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Flight Boot Development - 1936-1937[?]


Flieger-Pelzstiefel, Baumuster Unbekannt

Fleece-Lined Flight Boots, Model Unknown

The "Hoffmann" Boot


At some unknown point- most likely during 1936 or 1937- a competing design for the Luftwaffe's flight boots was introduced by famed Berlin clothier and outfitter, Paul Hoffmann of Berlin- a design which, with modifications, represented the standard design for flight boots through the late 1930s, and indeed, the end of the war.

Though flightgear collectors refer almost universally to these boots as "Hoffmann" boots, it must be said that the Hoffmann firm produced flight boots of many varieties (overboots included) throughout the war. However, as the model number for the boots in question is now lost or was never assigned, as a matter of convenience, the term to which they will be referred will remain "Hoffmann".

Being brown in color, the Hoffmann boots bore a passing resemblance to the earlier Pst 3 boots. While the vamp was made of brown leather, in a departure from the Pst 3, the shaft was of soft, brown suede with the by now familiar nickel-plated tongue buckle/cinch straps being fitted to the ankle and top of the shaft. A single zipper closed a brown leather, gusseted opening on the inside of the shaft. Apparently, the boot's shaft was a bit less tapered toward the ankle, having more of a cylindrical appearance than the Pst 3. This feature which certainly would have better facilitated the wearing of fleece-lined flight suits inside the boots. The Hoffmanns were also slightly shorter than the Pst 3, being 37 cm from the top of the heel to the tip of the shaft.

Specially developed non-skid rubber soles were fitted, with the weight-bearing surfaces covered with flattened, hemispherical bumps. The "Original Wilop" trademark so familiar to Luftwaffe flightgear collectors was molded into the arch of the sole.

Though the Hoffmanns are thought by some to be private purchase items, at least one pair has been noted with unit markings, which would seem to indicate that, to the contrary, the boots were of some officially sanctioned model. It is unknown whether their introduction preceded or paralleled the 1937 Model Pst 4004 boots soon to be introduced.


Sources:

Prodger, Luftwaffe vs. RAF, II, 149.

Author's collection and observations.


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