Friday, May 13, 2011

The Palladium Pampa: Old School Tough

The Palladium Pampa boot is famous for its service with the French Foreign Legion in North Africa throughout the 1950s.

As a French company, Palladium began life in 1920 making tires for the aviation industry but expanded to boots in 1947. Made of canvas and rubber, the Pampa was extraordinarily simple and tough and as a result was adopted by the French Foreign Legion.


click images to enlarge





The canvas boot was better suited for the hot, dry climate of North Africa than regular leather ankle boots and it excelled there in service with the Legion. The Pampa was used for many years in the deserts and Atlas Mountains of North Africa before eventually being replaced by more modern combat boots. But the story doesn't end there.


In 2009 Palladium reintroduced the Pampa to a new generation. While the same basic design remained roughly the same, many new variations were created with dozens of different color schemes being offered along with boots made from materials other than canvas. The many different styles and colors of boots can be found at the Palladium website. Also check out the "Explorations" link at the forementioned website to view some neat videos and images of interesting and sometimes forgotten places.




I recently picked up a pair of Pampa boots on a whim and am pleasantly surprised. While the boots look rough and rugged on the outside, they are extremely comfortable and could easily be worn all day long if needed. The laces provided are strong and plenty long to accommodate a variety of knots. One issue I do have with wearing them is they seem to trap heat inside, cooking the wearer's feet even on days that aren't overly hot. Though, in my mind that's a small price to pay to wear such tough, historical and cool-looking boots. The sizing appears to be right on the money.

The one piece rubber sole lends itself to durability as there are no weak seams that could split or seperate from use. The soles also have very deep and aggressive treads to help the wearer keep his footing on the harshest terrain. Notice the treads in the photo below along with the company branding on the ankle, much like that of vintage Keds and Chuck Taylors:




While I haven't owned these Pampas for very long, they appear to be a quality product that will last quite a while and will provide good use.
I intend to go hiking, fishing, shooting and rough around in these for the next couple months and will report the results back here.

So keep an eye out for that.

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