We may be cynical but the here-today economy is becoming more full of buying pitfalls. Menswear is no exception. Have you ever heard of planned obsolescence (PO)? It’s real. It’s like finding buried treasure. They may not be from another time but they will feel like it. The right boots are made for the long-term.
Blue collar soldiers, blue collar workers, and outdoor ramblers used leather boots as their standard footwear. The basic design hasn’t changed much over the years. There are still boots that can be worn for work, some that are more casual, and many that can be used in both. A good pair of leather boots can be worn with anything. They look great with jeans and a t-shirt, or with khakis and a sports jacket. They’ll be one of your most versatile items in your wardrobe.
These are some tips that every boot-hunter should know to help them find the perfect leather boots. We also have some personal recommendations.
1. Not all leather is created equal
There are many differences between leathers. It’s possible for a boot to say “leather” but it could be of lower quality. Keep your eyes open for “Full Grain” Leather, which is rugged and handsome, lasts a long time, and is also of high quality. We love Wolverine’s 1000 Mile Horween leather. You’ll also find “Bonded Leather”, which is basically leather bits, dust and shavings all pressed together. The leather branded “Genuine”, although it is good for leather suede, is not suitable for boots with high-stress areas such as the toe. “Top Grain”, just below “Full Grain,” is the second best. It’s tough enough to do the job but won’t win any beauty awards.
2. You must ensure that they are resolute
Resoleable boots are the best option if you need a pair of boots that can withstand all sorts of weather and still leave enough room for your grandkids. They are more expensive. They will need to be resoled several times throughout the years. These boots are of the highest quality. Period. Boots made with the “Blake Welt”, Rancourt’s Brunswick, or “Goodyear Welt,” are best. (see Red Wing’s Iron Ranger, and Wolverine’s 1000 Mile). The oldest, most labor-intensive and longest-lasting way to make a shoe is “Goodyear Welting”, which was established in 1869. This method uses a strip or rubber of leather or rubber to run around the boot’s sole. The sole is then lockedtitched to the upper, sole and insole. These are the benefits. The benefits?
3. Trust Heritage Brands
For help, look to America’s most brave and sassy men. What did the lumberjacks, mountain men, and construction workers wear to build this country? There are a few brands that still crush it: Rancourt (Est. 1967, Red Wing (1905), Astorflex (late 1800s), Wolverine (1883). Construction and materials of the highest quality are untrue. This heritage is living proof of the principle that “if it’s not broke, don’t fix.”
Now that you are an expert in all things boots, let’s look at some options for work and play. We give them our complete approval. Whatever suits your taste, you will get the best quality materials and craftsmanship from legacy brands. Win. Win. Win. Here are three of our top picks for different styles:
Built For Fridays: Nisolo Andres
The Andres Boot features a waterproof, oil-tanned leather upper and a Vibram Mini Lugsole. You’re covered whether you’re hiking, traveling, or just doing your daily chores around town. The classic workboot style is clean and can be worn for dinner parties or happy hours. It’s one of our most rugged boots.
The Rhodes Dean Boot is rugged yet refined
The Dean Boot was made in a Portuguese family-owned factory. It has over 50 years experience and expertise. The calf leather will show subtle signs of age as you thread them through the speed hooks. Each mile you wear them, they become more unique. When the miles add up, the hard-earned patina won’t go away. The Blake construction means that a cobbler can quickly replace the sole. These boots are made with premium materials and top-of-the-line craftsmanship. They can also be resoleable for years of use.
The Everyday Wear: Astorflex Greenflex
The Greenflex Desert Boot is a top-rated men’s shoe. These boots are handcrafted in Northern Italy by a family who has been making boots for six generations. They are stylish and durable, as well as being the best value. These boots are a modern take on the WWII desert boots, but they’re made with more care. Premium European leather is used to make the boots. It’s then aged for 30 days in an all natural mixture of water and oak bark. To make the leather soft and eco-friendly, all-natural ingredients are used to soften it. The boots are finished with 100% natural rubber soles. They feel like walking on clouds.