Koflach Boots a piece of history.

Kenny wearing his trusty Koflach boots.

I bought my first pair of Koflach in the early 80’s for a ice climbing trip to Canada. What a huge difference they made. Despite temperatures of minus 25 I had no more cold or wet feet. They also had an inner boot which was a great asset at the time. The inner boots were ideal to wear in Bothies and in huts. They were hard to break in you never broke them in they broke in your feet but in my mind they were so worth the cost.

1985 Koflach boots in Canada

From Scottish Mountaineering Heritage Collection. “Plastic boots came upon the mountaineering world like a rash in the late 1970’s and within a couple of years just about everybody had a pair. Scottish bog trotters said it was the first time they’d had dry feet for a hundred years,Himalayan climbers didn’t get frostbite and boot polish dried up in the tin – redundant. Unfortunately, there was a down side – condensation made your feet look like wrinkled prunes with blisters popping up on each wrinkle! Blisters appeared round the ankle where the boot top rubbed and if water did get in, it couldn’t get out. Some folk loved them, others hated them, but as if by magic, they almost totally disappeared from the scene sometime in the late 1990’s.
Koflach were one of the main producers back in the 70’s, using technology gleaned from making ski boots and we’ve got a prime example of their ‘Ultras’ here in the collection. They were probably the most prolific boot on the market at the time. We are not sure where this pair came from, but Mick Tighe thinks one of his mountain guiding clients donated them – thanks to whoever it was.”This warning was made in 2008 about Koflach boots.

Andy Sallabank, Mountain Instructor, was working with a couple of students in the Cairngorms when the old plastic boots of one of his students literally cracked and fell apart This not the first time I’ve heard of this happening. If you have any doubts about the age or quality of your plastic boots, Andy advises they are put in the freezer overnight and then hit with a hammer the next morning! It’s got to be better than them cracking and falling apart on the back doorstep than half way up the Ben.

Koflach boots

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Friends, Gear, Mountaineering, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Koflach Boots a piece of history.

  1. Charlie Macleod says:

    Undoubtedly saved my toes climbing in the Alps in winter !!! I “ modified” mine with a hot air gun/ blowtorch and a boot stretcher. Scary but effective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter Clinch says:

    Pal had a pair die on him but they didn’t crack, more like the glue failed. He’d bought them in the 80s for a Himalayas trip that never happened and they lived in his loft for ~20 years before he found them and thought he’d give them a try on a New Year trip. They just fell to pieces as the day went on, he finished up in just the inners… Potentially serious but it was hard to stop laughing!

    Koflachs were the wrong shape for me so I eventually got some Scarpa Vegas (in 80s shocking pink with lime green trim!). Maybe I should try the freezer trick as I’ve not used them for years, but my plastic Scarpa Telemark/touring boots are in fine fettle at 25.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Graham James says:

    I had a pair back in the day. Moving to the south coast and having a family led to them lying in the attic, forgotten, for many years. One day I read the article about them cracking, got mine out, banged them together and … crack!
    They were great on the hill, but a long boggy trudge back, especially if there were burns to cross – as you say, once water got into them…

    Liked by 1 person

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