RM Williams Boots - Everything You Wanted to Know

Sator

Honors Member
RM Williams is an Australian icon that evokes images of the vast Australian outback, of Banjo Patterson and the Man from Snowy River. They have been making boots since the 1930’s when Reginald Murray Williams learned the art of leather saddlery and boot making in the South Australian outback from a fellow known as Dollar Mick.

From time to time questions arise on the forum about RM Williams boots. They have a good website (https://www.rmwilliams.com.au/) but it is strangely lacking in detail and too much of it is advertising hype. So I thought I would write a post that would help those of you internationally to choose the best boot for your tastes and needs.

Construction

The thing that makes Chelsea boots by RM Williams a rare bird and highly collectable is that they are a wholecut Chelsea boot. This is what RMW are famous for and what makes them stand out from the crowd. Note the following Tudor boot from the JL current catalogue I picked up in New York:

https://img168.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tudoruf4.jpg

Great boot but notice the seam on the side: this is not a wholecut.

Ditto for the Chelsea boot from EG (from the Skyvalet website https://www.skyvalet1.com). The seam on the side is better hidden but it is definitely there:

https://img155.imageshack.us/my.php?image=newmarketoh0.jpg

One of the most authorative books every written on men’s shoes is “Alles über Herrenschuhe” by Helge Sternke:


https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/3894...305401-6924534

In this monumental book twice the size of Flusser’s Dressing the Man, Sternke writes (my translation):

Whoever takes a look at the boots on offer will discover two different vamp constructions. The usual boots will have underneath the elastic inserts, a vertical seam, whereas the finer and costlier models come without this additional vamp seam, because the vamp is made of only a single piece of leather. Only a few remaining traditional makers offer such boots - and mostly then only on special enquiry. One of the few which still carry them in their regular catalogue is the Australian firm RM Williams, who usually leave the shaft unlined. The one piece shaft has a clear long ridge running down the front of the boot resulting out of the time consuming process of blocking the shaft, during which the form of the shaft is pre-formed before it is stitched – an additional step which certainly adds to the cost of the boot but permits a decidedly better final form over the upper and assures a better fit. Without the blocking step the leather crumples on walking and the resulting rolls of leather press on the foot (Quoted from page 242)

The ridge running down the front of the boot is only apparent when it is brand new and disappears with wear. Far from being a defect, it is proof that RM Williams uses an old fashioned high end manufacturing technique usually found in bespoke boots:

https://img88.imageshack.us/my.php?image=craftsmanblockingridgeff1.jpg

The overall quality of their boots can be best described as basic high end comparable to AE and superior to Loakes. They are amongst the most comfortable footwear I have ever worn, doubtless largely as a result of their whole-cut boot construction for which they are rightly famous. They are Goodyear mostly welted. They are also one of the few bootmakers left that make a RTW boot with a brass screwed leather construction. It results in a much sleeker looking boot than the equivalent Goodyear welted model. RMW also makes storm welted boots. As far as the construction of screwed vs welted boots go I have heard from boot makers that a screwed construction is just as good or even better. The construction of their boots is as shown in their catalogue:

https://img166.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rmwconstructionmu3.jpg

The follow picture from their current catalogue shows what is clearly a hand-guided process of machine welting.



Leathers

The leathers they use on their dress boots are mainly yearling, kangaroo, veal calf as well as suede. I have only ever seen them use full grain leathers.

Yearling is their basic leather and is a highly attractive leather. It is a soft and mildly grainy leather. Yearling is thicker than either kangaroo or French veal calf. It comes in three colours: Black, chestnut, dark tan and tan. Chestnut is a handsomely dark shade of brown, perhaps slightly lighter than the Dark Oak available from EG. The RMW Dark Tan is a medium brown with only the faintest tinge of red in it. The tan is a lighter medium brown. It is darker than the sand colour that you might at first conjure up.

Kangaroo is said to be the toughest leather weight for weight in the world and for this reason RMW chooses thinner skins. Kangaroos are as common as rodents in many parts of Australia - contrary to popular misconception overseas they are not an endangered species:

https://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/kangaroos.html

Kangaroos skin is much more coarse grained than other skins because they are left to roam around in the wild and accumulate small scars during the animal’s lifetime. It is suitable for casual wear. If choosing kangaroo leather it is advisable to choose a narrower fitting boot because the thin and supple leather makes the boot run a half width wider.

The black kangaroo looks moderately grainier than the yearling, thinner and lighter but highly durable. The chestnut kangaroo is a stunning leather that looks faintly darker and significantly richer than the chestnut yearling. For some reason it looks finer grained than its black counterpart. Kangaroo comes only in black and chestnut.

French veal calf is taken from a younger animal and is available in black and chestnut. It is imported from France because the recent droughts in Australia have made it too difficult to source the leather here consistently. The main attraction is that it is a very soft, fine grained leather that polishes up beautifully. RM Williams recommends it for dress boots. They charge around $60 AUD more for it. The potential disadvantage is that it is softer and more delicate.

Other leathers include suede in dark brown.

Exotic leathers for men’s dress boots worthy of mention include ostrich and crocodile. They are available on special order and are top quality but rather pricey. I have seen a pair of crocodile Craftsman on sale for over $5500 AUD. The ostrich Craftsman retails for $1800 AUD.

Another leather, less commonly used by RM Williams is willow. It is a slightly grainier leather than yearling and less expensive. It is used mostly in the cheaper range of boots.

https://img153.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rmwleatherssb0.jpg

Sizing of Standard Catalogue Models

How to Find Your Size:

1. Based on the Fit of a Allen Edmonds Park Avenues (Nr 5 Last)

AE PA size minus one and drop down one width (RMWs run wide).

Example for if you wear size 10s in an AE Park Ave:

AE PA size 10EE = RMW size 9H
AE PA size 10E = RMW size 9G (medium)
AE PA size 10D (medium) = RMW size 9F
AE PA size 10C = RMW size 9E

G width is medium width in RMW sizing.
D width is medium width in US sizing.
If you drop down one width and you normally wear AE D width your best width is F width in RMWs.

I wear size 8D in AE PAs so my size in RMW is 7F. This conversion also works for other AE models made on the Nr 5 last.

For US based forum members this is rapidly becoming the method of choice for choosing your RMW size and works best for the veal calf and kangaroo Craftsman. Yearling leather is a bit thicker and less stretchy so you should consider going up a width.


2. Based on Other Allen Edmonds Lasts

AE lasts other than the Nr 5 run wider. The Nr 5 is the narrowest and longest of their lasts. If you base your sizing on shoes made on lasts other than the Nr 5 you may need to go up a width, though this will result in you ordering a boot a tad on the widish side:

AE size minus one

Example for if you wear size 10:

AE size 10E = RMW size 9H
AE size 10D (medium) = RMW size 9G (medium)
AE size 10C = RMW size 9F

Check to see if your AE shoe has a bit of looseness side to side. If so consider dropping down a width, especially if ordering in thinner, softer leathers such as veal calf and kangaroo.

4. Based on the Your Size in Loakes Shoes

If you know your UK size in a Loakes order that (ie US size - 1 for most guys). Loakes and RMWs are identical in length but RMWs run wider. If you wear a medium (F) width in a Loakes choose the narrower F width in the RMW.

5. The RMW Recommendation

This is what RMW recommends:

https://img213.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sc002553adwg6.jpg

This formula works best for yearling leather which is thicker and less stretchy than French veal calf or kangaroo.


5. Based on Your John Lobb Paris Shoe Size

My experience with JL is that they too run narrower than RMW even though they are in UK sizes. Again order the same UK size but drop down one width.


Shoes Widths:

RMW widths are:
C=extra extra narrow
D=extra narrow
E=narrow
F=medium-narrow
G=medium
H=wide

There is only one RMW last that is available in a C,D, or E width and that is the rounded toe last.

AE Widths are:
B = extra narrow
C = narrow
D = medium
E = wide
EE = extra wide
EEE = extra extra wide


Lasts and Heel Shapes

These have to be discussed together because even if the last shape is the same (eg chisel toed) they have a different last code depending on whether the boot has a flat heel (FH) or a high heel (HH). Here are the basics of what most forum members will need to know:

1. Most of us will only be interested in the flat heel. The only other heel I can recommend is the higher so called ‘Block Heel’, which looks less exaggerated than in many photos. The so called Ladies Block Heel lacks the taper (don’t know why it’s call a Ladies Block Heel as it looks more masculine because of its squareness to me).
2. Remember that lasts for high heels have different numbers.
3. The B543 chisel square toed flat heel last of the Craftsman is the best known and is a classic. Available only in F, G, H widths
4. There are three classic round toed lasts. The widest is the B531 Extra Wide flat heel toe last in an H fit. The medium fit one is called the B530 Wide Toe flat heel last and is available in F and G widths. The narrow fit last is the B529 Medium Toe last, available (confusingly) in a C,D,E,F,G and H fit. The B531 looks fat and clunky but the others are definitely classics. If you prefer a sleeker look consider going up a size and down a width or two.
5. The B555 Narrow Medium Toe flat heel last is also very elegant. It is a slightly pointed narrow nosed last, but unexaggeratedly so. Looks sharp combined with the Block Heel on the B522 Narrow Medium high heel last.

The following is the full catalogue detail of heel shapes and lasts. It is quoted for completeness only, because it is rather confusing. If you decide you want a nailed boot, or one with a rubber sole (or any other non-standard combination of leathers, heels, construction method) you will have to decipher it yourself to see if it is feasible:

https://img143.imageshack.us/my.php?image=heelslaststablejx7.jpg

The Standard Catalogue Models

I will limit myself to the ones relevant to forum members only.

1. Goodyear Welted Ankle Boots

The Craftsman

An absolute classic made using the B543 chisel toe last. It is usually routinely available in a wide range of leathers:

https://img237.imageshack.us/my.php?image=craftsmannt4.jpg

https://img165.imageshack.us/my.php?image=craftsman1fg3.jpg

Infosheet on the Kangaroo Craftsman in PDF format:

https://www.rmwilliams.com.au/product_informationsheet.asp?productid=456E0E05845F03EC

PDF Infosheet for the French Veal Craftsman:

https://www.rmwilliams.com.au/product_informationsheet.asp?productid=055D37B6CE27C353

PDF Infosheet for the dark brown suede Craftsman:

https://www.rmwilliams.com.au/product_informationsheet.asp?productid=F0DA964B6ED2ED0E

PDF Infosheet for the yearling Craftsman:

https://www.rmwilliams.com.au/product_informationsheet.asp?productid=E845F2A8706FAAAE


There are a few variations on the Craftsman worthy of mention.

https://img222.imageshack.us/my.php?image=turnoutyearlingyx3.jpg

Of these the Turnout is available in a wider variety of widths because it is made using the round toe lasts (B529, B530, B531). You can get them in widths from E to H, although narrower widths are available as a custom order. Those of you who felt the Craftsman is lacking in sleekness should try going up a size on the Turnout and dropping down a width or two (as narrow as the equivalent AE size allows).

PDF Infosheet for the Turnout:

https://www.rmwilliams.com.au/product_informationsheet.asp?productid=ECFCF73ACF17ED69

The Yearling in the narrow nosed B522 last with the block heel is a very attractive model. It looks particularly good in black. Narrower widths are available as a custom order: F width with a flat heel and E width for a high heel. The medium G width feels as wide as the chisel toe in the equivalent sized G: even though it looks narrower, they fit the same. If you like the pointier toed last but prefer the flat heel then there is the Macquarie on the B555 last.

PDF infosheet for the Yearling:

https://www.rmwilliams.com.au/product_informationsheet.asp?productid=7D94AC8B8A9BF02B

PDF Infosheet for the Macquarie:

https://www.rmwilliams.com.au/product_informationsheet.asp?productid=0DC25838DE1C017F

The Stockman is another attractive boot made on the B543 chisel toe last. It is a strap jodhpur model. I have seen a similar model from JM Weston in person but the RMW last is so much more elegant, that even if the Weston has somewhat better leather and the construction more refined, the huge price difference (about $1000 for the Westons) is hard to justify.

2. Equestrian Top Boots

RMW makes some very handsome looking traditional equestrian style top boots. They like you to be measured out by a trained person at one of their store for the full on made to measure equestrian boots.

https://img83.imageshack.us/my.php?image=equestriantopbootsmv1.jpg

Other models can be ordered without a serious measuring process and a couple may interest some of you.

https://img143.imageshack.us/my.php?image=topboots2ae7.jpg

There are plenty more models (women's models, cowboy boots etc) and for these I refer you to the RMW website. I have also deliberately missed out the Simpson boot as the G Joey last is sadly really wide and snub nosed. They can only make lace up boots on this last but I cannot recommend it. If you must order it you should drop down a size because it is so wide and comes in only one width. Worse still they insist on stamping this (and only this) model with a RMW logo.

The Forum Special


I put this configuration together in response to a couple of valid criticisms about the standard offerings from RMW. The first was that they were insufficiently sleek. The second was that the construction lacked refinement. The result was that some have expressed concern that they were too much of a country style casual boot to be worn as a city dress boot with a suit. I have tried to address these point by putting together a configuration that brought together all of the strengths of the maker in one custom order model.

Firstly, I have chosen French veal calf. It is their best quality leather. All boots made with it look notably more refined and the leather polishes up beautifully.

Next, I decided to find a last that was the sleekest that they offered. To make it even sleeker, I decided to go up a 1/2 size from my usual Craftsman and drop down on width. I tried the size on, and it fit me like a glove with a very similar fit to what I subjectively get from Park Avenues (my yardstick for comparing sizes).

Lastly, I noticed that the brass screwed leather soles had almost no lip jutting out from around the edge of the shoe. The fact that RMW are one of the few RTW bootmakers around who still offer boots utilising this construction method made it even more attractive. I have heard that many Austro-Hungarian bespoke bootmakers still favour the technique.

The heel is a flat heel on the B529 last. With the brass screwed soles only a leather sole is possible.

RMW say that the brass screwed leather sole is replaceable and the brass screws wear down with the leather. Boots of this construction are, of course, suitable as dress shoes. I have confirmed that this is indeed the case with RMW in South Australia. This position agrees with the information on their website and catalogue. A forumite was mistakenly told by an ill informed salesman at the NY RMW store that it is meant only for riding boots.

Aesthetically, the brass screwed boots are much more pleasing than the RMW Goodyear welted boots:



This is what it looks like. Just to emphasise how sleek they are I have placed them side by side with a pair of UK size 7E Canonbury boots from John Lobb on their famous 7000 last. Incredibly, in terms of sleekness, the RMW Forum Special model (on the left) scarcely loses anything to its illustrious rival:



Even more surprisingly, the the Forum Special has a less prominent lip jutting out around the boots than the Goodyear welted John Lobbs:



If anything the Forum Special may arguably be a touch sleeker than the John Lobbs on their 7000 last.

Working Out Your Forum Special Size Based on Allen Edmonds Park Avenues

This is the Stock Standard Formula I have used to work out sizing. It works perfectly for me although the result is a skin tight boot:

AE PA size minus 0.5 but drop down 2 widths from your usual width

Example:

If you wear AE 10EEE your RMW size is 9.5H
If you wear AE 10EE your RMW size is 9.5G (medium)
If you wear AE 10E = RMW 9.5F
If you wear AE 10D (medium) = RMW 9.5E
If you wear AE 10C = RMW 9.5D
If you wear AE 10B = RMW 9.5C

In my case I wear AE PA 8D so I ordered an RMW 7.5E

Remember, I can only guarantee reasonable success when you order in the French veal calf. The yearling is thicker and less supple/stretchy and will feel up to a half size narrower. The kangaroo is even stretchier than the veal calf.

The only potential problem I can forsee (you will get to see objective measurements for yourself soon) is the Forum Special measures a fraction a narrower than my Park Avenues. If your PAs are extremely snug side to side (mine are quite snug sideways) or you want a looser, less skin tight fit you could go up a width. I will call this the Looser Fit Standard Formula.

AE PA size minus 0.5 and go down a width.

Example:

If you wear AE 10EE your RMW size is 9.5H
If you wear AE 10E = RMW 9.5G (medium)
If you wear AE 10D (medium) = RMW 9.5F
If you wear AE 10C = RMW 9.5E
If you wear AE 10B = RMW 9.5D

Here is a comparison of the lengths of the Forum Special in RMW 7.5E vs an AE Park Ave 8D:

https://img525.imageshack.us/my.php?image=forumspecialvspasidewayyz5.jpg

Here is a close up of the tips of the toes. You can see that the AE Nr 5 last is a very long nosed extended last:

https://img525.imageshack.us/my.php?image=forumspecialvspalengthsyh6.jpg

Remember, those of you happily wearing the Craftsman in AE PA size minus one will be wearing even shorter boots than this.

Here is a comparison of the widths. I am using calipers to compare widths. I set the calipers at the maximum width of the PAs:

https://img244.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pascalipersrb0.jpg

Then I take the calipers set at that width over to the Forum Specials:

https://img263.imageshack.us/my.php?image=b529vspawidthcalipersdn7.jpg

Notice that there is a gap of about 3 millimetres, showing that the PA measure wider. Though the Forum Special is narrower, the subjective sensation is one of a very similar fit to the PAs shown. I think the RMW has softer leather and the last has more volume vertically over the vamp. My 8D PAs are quite snug on me, especially sideways. The Forum Special definitely feels wider than AE 8Cs, which are way too narrow for me to fit into without pain.

OK, maybe the Forum Special feels subjectively just a tiny fraction narrower and quite snug around the ankles. But I like that feel of ankle support and the leather is already soft and supple brand new. As they get broken in that snugness should gradually ease off.

If you have concerns about the faint narrowness and shortness relative to PAs of the Forum Special in my Standard Formula, you could order a Forum Special using the Alternative Formula:

Your the same size as your AE PA size but drop down 2 widths from your usual width

Example:

If you wear AE 10EEE your RMW size is 10H
If you wear AE 10EE your RMW size is 10G (medium)
If you wear AE 10E => RMW 10F
If you wear AE 10D (medium) => RMW 10E
If you wear AE 10C => RMW 10D
If you wear AE 10B => RMW 10C


Working Out Your Forum Special Size Based On Crockett and Jones Sizing


Next for C&J afficionados this is my standard sizing conversion:

C&J UK size plus 0.5 and drop down two widths

Example

C&J UK 10F (wide) => RMW 10.5F
C&J UK 10E (medium) => RMW 10.5E
C&J UK 10D (narrow) => RMW 10.5D

Here is a comparison with a pair of UK size 7E Norfolks (not a regular catalogue offering) - possibly on the 335 last like the Coniston:

https://img101.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cjvsforumspecialxt8.jpg

You can see on this close up that the lengths are pretty much identical:

https://img254.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cjvsforumspecialtoesep2.jpg

Width wise, the C&Js measure much wider. However, once again the softer leather and greater volume over the vamps of RMW boots means that the fit feels subjectively similar, with the Forum Special only being somewhat narrower. If concerned you should not hesitate in goinng one width up.

Working Out Your Forum Special Size Based on John Lobb 7000 Last Sizing

Sizing vs the 7000 Last plus 0.5, and drop down one RMW size:

Example

UK Size 10 => RMW 10.5

You can see that the 7000 last and the Forum Special are similar in length:

https://img409.imageshack.us/my.php?image=forumspecialvscanonburyfo6.jpg

The 7000 last both feels wider as well as measuring wider. My conversion is thus:

7000 last UK size plus 0.5 and drop down one width:

Example:

UK size 10F (wide) => RMW 10.5G (medium)
UK size 10E (medium) => RMW 10.5F
UK size 10D (narrow) => RMW 10.5E



Buying Boots On-line

I have scored a minor coup for forum members. Just for you guys I rang up Steve of Nungar Trading Company today (I have NO financial interest in them at all):

https://www.nungar.com.au/

Normally voucher pricing is only offered to selected professional organisation members and the like. However, at my request Steve has agreed to sell to all forums members at the voucher prices mentioned on the item details of this webpage:



All you have to do is mention “Style Forum special voucher price deal” when you order.

The only minor catch is that RMW has just put its prices up and you will be charged $10 AUD (about $7.50 USD) more than the currently listed prices pending an upcoming website update.

Steve said he does not ship tax free (I didn’t understand why) and all prices on the site are inclusive of GST (or VAT as it is called in the UK).

Steve’s prices are much lower than those found on his rival seller's website:




My first recommendation for many forum members will be a pair of chestnut kangaroo Craftsman. Those wanting a sleeker look will be pleased with the Turnout in yearling leather (if you choose a narrow width). Those wanting a slightly more casual look should consider the Yearling. Anyone wanting a jodhpur boot should not hesitate in ordering the Stockman boot, although it will NOT be a wholecut. If you want other combinations of heel style, lasts and leathers you will need to put in a custom order. Try emailing Steve for a quote:

[email protected]

Ordering the Forum Special Model

Steve is offering a 5% discount on special orders for the Forum Special model at a price of $285 AUD (ie 224 US dollars, 172 Euros, or 113 Pounds Sterling at the time of writing). When you e-mail him just mention that you are ordering the Forum Special model (flat heel, B529 last, French veal calf, brass screwed leather soles).

For those of you wanting to order in yearling leather the cost is $240 AUD. And for kangaroo it is $255 AUD. For the kangaroo leather I would only use my Stock Standard Formula (AE PA size minus 0.5 and down two widths). For the yearling use the Looser Fit Standard Formula or else use the Alternative Formula.

Lastly, other online sellers and RMW will know nothing of the Forum Special model. This is something I have personally created. It is a custom order.

19 Sept 06: added more boot styles and images
20 Sept 06 revised US to Aus/UK sizing guide
30 Oct 06: added & revised quote from Helge Sternke’s new book
9 November: major revision of sizing guide
17 November: added link to show kangaroos are not an endangered species
9 Feb 2007: The Forum Special is announced!
10 Feb 2007: Added more details on converting AE sizes to RMW sizes based on lasts other than the AE Nr 5
 
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eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Thank you for a very thorough bit of research. As an avowed fan of RM Williams footwear and a consumer committed to thououghly researching a product prior to purchase, I have learned much I didn't know from your considerable effort. However regarding your endorsement of Nungar's as a preferred source due to their pricing, several years ago when I was buying my first pair of RM Williams, I placed an order for the kangaroo Craftsmans through Nungars. Five months later, with multiple unanswered inquiries as to my order status and no boots in hand, I cancelled my order with Nungars and placed an order with the Stitching Horse Bootery for a pair of yearling Craftsmans and a pair of kangaroo Craftsmans. Unbelievably, The Stitching Horse Bootery had the yearling Craftsmans delivered to my front porch in NW Indiana within five days, with an explanation that the kangaroo Craftsmans would require six to eight weeks for delivery, due to being on back order. Five weeks later my kangaroo Craftsmans were delivered. The Stitching Horse Bootery exceeded this customer's expectations...Nungars Trading Company didn't even try! Nungars may be very responsive to customers on sight, however, I can only hope that the treatment I recieved on my first order is not indicative on how they typically treat their online customers. Again, thanks for the research effort!
Eagle
 

Sator

Honors Member
BTW Andy, I am also trying to encourage Steve to advertise on your website. I suspect that with the sort of prices he offers these boots for he would do well if he chose to do so. Perhaps if you contacted him yourself he would be more willing? I am also trying to get him to introduce himself to the forum but that's another story.
 

Sator

Honors Member
Thank you for a very thorough bit of research. As an avowed fan of RM Williams footwear and a consumer committed to thououghly researching a product prior to purchase, I have learned much I didn't know from your considerable effort. However regarding your endorsement of Nungar's as a preferred source due to their pricing, several years ago when I was buying my first pair of RM Williams, I placed an order for the kangaroo Craftsmans through Nungars. Five months later, with multiple unanswered inquiries as to my order status and no boots in hand, I cancelled my order with Nungars and placed an order with the Stitching Horse Bootery for a pair of yearling Craftsmans and a pair of kangaroo Craftsmans. Unbelievably, The Stitching Horse Bootery had the yearling Craftsmans delivered to my front porch in NW Indiana within five days, with an explanation that the kangaroo Craftsmans would require six to eight weeks for delivery, due to being on back order. Five weeks later my kangaroo Craftsmans were delivered. The Stitching Horse Bootery exceeded this customer's expectations...Nungars Trading Company didn't even try! Nungars may be very responsive to customers on sight, however, I can only hope that the treatment I recieved on my first order is not indicative on how they typically treat their online customers. Again, thanks for the research effort!
Eagle

With special orders like kangaroo Craftmans 7-8 weeks is the usual wait time even when you order directly from RM Williams at their George St store in Sydney. I've got a pair of kangaroo Stockmans on order with Steve and he told me per phone that it will take this long but that is consistent with my experience with RM Williams in general. I've also noticed that to pin Steve down you have to ring him. He almost never responds to my emails. Either he rings me or I ring him.
 

Sator

Honors Member
For those of you interested in seeing the boots in person there are only two stores in the whole northern hemisphere:

R.M.Williams New York
46 East 59th Street
New York
USA
United States
10021
ph: 1 212 308 1808
fax: 1 212 832 0237

R.M.Williams London
102 New Bond St
LONDON
United Kingdom
W1S 1SS
ph: +44 2 07 6296222
fax: +44 2 07 6296333
 
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Undertakered

New Member
Great writeup Sator, confirms most of what I new about RM's.

Now for a brief hijak... what is all the commotion about elastic sided boots on here recently. I always veiwed elastic sided boots (like the craftsman) as work boots, made for working hard in labouring or farm type work. The impression that I get here is that you guys are wearing these with suits or something... is this an american thing I am not aware of ?

I mean I could wear these with jeans or work chinos no worries, but I would feel like a bit of a goose if I wore them with anything more dressy. Could someone explain this a little more, am I missing the point ? (btw I have owned several pairs of similar boots in my previous labouring life, but no RM's :) )

Regards
Harley
 

Sator

Honors Member
Great writeup Sator, confirms most of what I new about RM's.

Now for a brief hijak... what is all the commotion about elastic sided boots on here recently. I always veiwed elastic sided boots (like the craftsman) as work boots, made for working hard in labouring or farm type work. The impression that I get here is that you guys are wearing these with suits or something... is this an american thing I am not aware of ?

I mean I could wear these with jeans or work chinos no worries, but I would feel like a bit of a goose if I wore them with anything more dressy. Could someone explain this a little more, am I missing the point ? (btw I have owned several pairs of similar boots in my previous labouring life, but no RM's :) )

Regards
Harley

Great question. I'm glad you raised it.

Chelsea boots are equestrian boots. Wearing equestrian type boots with daytime formal wear has a long history. Beau Brummell wore equestrian top boots with his coats in full dress. Here is how he might have looked (except without the ruffles in the shirt):

https://img142.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ridingsuit19c9rm.jpg

If you look at Harper catalogues from the 1890s - 1910s you will see that most of the guys are shown wearing dress boots. Admittedly they wear mostly button and Oxford boots but it is part of the same tradition of guys wearing boots with full dress.

It is fairly common to wear Chelsea boots with a suit here in Australia. People from overseas say they are surprised at first but then they say they actually quite like it. I think it might be one of those cases where due to the remoteness of Australia a 19th century tradition that has died off in Europe and the Americas may have survived here.

There is something very powerfully masculine about boots that make shoes seem a bit effeminate by comparison, dressier though they may be. Boots are what men traditionally wear when marching to war, riding a horse, as well as working the mines. So why not wear them riding into the battlefield of the business world?
 
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Sator

Honors Member
Great writeup Sator, confirms most of what I new about RM's.

Now for a brief hijak... what is all the commotion about elastic sided boots on here recently. I always veiwed elastic sided boots (like the craftsman) as work boots, made for working hard in labouring or farm type work. The impression that I get here is that you guys are wearing these with suits or something... is this an american thing I am not aware of ?

I mean I could wear these with jeans or work chinos no worries, but I would feel like a bit of a goose if I wore them with anything more dressy. Could someone explain this a little more, am I missing the point ? (btw I have owned several pairs of similar boots in my previous labouring life, but no RM's :) )

Regards
Harley

I only just noticed you are in Melbourne. At one meeting here in Sydney recently I noticed about 1 in 4 or so of the guys were wearing Chelsea boots with their suits. Maybe you Melbournians are a different breed?:icon_smile_wink:
 

Undertakered

New Member
I only just noticed you are in Melbourne. At one meeting here in Sydney recently I noticed about 1 in 4 or so of the guys were wearing Chelsea boots with their suits. Maybe you Melbournians are a different breed?:icon_smile_wink:

Dunno if we are a different breed. In any case i am a bit of a mongrel, having spent half my life in Geelong and Rurul Victoria, and the other half in Adelaide. Needless to say there are not too many Sartorial aware people in Adelaide... dressing up is leaving out the nose-ring :icon_smile_wink:

In my current case I have not really worked in a suited environment, my previous boss kind of frowned on suits (it was however hilarious to see his expression when I wore my ascot for the first time), so I have not really had much experience checking to see what Aussie men wear under their suit pants. Perhaps other Melbournians can enlighten me ?

It was just my impression that elastic sided boots in general were for those wife beater and shorts times, ie when you are working hard whether or not you are riding a horse, and the thought of an elastic sided dress boot was a bit of an anathema to me. However after looking at the craftsmans, i can see their appeal, and if indeed Melbournians wear them I might get a pair. Note that I was already looking for a good pair of boots for suit wear, jsut not elastic sided ones.

Thanks for the reply.
Harley
 

MarkY

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Thanks for a great writeup. However, I haven't been able to find the Craftsman in an "F" width. I wear an 8D in AE and from your sizing explanation I should be ordering a Craftsman in 7F. They only list G and H widths or am I missing something?
 

Sator

Honors Member
Thanks for a great writeup. However, I haven't been able to find the Craftsman in an "F" width. I wear an 8D in AE and from your sizing explanation I should be ordering a Craftsman in 7F. They only list G and H widths or am I missing something?

It's definitely listed in their current spring/summer catalogue as being routinely available (no custom order required):

https://img237.imageshack.us/my.php?image=craftsmannt4.jpg


If ordering through Steve, I would ask him about it. Custom orders cost a little more but you should only be charged regular prices for an F fit Craftsman. Remember too that this page I scanned out of the latest RMW catalogue is more up to date than Steve's website.
 
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jcusey

Senior Moderator<br>Technical Support
Thank you for the post, Sator. I have been eyeing RM Williams boots for a while, and I think that this is what will push me over the edge.
 

Sator

Honors Member
Thanks for a great writeup. However, I haven't been able to find the Craftsman in an "F" width. I wear an 8D in AE and from your sizing explanation I should be ordering a Craftsman in 7F. They only list G and H widths or am I missing something?

On second thought did you perhaps mean the kangaroo or veal calf Craftsman? The F fit is routinely available only if it is in yearling leather and either black or chestnut. Anything else and you are looking at a custom order (nothing wrong with that except that it costs a little more and takes 7-8 weeks).
 
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Sator

Honors Member
Thank you for the post, Sator. I have been eyeing RM Williams boots for a while, and I think that this is what will push me over the edge.

I am pleased my post has been of interest to you :icon_smile: . Aportnoy also expressed similar interest in the other post that lead me to hastily complete my drafts for a definitive post on RMW boots. I suggested to him that a pair of chestnut coloured kangaroo leather Chelsea boots from Australia would be a very collectable beast indeed. Still I look forward with great interested to read your assessment of the construction and leather quality when you do get your pair.
 
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Nick

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Thanks for spending the time to research and write a terrific post. You do us all a service.

When I first moved to Australia 15 years ago I was a bit shocked to see senior executives wearing their RM Williams in conservative legal and investment banking circles. But the look has slowly grown on me and I think I'm now ready to take the plunge. Will report back on my first day in the office wearing "farm boots".

BTW, non-Aussies may be interested to know that there is another popular brand of similar boots in Australia, Blundstones. https://www.blundstone.com.au/

But there are distinct social nuances. RM Williams is considered a more "white collar" boot, blundstones generally more blue collar-- a more "genuine" working man's boot. In fact I once over-heard two people comparing universities and describing one as being "an RM Williams sort of place" and the other as "a bit more Blundstone."

Nick
 

Sator

Honors Member
"Sir, you have forgot your horse"

When I first moved to Australia 15 years ago I was a bit shocked to see senior executives wearing their RM Williams in conservative legal and investment banking circles. But the look has slowly grown on me and I think I'm now ready to take the plunge. Will report back on my first day in the office wearing "farm boots".

Nick

"Farm boots"? More precisely Chelsea boots are equestrian boots.

In some ways your initial reaction is similar to that of Richard 'Beau' Nash, arbiter of fashion and taste in Bath in early 18th century who reacted with disdain to the growing trend for gentlemen to wear equestrian boots for all occasions by confronting them abruptly with the greeting of "Sir, you have forgot your horse!" By Beau Brummell's time it had become fully the norm and apart from when in court dress and in formal evening dress with pumps, riding top boots were universally worn.

Yes, it is so terribly Aussie and like you it took a while for me warm to the idea but there is an old fashioned sort of masculine elegance to wearing equestrian boots with a suit.
 
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DocHolliday

Honors Member
John Steed wore chelseas with his suits and looked pretty sharp.

Here's a pricing roundup for three online merchants that ship to the U.S. All are for the Craftsman in yearling:

Nungar.com.au: $230AUD + $50AUD shipping = $280 AUD or approx. $211 U.S. (Just got an e-mail confirming the shipping.)

Bootsonline.com.au: $275AUD + $50AUD shipping = $325AUD or $245 U.S.

Aussiebushhats.com.au: $240AUD + $36AUD shipping = $276AUD or $208 U.S.
 
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kbuzz

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
rm williams store i nyc?

where is the nyc store. Is it the on 59th /park/madison near johns shoe repair?
 

geojohn

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Summary:
RMW size = US size – 1

In terms of length RMW length is more like US size – 1.5. In fact an RMW 7.5 G is identical in length to an AE 8D.

Sator,

Thank you for taking the time to put this together. I've been searching for something in suede, and I think I've found it.

I'm a little confused about the size conversion, however. FWIW, I wear a US 11.5D in most shoes. The conversion chart indicates US size - 1, but you then say US size - 1.5, and then give an example where the conversion is US size - 0.5. Can you clarify this?

Thanks!
 
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