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Balloon Boots


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In late November I picked up a pair of sheepskin-lined leather boots at an antique store. At the time, I was a long way from my reference library but thought they were probably pre-war AAF boots. I bought them and brought them home, only to learn they are definitely NOT pre-war AAF. Checking against the library, I could find no matches under any of the warring powers. Since then, I have learned the zipper pulls are faintly engraved with the name RITSCH.


Various people, especially a young lady at the Maple Leaf Up Brit/Canadian forum, have been helping me with this and have found that Ritsch was a war-era zipper manufacturer in Germany. They did provide zippers for some German equipment. So, that again opens up the German connection. Luftwaffe? Other German military? Pre-war or wartime civilian?


One other item of note. The boots have almost nothing for soles. A piece of 1/8" thick leather is all with another 1/8" layer for a heel. These boots are not designed to be walked in outside. Indoors or as liners to other footwear.



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Can't say for sure what your boots are, but the only time I have seen similar soles is on a pair of WWI U.S. balloon boots. Less chance of static electricity or kicking up a spark around the hydrogen gas. Does anyone know what the Zepplin crews of the '30's wore when working up in the gas area?

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  • 11 years later...

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