After more then over a year of excessive testing and using, I can finally sum up my thoughts and “longterm” test of the Crispi SAHARA EVO SRVV edition Boots, which are widely used and preferred by some of the Russian special forces like FSB, MVD and special police units like OMSN (formerly known as SOBR).
Being personally a little bit obsessed with the gear used by the FSB units ALFA and VYMPEL during the time period of 2000 – 2008, I find myself very often looking and studying the pictures of the tragic Beslan school siege, which occurred on September 1st 2004 in the region of North Ossetia-Alania, Russia, since there are plenty of high resolution pictures available online (well at least high enough to pin point several gear items out). One thing that in particular is often missing in most “legit” and authentic gear setups and collections are the boots. So I started investigating and trying to find out what boots are those used by the FSB on those pictures of the Beslan incident. Digging deeper and deeper I came into more pictures of the FSB, MVD and OMSN (SOBR) wearing those particular boots I was looking for.
At First I thought those were the BYTEKC (BUTEX also known as BOOTEX) type COBRA boots made in Russia, Moscow region that I found on Ebay and later also on Red Alliance forums. I bought a pair in January 2014 (seen above) for around 100 €, which are actually pretty good looking “copies” (look at the sole pattern!) of the Crispi SAHARA EVO boots, which are genuinely made in Italy. Somebody once said that those BYTEKC boots are actually also made in cooperation with Crispi, but I never found any legit statement about this “rumor”. After knowing that those are not the real SAHARA boots I was looking for, I sold them with slight loss right away after using them once for buying groceries 😀
I do not know if they are good and/or durable in the long term, since I have only used them once.
After meeting with the SRVV owner back in 2014 at IWA exhibition and being told that there will be a SRVV line of Crispi boots (including the SAHARA EVO) made in Italy exclusively for SRVV, I wanted of course one pair of those boots.
In July 2014 I finally bought the Crispi SAHARA EVO SRVV edition boots of the SRVV online shop with several other small Items. They took around 3 weeks to arrive and with a cost of around 130 € (excluding shipping and customs) the price is in the same category then other premium manufacturers with their boots. In comparison the “classic” black suede SAHARA EVO boots cost around 115 € here in Germany.
The boots have following properties according to the SRVV shop entry:
- Water-repellent CORDURA 1000 Den in SURPAT camo
- High quality suede (2,5mm thickness)
- Padded mesh lining 3D
- Rubber sole with anti static and anti slipping properties
- Durable lace
- Comfortable inner sole
- Brass hooks and loops for lacing
Designed by SRVV in Russia – Made by Crispi in Italy exclusively for SRVV.
As you can see in this little comparison picture I made there are indeed several big differences from the original Crispi SAHARA EVO and the SRVV designed variant. The SRVV variants look a lot more rugged and tougher then the original boot. Besides the reinforced material (CORDURA for the SURPAT ones and canvas cotton for the black SRVV boots) for the hooks (and they actually have hooks in comparison to the simple loopholes).. We have also been told by the owner of SRVV that their boots have been tested in cooperation with FSB and MVD Units before offering them in their stores.
What really catched my eye and what I liked a lot, are those little details like the metal Crispi logo at the bottom lace and the SRVV and Crispi logos burnished in the outer sides of booth boots.
Here you can see those brass loops for the lace and on the right side the “pull tab” (for ease of getting in the boots) made out of thick suede as well. I really like the base olive color of the suede and it even harmonizes great with the SURPAT CORDURA.
The sole states again the antistatic, oil and fuel resistance and no marking properties. In terms of grip the sole is great! I never slipped with it on wet stones (river crossings) or other wet smooth surfaces. For the oil and fuel resistance I only tested it at my petrol station, since the floor next to the pumps are often wet and dirty with spilled diesel and gasoline and they didn’t it slip there nor did I saw any changes (burns) in the sole from the fuel later.
The boots are really light for their height and have this kinda slim fit design, so you feel like you are actually wearing heavy socks with a thick sole. I never snapped my ankles in those boots and felt always secure and sturdy wearing them.
And that is how they look now after a little more then a year (Pictures made in November 2015 – bought in July 2014). I went on several hikes, Airsoft MilSim games, and used them generally when I knew I will go in the woods or somewhere where I can get dirty shoes.
First thing that I noted after wearing the Boots for the first time was, that the little metal plate with the Crispi logo/inscription flipped up or downwards when tightening the laces of the boots. Not very important, but I wanted to point it out anyways.
You can see that the suede got smooth on some parts of the boots, but no rips or stitches opened nor did the sole debonded from the boot (which was honestly my biggest concern, but they proved me wrong, thankfully!)
Here you can see as well some smooth spots on the suede and that it got some kind of wavy where the hooks for the lace are located, probably because of the tightening. Maybe I should’ve bought one size smaller for the perfect fit. The boots are size 44 (UK 10 / US 10,5) and I have a 43,5 feet. But I rather bought them 44 then 43, because I can always wear bigger socks (as I do – mostly).
Inside the boot it is still unharmed and I am very happy that there is no hard plastic popping out of the boot in height of the Achilles part of the foot, like other boots do!
You can see some wear on the pulling tab of the boots from slipping in but that did not matter, since it is 2,5mm thick. After taking these pictures, just on the next use, the tab on the right boot turned loose due to the fact that the inside stitches were not strong enough or badly stitched. On the outside it is still strong attached. I can still pull on the now longer Tab to get into the boot and then I usually just jam it in the boot so it does not flap around while walking.
The rubber sole is still great and show just little wear, maybe because I mostly use the boots on soft terrain. As said before the anti slipping properties are great and so far the best I experienced in all of my boots I have and had before (like HAIX, Magnum, LOWA).
Well overall I am very, very happy I bought them and I really like using them. Until now you can say I used them around 3 to 8 days a month. Since my daily life does not require me to wear boots I only wear them on hikes, outside duties and airsoft events, as mentioned before.
With the price tag of 130 €, I can say they are worth every cent and I am even thinking of buying the black SAHARA SRVV variant as soon as they have my size back in stock. Waterproofness is one of the big aspects of an all-around boot like this one. I never got any real amount of water inside the boots and I crossed several shallow rivers and stepped in several puddles before. Well, I haven’t emerged them more then 2-3 seconds into water and haven’t emerged them fully. About the SURPAT camo pattern, besides having a SURPAT cover for my (selfmade) ALTYN helmet and a documents pouch, I do not have anything in this (great) camo, but thanks to the subtle olive green main color of the boots, they do fit with every camo and even with black clothes – in my opinion. I often get blisters, but with these boots I get them only on the “big toe mound” and only when I really walk all day long like on a few MilSim events.
If you want to get also you a pair of those special tough italian made for the russian special forces boots, then get them at the SRVV online store below.
Here are the usual reference pictures – but I am not 100% sure if those shown are now BYTEKS or Crispi boots, since you can’t see the small details.
15.01.2016 – by Logisticz for Gruppa L