The Swiss Kampfstiefel 90 is a fairly advanced combat boot. And when I say combat, I mean Combat with a capital C — because that's what the Swiss intended it for.
Designed for heavy and constant use in challenging terrain, the KS90 shows a degree of engineering more commonly seen in high-end mountaineering gear and ski boots. Specifically, a great deal of attention has been paid to supporting and protecting the delicate parts of the wearer's foot. This is really out of necessity — every Swiss infantryman is a mountain soldier, and even one broken ankle presents a serious hazard at the company level.
With this in mind, the unique appearance of the KS90 starts to make sense. The thick, hybrid-type sole combines an aggressive outer tread (licensed from Vibram) with a contoured shock absorbing core. The result is ruggedly functional, but comfortable enough for long hours hiking and bouldering.
The wearer's foot rests slightly recessed into the aforementioned sole, cradled between it and multiple soft padded-leather inserts. These inserts align with the top, sides, and rear of the ankle in a manner very similar to a therapeutic brace. When properly laced, the padding gently applies pressure, effectively eliminating ankle sprains and rolls while carrying heavy loads.
Most boots with this level of reinforcement suffer in the mobility department. In fact, excessive rigidity can impede the natural flexing of the foot to the point of causing injuries. To prevent this, the Swiss-German design team behind the Kampfstiefel 90 placed an aggressive joint where the ankle naturally flexes in its forward range of travel. With this flexible joint, the KS90 tackles inclines with relative ease — feeling closer to a wildly overbuilt sneaker than a traditional heavy combat boot.
The remaining technical features are simple but important — the upper is constructed of thick, full-grain leather with a gusseted, high-cut tongue and reinforced toe. With appropriate long-term care, the high-quality leather makes the boots functionally waterproof — and very well suited to cold weather and snow. In a true arctic environment, you'll need to move to insulated "moon boots," but for anything short of that, the KS90 will serve you faithfully.
First introduced in 1990, the Kampfstiefel 90 has been in active service for nearly 30 years. Our batch is a complete lot from the Swiss military's ongoing phase out — a process which began in 2017. In this respect we fared pretty well. Our boots were stored in a series of climate-controlled military warehouses and were shipped to us in outstanding condition. Date stamps indicate our Gen I boots were manufactured in the late 2000s and early 2010s, while our Gen II boots mostly date from the last five years.
You should expect your boots to arrive in excellent condition, with minor superficial scuff marks from handling and their transit to the US. There is the possibility of leather drying out on the toe, and in the creases of the boot from extended time in storage. Boots may be restored to like new condition with the application of a soapy rag and a new coat of polish.
Swiss training manuals recommend you clean and polish your boots monthly during regular use. Depending on your climate, a layer of wax or spray-on water repellent is recommended. When applying these products make sure the boot is clean, dry, and polished. Do not apply water proofing treatments to a wet boot or polish which has not completely cured.
It turns out that the KS90 boot is actually two boots — or rather — two generations of boot.
The Generation I KS90 was produced from 1990 until sometime in the early 2010s. A variety of high-end German, Swiss, and Austrian manufacturers supplied the boot for the Swiss military, trading off various contracts over that 20-year span.
After those contracts ended, a single company, "Minerva" appears to have taken over the contract until 2017. For this leg of production, Minerva updated their tooling and made some minor modernizations.
Generation I boots are characterized by their construction of the sole, which consists of several rubber layers stacked together, secured to the welt, and protected with a thick rubber ring.
Generation II boots are identical, except the sole is directly overmolded onto the boot. This technically advanced process results in a single piece outsole, with the cushioning layers confined internally
The outward difference between Gen I and Gen II is subtle, enough to make you second guess yourself when handling them in person. Performance wise too, both boots are identical in form, function, and comfort. However, there is a difference in long-term care.
Specifically, the layer-cake design of Gen I boots makes them less forgiving of improper long-term storage. If placed in direct, strong UV light (i.e. left in the sun) the sealant protecting the layers will degrade over time, eventually killing the boot. Long term storage in excessively hot and dry environments has a similar effect. Because this damage only occurs in long term storage, it is important to know the storage pedigree and current condition of any Gen I KS90 you intend to purchase.
In summary, if you go out of your way to deliberately abuse a Generation I boot, the sole will prematurely degrade. This should not be an issue with normal use, in fact we warranty all Generation I boots against failure for six months and send them out the door with a fresh coat of UV protectant and rubber conditioner.
Exchanges & Warranty
If your size doesn't fit you correctly, please contact us within 30 days. The entire cost of your first exchange will be covered by KommandoStore, including postage to and from your CONUS address.
All KS90 boots are guaranteed against failure for six months after delivery.
The KS90 runs true to size. However, due to its construction, care should be taken to select appropriate size for you. Unlike other more flexible boots, the rigid leather of the KS90 will not bend to accommodate a wide foot in a regular width. This affords superior protection and comfort to the user when correctly sized.
If you have any questions about sizing, please contact us via live chat or at email@example.com