Boot season is here and winter is nowhere to be found
It’s supposed to be winter here in the Netherlands, but it really isn’t. Normally, the temperature is around zero, the days are dark, and there is a lot of snow, or at least rain… I don’t know what the weather is like in your country, but I guess it is something similar, not even autumn.
So, before you continue to read this article, I would like to ask you to close your eyes and image that it is freezing cold outside. Do you hear the bitter winds? Do you hear the raindrops hitting the windows?
As soon as you feel that you’re in the depths of a cold winter, read on…
5 pairs of boots
Last year we wrote an article 5 pairs of boots for the extra mile which featured 5 pairs of boots from 5 different brands, all made to beat the weather and made to exacting high standards. Due to the success of the article and positive reaction from readers, we decided to write a new article for the Autumn/ Winter ‘19 season. We’re going to feature another 5 pairs of boots that we feel are worth you consideration this winter.
We’ve spent some time trawling the internet for 5 pairs of boots which we feel are up their with the best when it comes to quality and style. Each example is well crafted, hand made from premium materials and built to last. Some of the brands aren’t new to Robin Denim (we’re sure you’ll recognize some) and other brands are new to the site but we know you’ll enjoy them. Make sure to scroll all the way down so you don’t miss a pair!
Grant Stone – Diesel Boot Dune Chromexcel
The Grant Stone story began and continues in Xiamen, China and Southwest Michigan, USA. Co-founder Wyatt Gilmore spent 8 years in the Xiamen factory where he learnt the craft and began to understand Chinese culture en route to creating Grant Stone in 2016. Wyatt and his father Randy, who has over 35 years of experience in the orthopedic and welted dress shoe business, identified the opportunity to build Goodyear Welt footwear using premium leather components, delivered directly to the customer.
Today, the Grant Stone team totals 6 people who are working from Xiamen or Southwest Michigan. The brand combine their expertise and strengths, source some of the best premium leathers (including Horween and Badalassi) and produce high quality footwear at a competitive price due to the direct-to-consumer model.
Last year we featured the Ottawa Boot and after testing them for several weeks, we were blown away by the quality and comfort. For this season, we decided to feature the iconic Diesel Boot Dune in Chromexcel. The word ‘Diesel’ doesn’t exactly remind us of something flashy or slick, but rather something built for strength and longevity. And this was exactly we got from Grant Stone. The brand wanted to develop a plain toe boot and for the construction they utilized leather for the uppers, lining and insole. The Diesel makes use of a Goodyear Welt and comes fitted with a micro stud rubber sole which is built to last through the seasons.
The upper of the boot is made of Aniline pull-up cow leather that is tanned by Horween and the lining is made of full grain cow leather from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The insole, welt, and midsole are also vegetable tanned, with brass eyelets giving the boot its finishing touches.
The Diesel Boot Dune Chromexcel is available for €335 at Grant Stone.
Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.
Oak Street Bootmakers – Trail Crazy Horse Dainite Trench Boot
Since wearing the Natural Rough-Out Dainite Trench Boot from Oak Street Bootmakers last year, they quickly became one of my favorite boots. The construction, shape and the leather were amazing, providing comfort straight out of the box. So we decided to feature another pair this season; the Trail Crazy Horse Dainite Trench Boot.
Oak Street Bootmakers are based in Chicago and the company was founded in 2009 by George Vlagor, who grew up learning the art of shoemaking from his father and master cobbler, John Vlagos. The brand proudly makes their product in the USA, with footwear crafted by shoemakers with over 20 years of experience. Meeting the highest standards of quality and production, Oak Street footwear is as durable as it is comfortable. Each pair is built on a replaceable outsole as you would expect, ensuring that even when the sole has worn out after many years, they’ll continue to offer a lifetime of wear.
The Trail Crazy Horse Dainite Trench boots are made from Trail Crazy Horse Seidel® Leather, which is an American leather. Due to a special tanning process, it gets a strong pull-up effect which results in a distressed, worn-in look. With continued wear, a bruised appearance and patina will develop on the surface of the leather. The boots are fitted with Dainite outsoles and heels, providing comfort and grip for all weather conditions. Built on the Elston Last, it is designed for an exceptional fit and shape, providing comfort and durability for the everyday man.
The Trail Crazy Horse Dainite Trench boots are available for €420 at Oak Street Bootmakers.
Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.
Mark Albert Boots – Uptown Boot, Rust Kudu
Mark Albert Barbera started his own brand when he was looking for the perfect Chelsea boot during his time in College. After he partnered up with a factory in his hometown of Somerset, he successfully funded a Kickstarter and Mark Albert Boots was born. The factory in which the boots are made has been in operation since 1948 and has 50 employees that are focused on delivering durable, quality footwear. Mark Albert Boots is pushing the envelope in terms of design and functionality, while staying committed to offering the most affordable and fair price to the customer. With the launch of Mark Albert Direct, the brand is selling boots at a wholesale price point and promising to deliver within 8 weeks. You get the benefit of direct-to-consumer pricing and limited styles that might never even make it to an in-stock item on the webstore.
The Uptown boot was one of the first styles offered by the brand and has been re-released through Mark Albert Direct. The boot was designed to be strong and durable, while providing comfort and style. The boot is built on Goodyear Welt construction and is able to be resoled. In addition, the boots feature a leather insole, a Vibram 430 outsole and an unstructured toe box reinforced with a backer to hold some form. The Rust Kudu utilizes a waxy Antelope (Kudu) leather from C.F. Stead Tannery in England. The leather has an incredibly rich color and promises to show a unique patina when worn.
Uptown Boot in Rust Kudu are available for €270 at Mark Albert Boots.
Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.
Unmarked – Custom Senor Boots in Navy Suede
Unmarked is a handcraft company that specialize in leather. The brand mostly produces boots but also offers handmade leather sneakers and sandals. The collection includes a range of popular models including a Chelsea Boot and the Señor boot (which was their first vintage inspired boot). Besides the ‘ready to wear’ collection, Unmarked also offers a service allowing you to create a custom pair of boots.
With a workshop located in the heart of Mexico and a warehouse that dates back to 1958, Unmarked epitomizes heritage and history. By using antique machinery combined with a contemporary approach, the highly-skilled craftsman behind Unmarked are focused on producing high quality footwear which will stand the test of time.
We first noticed the custom-made Señor Boots in Navy Suede on Instagram and the style caught our attention immediately. The original Señor boots are a classic Blucher plain toe boot with a clean and simple look. They are made from a 2.2 mm gold rated leather and built on a Vibram Rubber Mini Lug outsole. Due to its popularity, the Señor boots became a staple in the collection of Unmarked, for obvious reasons. In contrast to the classic Señor boots, Unmarked changed the Vibram Rubber Mini Lug outsole for a replaceable Vibram Christy outsole, giving these custom boots an extraordinary look. For the leather they have used a navy-blue calf suede, which feels soft and comfortable yet durable. The boots feature a calf leather lining and rawhide Alum tanned leather laces.
Photo courtesy of Koen Kuik.
Red Wing Heritage – Hawthorne Muleskinner
Red Wing have been in production since 1905 and since then have forged a reputation of quality and craftsmanship. With the iconic Moc Toe and Iron Ranger, Red Wing Heritage continues to offer classic silhouettes based on archive pieces. Back in1905, founder of the brand Charles Beckman wanted a comfortable and durable work boot. Ever since the very first pairs were made, Red Wing have not compromised on the comfort or quality of their products, with the popularity of the brand being at an all time high.
This year we’ve selected another classic from Red Wing Heritage; the Blacksmith Hawthorne Muleskinner. The Blacksmith is a classic American work boot which was first introduced during the the founding years of the company and it quickly became popular amongst workers for its reliability and versatility. Today, the Blacksmith is built on a brown Vibram 430 Mini lug outsole, which provides comfort as well as grip on most surfaces. With a height of 6 inches, the Blacksmith offers protection from the weather for the wearer, keeping out the snow in winter and dirt in summer. Made from a tough Hawthorne Muleskinner leather, which comes in a burnished look that channels a vintage work boots and will only look better after each wear.
The Blacksmith Hawthorne Muleskinner is available for €320 at Red Wing Heritage.
Photo courtesy of Hans Jellema.