Paratroopers, from their first modern use by the U.S.S.R. in the 1930s and their first successful application in war by the German military in 1940, have always had specialized equipment and uniforms. The German paratrooper, the “Fallschirmjäger” was no exception; in fact they were the most uniquely equipped and uniformed paratroopers of the war. One of the most bizarre and uniquely designed uniform pieces of their uniforms was their 1st model “Fallschirmjäger” boots.
Paratrooper boots during WWII were specifically designed to provide extra ankle support for rough parachute landings. Thus the German army deviated from their traditional loosely fitting “Jack Boot” issued to the majority of the German military, to a new tightly laced boot for paratroopers. The American military did the same, instead of issuing their paratroopers the standard canvas leggings/gaiters and low-quarter boot combination, they designed and issued a tightly laced taller boot specifically for paratroopers.
The most prominent design feature of the German boots is the side laces. Traditionally speaking, military boots are front laced in the same fashion as the American version above. The side lacing of the German boots is what many designers have incorporated into their pieces.
Here are pictures of Fallschirmjagers during the war, look closely at their boots.
These photographs are from the Mediterranean Theater of Operations 1940-43
Designers have taken this style of side laced boots and have created their own pieces, borrowing much from the original German Paratrooper boots.
The boots below are all designed by Fly London for men.
A small London Label You Must Create (YMC) has a version for women (left) and men (right)
As you can see, the designer boots do come at a price. Now I would like to draw your attention to some authentic alternatives. Reproduction houses have now started to make these boots, the quality is quite good and they are almost exactly like the originals.
Epic Militaria ₤125.95
The Germans certainly had an interesting design for their first model of paratrooper boots. The war progressed, and they replaced the side laced boots with a more conventional front lacing boot. Had it not been for some imaginative fashion designers and labels, that could have been the end for this funky design.