back, maybe even to the hills of Manchuria.
The nails in the soles though.. you definetly will need a pair of extra soles in them otherwise the boots will carve new holes in your feet.
..and they smell like an old soviet warehouse. Big time.
JC M. 10.10.2019 (Edited 18.10.2019)
Edit: According to all other size charts Russian 41 should be a size 9 equivalent to a European 42 so Im not sure whats going on but the chart listed here is out to lunch. I have also been told that these boots come in multiple widths so I am wondering if I was simply sent a narrow? Any information would be a blessing.
Edit: my boots are indeed marked y, narrow. A C would denote medium and W is wide. Be aware that these boots come in different widths!
Erik M. 11.12.2019
If I could eventually find these in the perfect size, then they would be worth it.