Tag Archives: boots
5 Pairs of Shoes You Should Buy for a Classic Casual Wardrobe
It’s a lot of work to explore different brands, silhouettes, aesthetics, and stores, narrowing down what you like most. I’m reminded of Greg from No Man Walks Alone replying to a compliment on his store’s well-curated selection of goods, saying that finding the gems at a show like Pitti is incredibly difficult, requiring lots of patience wading through a nearly unlimited number of booths. Sometimes it’s nice for someone—like Greg—to simply say, “here are the best options. Choose from these.”
In the same spirit, I thought I’d share the five pairs of shoes I think you would be best-served buying—either as a capsule shoe wardrobe or simply as your starting point as you build a larger wardrobe. It goes without saying this advice comes from a point of view that favors versatility with tailoring, denim and chinos as my “what I wore” posts will attest. As a complement to this advice, read my “Versatile shoe” piece from last year. Thankfully there are lots of brands who make each one, so I’ll recommend a maker for each type at different price points for you to consider. In no particular order:
1- Chukka Boots
I wear these most of the time October through April. My chukkas are snuff suede with a Dainite sole so that I never think twice about wearing them if it’s wet out. I hiked Quiraing at the Isle of Skye wearing them, so they’re rugged enough in a pinch. Versatility wise, suede is the best, and with a more pointed toe, you’ll be able to wear them with a sport coat just as easily as with a full workwear fit. A rounder toe would help them match more closely with denim or moleskin pants.
Low price: Meermin (same as mine). Mid: Kent Wang. Mid-High: Sid Mashburn.
2- Penny loafers
I wear these most of the time May through September. Mine are—surprise—snuff suede. I walked throughout the cobblestone plazas and streets of Florence, seeing David, visiting the Uffizi Gallery and enjoying Florentine steak in mine. I prefer an elongated toe on these to the rounder ones you might see on a classic Alden, but that’s a personal preference.
Low price: Meermin. Mid-high: Sid Mashburn.
3- Longwings or Wingtips
I’ve always loved the brogue, at time shifting my preferred model back and forth between the wingtip silhouette or the long wing silhouette. I’m currently in the long wing camp, but I only own wing tips. Perhaps the grass is always greener. Mine are a pebble grain with Dainite sole, which came with me this past winter during our travels in Scotland. The Dainite sole came in handy for the rugged outdoors. I wore them on our road trip through the highlands, from Glasgow to Glencoe and Fort William, during which we stopped many times to jump out and photograph the scenery. Versatility wise, they can indeed be worn with denim, but really only dark denim. They look great with flannel or tweed trousers.
Low price: Meermin. Mid: Brooks Brothers. Super High Grail: Polo Cordovan.
4- Cap-toe Oxfords
You need something to wear dressed up more than just a sportcoat and jeans. For many years I went through that phase where you hate black shoes, and even today I think probably most of us could get away with only dark brown calf cap-toes in this category. But I think around the time Skyfall came out I realized black shoes in a tapered, chiseled toe last can make you look like James Bond – or, more realistically, they can make you feel like you look like James Bond. In any case, dark brown will help you through almost all the time, and it looks great with navy suits, gray suits, the navy blazer with gray trousers look, and almost every other tailored outfit.
Low: Meermin. Mid: Kent Wang. High: Carmina.
5- The Wild card
I know I said up front I’d tell you exactly what to buy, but this last one is going to come down to you making a decision for yourself based on your personal taste. It’s the dressed-down-but-contemporary-and-stylish slot, and which one you pick will depend solely on your preferences. For me, it’s a canoe moccasin, which I wear constantly. I walked from the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and all the way to the Spanish Steps in mine. For others, it might be a pair of sleek white sneakers: they look great with jeans, khakis and some brave souls even wear them with tailoring. Other options are Wallabees and desert boots. Instead of prescribing exactly what to get, take stock of your aesthetic preferences and make a choice to help fill out your own individual wardrobe.
My favorite canoe mocs: Oak Street. My favorite white sneaker: Tretorn. My favorite desert boot: J.Crew.
Jasper’s Favorite Chunky Boots for Autumn
I’m a boot guy. The only laced shoes I wear outside of weddings are sneakers (and even then, I wore loafers to the only two weddings I attended this summer), and if I’m not in sneakers I’m in boots. Granted, it’s less pleasant for me to stick to my guns during the Colorado summers, which regularly crest 90 degrees for months on end, and getting to slip back into my favorites is one of many reasons I love dressing in autumn and winter. These days, my tastes are running to chunkier silhouettes, and I’ve largely phased out my collection of sleek side-zip models, and with that in mind I hope here’s a selection of some of the chunky boots I’ve both enjoyed wearing and looking at online, ready for adoption into your autumn wardrobe.
Most combat boots that high street brands release still tend towards the dainty, and while a sleek silhouette can be nice, I think it often comes at the expense of character. I’ve been very happy with the pair of Visvim 7-Hole ’73 combat boots I bought a couple of months ago. Despite the hefty shape, they’re very lightweight, and the addition of a side-zip appeases my lazy side (it also makes them just fine to wear in an airport). Visvim has done several iterations of this boot, and past releases have sported commando soles instead. It also comes in three colors: the black, shown below, brown and khaki, and black and olive. The price of a pair of these boots is fairly high (though you can, as I did, find ways to score a deal), and in combination with the somewhat distinctive styling they’re certainly not for everyone.
To me, that’s part of the charm. It’s easy to end up with a giant shoe wardrobe with no variation in it – for example, owning 5+ pairs of near-identical side-zip boots (guilty) allows you to swap out your pairs depending on your mood, but it’s not particularly interesting. These days, I much prefer to reach into my closet for something that’s more distinctive, as it lets me change up silhouettes more than the alternative. Take, for example, these admittedly absurd Feit combat boots – they’re something of a hybrid shoe that, despite their bulk, nonetheless seems possible to work into an outfit built around a tweed or flannel trouser. Nonnative’s recurring ‘Wanderer‘ boot offers similar styling to the Visvim model, but it’s a bit too 1:1 for my tastes. Of course, if you’re after something sleek that’s a surer bet for classic and classic-casual wardrobes, I’ve always thought that Carmina’s ‘Jumper‘ boots seemed attractive.
I’m not really a chelsea boot person, and that’s mostly because I’ve never loved the rocker/mod aesthetic, especially as it’s been presented in recent years. I’ve also never been certain of how I feel about an elastic gore which, despite my love of easy to put on shoes, I’ve always found a touch off-putting. Recently, this has changed somewhat, largely because I’ve taken the time to look at different silhouettes. Takes such as those offered by Common Projects and YSL have never held much appeal for me, but once again, expanding my world a bit has revealed some attractive options.
On the more affordable end of the spectrum, you’ll find boots such as the Clark’s Clarkdale Gobi. I purchased these on a whim about a month ago, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve worn them. They’re a good middle-ground in terms of silhouette, and crepe soles remain comfortable. The problem, of course, is that they don’t do great when the temperature plummets, and really aren’t wearable in the snow. Even so, the lower price makes them an easy pair to test out.
If you’re looking for a longer-lasting, leather-soled model, you’ve probably already been sent in the direction of RM Williams boots. I’ve been keeping an eye on these for the better part of this last year, and there are two different models that have retained my interest: the very classic Comfort Craftsman and the Yearling, both of which are wholecuts, but which have very different silhouettes thanks in large part to the height of their respective heel. While the ‘Gardener’ model is a bit too blobby for my tastes, I appreciate the relative heftiness of the silhouettes on offer. If you, like me, are a fan of Western and Western-inspired footwear, there are a few models – such as the – that, especially for an American, offer a wearable twist on Western wear. Sporting a pair of cowboy boots really takes some commitment (more on that later), and it’s a world I haven’t quite dived into yet, but RMW’s designs are perhaps a bit more forgiving than a full-on croc boot.
Another option that has caught my eye recently is Viberg’s chelsea boot. They’re not brand new this fall, but they offer – as does RMW – a heavier take on the chelsea. As is the case with most Viberg models, you can find it with a variety of leather and sole options, and if you want a workboot that you do’t have to lace yourself into, this is an attractive – and long-wearing – possibility.
By now, I’d be surprised if any forum member hasn’t heard of Viberg, and they’re still a go-to for heavy workboot styles. Every season, you can find a huge range of models at Viberg’s many retailers, but right now the makeup I have my eye on is this Scout Boot that Viberg is selling through its own webstore. Perhaps that’s because it’s fairly similar to the other boot I’ve had my eye on, which is Visvim’s now-venerable Virgil. Unfortunately, my feet don’t seem to play nicely with the Virgil’s last shape, and Viberg models lack the lightweight, sneakerboot feel of Visvim’s footwear, which is part of what makes the latter so appealing to me. New webstore Miloh Shop is also offering what I think is a pretty handsome ‘Triple Black‘ makeup that would work well with olive chinos, among other things.
If that’s not your style, you might prefer Alden’s classic moc- and plain-toe models, but I feel I hardly need to mention them here. One budget option is Timberland, a brand my cousin (a field researcher) swears by, so if you want something that might actually keep your feet dry and warm this winter they’re not a bad bet. This fall, both Nonnative and Sophnet have done a Gore-Tex and an all-black zipper-finished model, respectively, and I have to say – both look really good. Unfortunately, if you have large feet, you’re probably SOL.
As mentioned earlier, I haven’t quite had the courage to dip my toes into a true Western (read: cowboy) boot – there’s a lot of cultural baggage for me there, and I am endlessly undecided as to whether I think I’d actually wear a pair. Even so, there are some boots out there I think are undeniably cool, and there are others that are likely a bit more accessible in terms of shape. If you’re interested in a true-blue cowboy boot, I think that Heritage Boot Co. is making some designs worth your while. They’re far more interesting than most designs you’ll find from big makers like Lucchese, and from what I’ve read they’re made to a much higher standard as well. My only experience with Lucchese resulted in two returns do to two separate QC issues, and plenty of boot people on the internet reckon that Heritage Boot is making some of the nicest boots on the market, especially considering what they’re asking for them. A few stand out to me in particular; their basic black ‘Apache,’ the French-toed ‘Ranch hand,’ and the exotic ‘Stingray.’ The first two options seem the like relatively low-risk and low-effort ways to give a boot like this a shot, while the stingray boot requires a step up in commitment. Some of the inlaid models are worth a look as well, although I imagine most people would find them a little harder to work into a regular rotation.
On the shallower end of the pool you can also find models such as the Lucchese Shane and Cannon, both of which are available via Huckberry. Both are roper-style boots with an un-embellished shaft and a rounded toe; obviously at home with denim, but potential options for textured trousers as well. At under 400$, the ‘Shane’ strikes me as a sensible entry-level attempt, especially given Huckberry’s easy return policy – I’ve seen the same model available through Amazon before as well, though you’ll have to check the shipping and return terms on your own. The Lucchese Jonah was also briefly popular on the streetwear side of the forum, and is a much, much easier boot to work into a variety of wardrobes. It’s a pricier zip roper, with a hefty sole and a slightly wider shaft that accommodates a straighter-leg jean or trouser. Unfortunately, I’m one of several people who, as mentioned, had some issues with QC, so if you’re interested in these boots make sure that you have the option to exchange or return.
7 Ways to Wear Boots With Jeans
No, it’s not rocket science, and yes, the key is to put the jeans on before your boots, but there’s still more than one way to wear boots with your jeans.
1. The Stack
Simple: do nothing. Put your boots on, pull your jeans over the shaft, let ’em stack up on top of the boots. Ideally, you don’t want wrinkles running all the way up your legs; instead, leave an extra couple of inches to your inseam and you’ll end up with nice honeycomb fades
Works best with: slim denim
2. The Micro-Cuff
Also simple – you know what, they’re all simple. In this case, you turn up the hem of your jeans – but not by much, just enough to leave a sliver of well-worn selvage denim showing. Vary this by accompanying it with a stack, or with a jean hemmed to a shorter length to show off the shaft of your boot.
Works best with: slim-straight jeans
3. The Regular Cuff
Cuff your jeans once. Done.
Works best with: slim, slim-straight jeans
4. The Double Cuff
For a thicker cuff, turn your hem over twice and your jeans should sit just at your ankle. This is an easy option that will look nice with most boots.
Works best with: slim-straight or straight jeans
5. The Triple Cuff
Not too hard – roll it up one more time. It’ll give you a thicker cuff, and although this looks good with heavy boots, I also like it with sleeker silhouette and taller shaft.
Works best with: a straighter-legged pair of denim so that the bigger cuff doesn’t overwhelm the leg of the jeans.
6. The Narrow Roll
Make like you’re rolling a single micro-cuff, and then keep going as high as you like. Wear the hem low to stack on top of your boots, or pull it high for a cool silhouette.
Works best with: straight or relaxed denim.
7. The Railroader
Only for the dedicated: instead of making small cuffs, turn your hem inside out and pull the cuff halfway up your shin. This has the potential to be massively rad or not rad at all – you need to back it up with an outfit that meshes well.
Works best with: stiff, straight-leg jeans and heavy boots (like engineer, combat, or service boots).
On Western Style Zip Boots
We’ve been having a stop-starting, on-going conversation over in Random Fashion Thoughts about vaguely Western style zip boots and their merits. If you haven’t been paying attention, the root of this discussion is that a now-forgotten poster asked where he could find some boots that look like Nonnative’s “Rancher” boot, which sold out pretty quickly in most places, and is hard to find in larger sizes. They look like this:
As you can see, they’re undeniably awesome. That’s my pair – I wear them all the time, but then again, I live in Colorado, love suede, and hate laces. This pair, which a year and a half later I still wear almost ever day – ticks off the “vaguely Western” box without making me look like one of those guys who probably wears a cell phone clipped to his belt. They’re manufactured for Nonnative by Officine Creative, which is a respectable Italian boot- and shoe-making brand that does a lot of interesting footwear that’s kind of like lightweight, fashion-y workwear, most of it Blake-rapid stitched. This pair is modeled on a roper boot, but with a narrower, zipped shaft and a slightly higher heel. This, along with the narrower last, makes them much more elegant than your standard pull-on workboot.
If you’re looking for an actual Western boot, there are plenty of companies that make exactly that – but good luck finding a pair that looks good with your tapered denim and slouchy topcoat. No, most often you’ll see boots that are perfect for Harley guys in stonewashed denim, and since you’re reading Styleforum I doubt that’s you. Although what do I know? You could be a
Of course, Nonnative isn’t the only brand to make shoes like these, but it remains surprisingly hard to find a great pair of Western style zip boots. Hedi Slimane played with the idea during his time at Saint Laurent, sending harness boots, jodhpurs, and pointy-toed monstrosities down the runway along with his skin-tight thrift store come-ups. The thing is, most of them looked just about as affected as you’d expect – although I do think some of the plainer models have been pretty successful. More recently, Vêtements worked with Lucchese, a Texan-by-way-of-Italy bootmaker, to put out some custom men’s and women’s pieces.
I happen to find these weirdly attractive. I do want to reiterate, however, that it’s possible I’ve been primed to think that based on a lifetime of exposure to black cowboy boots worn with light blue jeans, and that all I really need is someone to shake me firmly and say “No.”
On the other hand, I enjoy occasionally nurturing my Western obsession, so let’s get back to boots you can find that will scratch that itch. You can certainly try your hand at snatching up Nonnative boots (which are occasionally available on Rakuten, as well as through Coverchord – as of writing the latter has both brown and black suede in stock in sizes 40-42), but you may have trouble finding anything in stock larger than a size 42.
Now, the name on everyone’s lips these days – well, in Streetwear and Denim at least – is Lucchese. Reason being, in addition to a lot of ridiculous cowboy boots and Vêtements collaborations, one boot in particular has captured the hearts of my fellow streetwear nerds: the Jonah. Why? Because it’s like a roper, but with a narrower zipped shaft. If that sounds like what you’re after, join. I find boots like this incredibly wearable, and even if just about all I ever wear is denim (black or blue, both’ll work), a slim trouser would look great with them as well. I’m of the opinion that boots such as these work pretty well with just about any outfit. It’s easy to wear them with a sharp coat, a leather jacket, or just a heavy knit:
Now, Lucchese, while being a large and well-known bootmaker, is no longer the top-quality manufacturer they once were – at least when dealing with off-the-rack boots (I’ve no experience with their custom process). The Jonah retails at 795$, which is almost twice as much as smaller, more renowned Texan bootmakers – although they’re still a step up from makers like Frye. However, it’s not likely that you’ll find something that looks like a Jonah at these other shops, and I’ve only been able to find a few stockists of these boots. Your first option is to order from Lucchese directly, otherwise you can try Cowboy Chief (a devoted western supply store) or Snake Oil Provisions, the latter being a pretty cool store that stocks, in addition to some pretty cool SF-approved brands like 3Sixteen, Alden, The Flat Head, and up-and-coming cool-cat brand Nine Lives.
If they’re not quite your cuppa, you’re not totally out of luck. Here are a couple more styles for your consideration:
Unused makes a very similar pair, but your chances of finding a pair are even slimmer than getting a pair of Nonnative boots through Coverchord. There’s one size left at Haven, and with some good Google-work you may be able to proxy a pair from Japan through Zenmarket.
Margiela often releases western style zip boots, such as these current season campus boots that you can buy at SSENSE:
You can also go to Buttero, an Italian company whose name actually means “cowboy.” However, they currently have nothing in stock that meets all the criteria (tall shaft, plain toe, side-zip entry), so the image slot has to be left empty for now. It’s worth it to browse eBay and Rakuten for Buttero boots, in case something tickles your fancy.
And speaking of Frye, these short zip boots aren’t quite the same, but they are undeniably western in character:
Anyway, if none of that is Western enough for you, and you really want to feel like a cowboy, take your business to Heritage Boot Co. in Austin, Texas, and get yourself a pair of badass, hand-made cowboy boots. They start at around $420, which is insane – so insane that I’m considering it, which should tell you something about how far down this rabbit hole I’ve fallen.
No zippers on those, though, so I guess they don’t count.
Hiking Boots for Lazy Winter Style
Hiking boots are enjoying a small but noticeable boost in popularity this season, driven in part by the continuing extension of athleisure into all-seasons – as opposed to just summer. I, for one, am enjoying this outdoorsy-techwear moment, especially because it allows me to feel less shameful about my propensity to wear over-designed sweatpants. Not that hiking boots haven’t always had their fans, but over the last few seasons chunky, mountaineering-inspired silhouettes have picked up a noticeable amount of steam. Some of the Italian giants have been playing with the winter-luxury thing more or less since they’ve been around, but the trickle-down into high street and fast fashion has turned what used to be a largely granola-exclusive product into a common sight.
Danner deserves the credit for a lot of that popularity in America (as does Diemme, internationally), and they’ve been churning out the same shape since before most of us were alive. Their classic hiking boots have also seen something of a resurgence in recent years, the work-boot obsession of bearded hipsters countrywide having translated into the adoption of any “working man’s” footwear, and being something of an extension of our former obsession with deck boots.
And why not? Hiking boots usually offer comfort that leather-soled boots don’t, and for American consumers that’s a big deal. The growth of casual, outdoor wear-inspired brands hasn’t hurt the popularity, either, as Timberland’s enduring popularity can attest to. Add in the cachet of American manufacturing and a handful of well-publicized collaborations – like this years Danner x New Balance project – and you’ve got a winning recipe.
Thing is, I want some too. I spend a lot of time on my feet, and live in a state where we have seasons. That means that I often don’t want to wear leather-soled boots in the winter, when the ground is either wet or, y’know, covered in snow. And as tempting as it is to tell myself that a pair of fashionable boots is going to hold up to all of my winter shenanigans, the truth is that at some point I’m going to have to buckle down and get something that’s functional.
I’m going to throw my cards in with the Danner Light, which is Danner’s suede-and-nylon lightweight hiker. I know, I know – the shape takes some getting used to. But the more I look at them, the more I think they’re kind of charming. I’d wear them either with rolled denim, or with a tapered tech pant like these from Outlier. In the case of the former, a bomber jacket, indigo coat, or interesting vest (like so, perhaps, for maximum throwback style) over a thermal sounds like just the ticket. With the latter, any kind of nylon or insulated active outerwear would do well (think Battenwear, and Wander, or Snow Peak) if you’re going super casual, as would something like Isaora’s tech shell for an outfit that looks less like straight mountaineering wear. Finally, Danner Lights aren’t all that expensive (relatively), which means that picking up a pair for those days when you really just want your feet to be dry and comfortable isn’t an economic disaster.
You can grab this pair straight from the Danner webshop.
Community Design: The Massdrop Chukka
If you spend time on Styleforum, you understand what it’s like to be part of an enthusiast community. You know the archetypes – from noob to tastemaker – and the abbreviations, from BB, ESF, and OCBD, to C&J and GMTO. You’ve also probably seen users band together to get the products they wanted – this is a core piece of any enthusiast community, and it’s why we created Massdrop. I’ve been a Styleforum member since 2011, and I’ve often been a part of those groups that are looking to put together something unique.
Here at Massdrop, our job is to work with community members and help them engage with each other to find the products they want. You may recognize us from our affiliate thread on Styleforum, where we share some of our community-driven creations. By getting the community to work together (like they often do already), we’ve been able to get them the quality products they want for a better price. We’ve also found that if we work directly with brands to create new products, we can do even more to get the community what they want. If you’ve spent any time on Styleforum, you know that the people here are quite discerning. Almost any product, no matter how great, will inevitably be met with “if only this aspect were different, this would be perfect.” With our collaborative projects, our goal is to work with the manufacturers of these products to “tune” them to the desires of the community and offer them at a great price, resulting in an exclusive product that caters to what the community’s wants.
When we decided to kick off collaborations in the Massdrop Men’s Style community, the biggest question was who to partner with. We wanted to work with a brand with a strong forum following, as well as in-house manufacturing. Allen Edmonds quickly came out as a ideal choice – they have a huge fanbase on forums and beyond, and are a great go-to for those just getting into fine footwear. And while the quality of their products is quite high, many of the designs are less catered to the hardcore shoe enthusiast. Which led us to the question: what if they made a shoe specifically for us, the community?
The next step was landing on a style to pursue for the Massdrop x Styleforum project. We decided on the unlined suede chukka due to its popularity, as well as the fact that Allen Edmonds had released a few models that were ripe for tweaking (you can find many threads on the forum discussing the pros and cons of Allen Edmonds models like the Amok and Mojave). I reached out to Fok and pitched the idea to him. He has a long history of partnering with Allen Edmonds on the forum, and was able to perform the critical step of getting Massdrop in touch with Paul, the CEO of Allen Edmonds, which got the ball rolling.
I worked with Allen Edmonds production and the Massdrop team to learn about what the community’s options were in terms of materials, design, and so forth. We started working on prototypes, and once I had some samples to look at I reached out to respected members on Styleforum. With their help, we were able to hone in on what exactly a forumite would want in these shoes. After a couple months of prototyping, we landed on a style we all felt was a winner, and from there it was pretty easy.
The most important aspects that we worked on were the material and the last. For the the suede, we sampled a few materials from CF Stead’s Janus line, and quickly agreed that Janus calf was the right call, even with the increased cost. For last shape, we wanted to shoot for the middle ground and offer something with a comfortable round shape for casual wear, without being too shapeless. Allen Edmonds’ 511 last was the natural choice, and the fact that it fits most people well was the icing on the cake.
From there, it was simple – introduce the shoes to the Massdrop and Styleforum communities. The project went live last week, and we’ve since sold over 700 pairs. The best part, however, is that it’s just the beginning. With this powerful example of what happens when a brand partners directly with the community they serve, we’ll be able to continue bringing projects like this to fruition. Styleforum members are full of good project ideas, and we’re going to do our best to keep up.
The Massdrop Allen Edmonds unlined chukka is available for purchase here.
The Styleforum Journal is supported by retailers such as Massdrop. This article is sponsored content.
Chelsea Boots for All the People
Just to catch you up if you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so, the Chelsea boot, with it’s characteristic double elastic gores, has been the footwear du jour. Without fear of jumping on the bandwagon really late, I’m going to endorse them.
Kanye is probably to thank for the popularity of the style for some younger and some more Kanye influenced wearers, and Common Projects should probably be on their knees, thanking Yeezus for putting their lightweight, crepe soled version (in the sand color) on waiting lists for the entire FW15 season.
Putting aside debates about Kanye’s cultural significance, chelsea boots have been a staple in closets of well-dressed men (and women) since the Victorian era, when they were made for the Queen herself before eventually finding their way into men’s closets. Now, they are perhaps best remembers as a staple in the UK’s mod scene in the 1960s, which has seen something of a revival as of late. They also gave birth to the the pointy-toed, Cuban-heeled Beatle Boot variation, but weather with low heels or high, the easy on-off comfort has made the chelsea beloved of the sleek ‘n trim streetwear set – led by you-know-who. They’re a natural extension of the skinny side-zip that has been quite popular for several years, and most makers streetwear makers are pursuing similarly streamlined silhouettes.
On the other end of the style spectrum, Blundstone’s rugged (guaranteed for life!) snub-toed, thick-soled version of the style has been a staple among Australia’s outdoors-minded set since the Victorian era as well. While not exactly elegant, that was never the purpose – and if elegance is what you desire, you can still find plenty of classic shapes from brands such as Alfred Sargent, Carmina, and others. Guidi, beloved of every dark-goth-romantic-bohemian-ninja, also makes an object-dyed chelsea boot, should you wish to trade your well-heeled Victorian footwear mores for a rougher look.
So, at this very odd intersection in menswear history, outdoorsmen, dandies, gothy-ninjas, and of course Kanye fans, are all endorsing the same style of boot.
My pick of the bunch is Epaulet’s Chelsea. That’s because it’s a lot more versatile than other examples. Epaulet’s quality and construction have always been top-notch, and the leather on this pair is a lustrous steerhide that achieves the improbably feat of going with everything. In addition, the last is neither Blundstone-blobby or Yeezy-narrow, so you can wear them with jeans or casual trousers. Plus, crepe soles are really, really comfortable. These were initially a pre-order, but there are a few pairs still available on Epaulet’s website. Although I own a pair in “sand suede,” I think this “Cuoro Como” model is a fantastic buy for anyone looking for a comfortable, stylish boot. They’re only $325, too – which is a really good deal.
You can find your own pair here.