Waterproof leather upper and Gore-Tex lining with an Air-Active footbed and Meindl and Contagrip Trail sole.
The BLACK COBRA is an ultra-lightweight 8-inch uniform patrol boot recently released onto the UK market by the German boot makers Meindl. Just as combat footwear design has leapt forward in massive bounds in recent years, as those in UK Forces who had the misfortune to be issued the old DMS boot will testify, so too has the design of the black patrol boot worn by police officers. Indeed in some areas police boot design is a stride ahead of its military equivalents due to factors such as higher quantities produced, greater amount of pavement pounded and more diverse range of specifiers whose needs and wishes the boot manufacturers have to cater for ... not to mention the greater number of competitors.
German boot makers Meindl, who are based in the small town of Kirchanschoring in Bavaria close to the Austrian border, have been producing footwear for over three hundred years and indeed not only has their Desert Fox boot been issued for several years by UK MoD but it has also recently been re-ordered in the new brown colourway as one of two choices in the Desert Combat High Liability category. In the past I have worn both tan Desert Fox boots and black full leather Meindl combat boots, so I know what the company can do in the way of conventional military boots but I have to admit I was stunned when I picked up the box containing their new Black Cobra 8” Police Patrol Boots as I thought a mistake had been made and fully expected to find it contained a pair of trainers.
These fully waterproof Gore-Tex membrane boots are not lightweight, they are ultra-lightweight. I immediately weighed one and compared it to one of my lightweight YDS Resolve GTX Ground Crew Boots (a boot model both Jitka and myself have been wearing quite a bit over the last few months) and was gob-smacked to discover that a UK Size 10 Black Cobra was 10% lighter than the YDS boot even though it is a much higher 8-eyelet design.
As the upper is of relatively conventional leather and textile design with an Gore-Tex XCR lining, this weight saving is mostly achieved through the Contagrip moulded sole design which gives the impression of having rubber tread blocks bonded to a clear resin containing a reinforcing mesh. You really need to look at this up close to try to understand what has been done. Only time will tell us how durable this design is, though I bet Meindl have experimented well and I don’t foresee problems. What I must say, however, is that these are the lightest 8” patrol boot I have ever worn, and my legs sure enjoyed the experience.
Competition winners Will Clarke and Anna recently received their Meindl Vitalis Mid boots from the staff at The Great Outdoors in DublinRead in full