coldfire3k3

Starting Member
6
Australia
NSW
Sydney
Gents,

I have rather difficult to fit feet. For this reason I think St. Crispin's MTO program with the personal last option is perfect for me.

I'm looking to get a pair of versatile boots and wanted some advice on selecting a suitable style, colour, leather and out-sole material.

My requirements (in the order of importance) are:

1) comfortable to walk in
2) can handle the elements and some light off-road walking
3) low maintenance
4) can also be worn in more formal occasions (and if possible with a suit)
5) breathes well and is suitable for use in the warmer months

Based on my research I'm leaning towards the following:

- a Derby boot (would an Oxford boot be suitable too? I do think these look better).
- a grain leather (such as Russian calf, mountain calf or Inca calf) or Reverso Juchtenleder for durability. Which would be best?
- medium brown 076 colour uppers for versatility.
- Ridgeway rubber soles for comfort and for grip when wet or walking off-road.
- A Norwegian welt for weather proofing (is this compatible with a Ridgeway sole?).

High-end footwear is still quite new to me so any help on this will be much appreciated!
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
21,578
United States
New Jersey
Flanders
Gents,

I have rather difficult to fit feet. For this reason I think St. Crispin's MTO program with the personal last option is perfect for me.

I'm looking to get a pair of versatile boots and wanted some advice on selecting a suitable style, colour, leather and out-sole material.

My requirements (in the order of importance) are:

1) comfortable to walk in
2) can handle the elements and some light off-road walking
3) low maintenance
4) can also be worn in more formal occasions (and if possible with a suit)
5) breathes well and is suitable for use in the warmer months

Based on my research I'm leaning towards the following:

- a Derby boot (would an Oxford boot be suitable too? I do think these look better).
- a grain leather (such as Russian calf, mountain calf or Inca calf) or Reverso Juchtenleder for durability. Which would be best?
- medium brown 076 colour uppers for versatility.
- Ridgeway rubber soles for comfort and for grip when wet or walking off-road.
- A Norwegian welt for weather proofing (is this compatible with a Ridgeway sole?).

High-end footwear is still quite new to me so any help on this will be much appreciated!


The beast depicted above is a Cameleopard. It is part camel, part leopard with a bit of goat thrown in for good measure. It's a fine beastie, with its only difficulty being that if you want one, you can't have it , because it doesn't exist. ;)

And that issue is at the crux of your specifications. Contained in them are inherent conflicts which can only be dealt with through compromise. Even bespoke or MTM can't be all things.

At the heart of such conflict is that any footwear intended to be worn off road and requiring low maintenance is not footwear well suited for wear with suits, and the opposite. Only boots that are more refined in appearance can desirably be worn with suits, and such boots are by their nature less well suited to more extreme uses and conditions.

IMO, the best compromise would likely be a chukka boot, in smooth or grained leather, rather than suede, in medium brown with either a Ridgeway or Dainite sole. Suede is dandy, and with Tarrago's Nano-protector virtually waterproof, but there will be no way to avoid Australian dust eventually getting caked in the nap, even with proper maintenance if you wear them off road.

And irrespective what you get, you will have to maintain them! But this need not be laborious. Give them a minute's vigorous brushing with a good horsehair brush after wear to remove all dust and particles. Of course, if you've got gunk on them wipe that off first. If they get truly dirty clean them with a gentle leather cleaner. If they get scuffed, touch them up with some shoe cream and then buff it out. Less is more for maintenance anyway.

As it happens, St. Crispin makes a particularly handsome and urbane chukka, which for my money would look better than many with some suits, but can still serve well for general casual wear.


 
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Fading Fast

Connoisseur
8,073
United States
New York
NY


The beast depicted above is a Cameleopard. It is part camel, part leopard with a bit of goat thrown in for good measure. It's a fine beastie, with its only difficulty being that if you want one, you can't have it , because it doesn't exist. ;)...
LOL, wonderful.
 

coldfire3k3

Starting Member
6
Australia
NSW
Sydney


The beast depicted above is a Cameleopard. It is part camel, part leopard with a bit of goat thrown in for good measure. It's a fine beastie, with its only difficulty being that if you want one, you can't have it , because it doesn't exist. ;)

And that issue is at the crux of your specifications. Contained in them are inherent conflicts which can only be dealt with through compromise. Even bespoke or MTM can't be all things.

At the heart of such conflict is that any footwear intended to be worn off road and requiring low maintenance is not footwear well suited for wear with suits, and the opposite. Only boots that are more refined in appearance can desirably be worn with suits, and such boots are by their nature less well suited to more extreme uses and conditions.

IMO, the best compromise would likely be a chukka boot, in smooth or grained leather, rather than suede, in medium brown with either a Ridgeway or Dainite sole. Suede is dandy, and with Tarrago's Nano-protector virtually waterproof, but there will be no way to avoid Australian dust eventually getting caked in the nap, even with proper maintenance if you wear them off road.

And irrespective what you get, you will have to maintain them! But this need not be laborious. Give them a minute's vigorous brushing with a good horsehair brush after wear to remove all dust and particles. Of course, if you've got gunk on them wipe that off first. If they get truly dirty clean them with a gentle leather cleaner. If they get scuffed, touch them up with some shoe cream and then buff it out. Less is more for maintenance anyway.

As it happens, St. Crispin makes a particularly handsome and urbane chukka, which for my money would look better than many with some suits, but can still serve well for general casual wear.


Thank you for your reply, this is exactly the type of advise I need!

One question: do you recommend any specific grain or smooth leather? I believe St. Crispin's offer the following which might be suitable:

- Crust calf (smooth)
- Aniline calf (smooth)
- Mountain calf (grain)
- Inca calf (grain)
- Russian calf (grain)
- Reverso Juchtenleder
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
21,578
United States
New Jersey
Flanders
Thank you for your reply, this is exactly the type of advise I need!

One question: do you recommend any specific grain or smooth leather? I believe St. Crispin's offer the following which might be suitable:

- Crust calf (smooth)
- Aniline calf (smooth)
- Mountain calf (grain)
- Inca calf (grain)
- Russian calf (grain)
- Reverso Juchtenleder
I don't know what many of those are. And such terminology, as often as not are only descriptive terms for marketing purposes as contrasted to an actual specific type of hide.

Working through the list, this is what I think I know:

Crust calf is a particular way of offering the hide, and while it can be luminous, requires greater care and feeding than the next term on the list, aniline, which while actually a way of dyeing the hide, often also connotes that it's sealed and requires minimal additional care. (Such as I described.)

The next three are indicated to be leather to which a texture is imparted. Most commonly this is done by pressing the pattern into the finished hide, often with rollers. Less commonly, the grain pattern is the result of the way it is tanned. The only one of these I know I've seen is the Russian calf, in which the hide is given a pattern that resembles a very fine cross hatching. (I won't give the whole story of the derivation of the name here.) The others I don't have a clue about, but I suspect you can source photos of the individual hides, either through the St. Cripin's website, or elsewhere.

Don't know the last on the list, but from it's name would be almost certain that it is some form of suede.

Were it me, I'd opt for the Russian grain, of which the chukkas in my photo are made, or one of the other grain leathers if I preferred their appearance. And while I have no personal experience with crust hides, from what I've read I think it a fair possibility they might require more attention than you've indicated you wish to devote.
 
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TheDlABlO

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
175
Those are nice boots. I very much think that calf brown Chukkas, smooth, pebbled, or otherwise, are very versatile. Casual or with dress slacks, they can work in non suede form. The brown calf makes them dressier than suede but not overly dressy like black. perfect compromise.

in fact, the ONLY pair of boots I own are brown smooth calf chukkas with a dainite.
 

RogerP

Connoisseur
6,112
Canada
ON
Oakville
Russian calf is beautiful and would make for a superb pair of chukkas. It would not be my first choice for all weather durability, however.

If St. C. offers a traditional pebble grained leather, that would be preferable.
 

RogerP

Connoisseur
6,112
Canada
ON
Oakville


The beast depicted above is a Cameleopard. It is part camel, part leopard with a bit of goat thrown in for good measure. It's a fine beastie, with its only difficulty being that if you want one, you can't have it , because it doesn't exist. ;)

And that issue is at the crux of your specifications. Contained in them are inherent conflicts which can only be dealt with through compromise. Even bespoke or MTM can't be all things....
Very true - one boot can't be all things and serve well for all occasions. That said, the question did have me thinking which of the several pairs of boots that I own would prove to be the most versatile? Acceptable to wear with a suit is the most problematic element. To my mind that calls for a dress boot - and those are less versatile in terms of dressing down, not to mention less suited (pardon the pun) for "off road" wear.

I think this pair by G&G would come the closest in terms of versatility in a single pair:



Rendered in grain for better all-weather wear:



A monochrome version of my St. Crispin's PC boot would serve well:



While chukkas are technically boots, and quite arguably the single most versatile item of footwear that a gentleman can own, I've always thought of them more as shoes. But they might be a safer bet for a first foray with high end maker, as the fit will be more forgiving than in a tall boot.
 

coldfire3k3

Starting Member
6
Australia
NSW
Sydney
Very true - one boot can't be all things and serve well for all occasions. That said, the question did have me thinking which of the several pairs of boots that I own would prove to be the most versatile? Acceptable to wear with a suit is the most problematic element. To my mind that calls for a dress boot - and those are less versatile in terms of dressing down, not to mention less suited (pardon the pun) for "off road" wear.

I think this pair by G&G would come the closest in terms of versatility in a single pair:



Rendered in grain for better all-weather wear:



A monochrome version of my St. Crispin's PC boot would serve well:



While chukkas are technically boots, and quite arguably the single most versatile item of footwear that a gentleman can own, I've always thought of them more as shoes. But they might be a safer bet for a first foray with high end maker, as the fit will be more forgiving than in a tall boot.
Many thanks for sharing! I do have one question about grain leather. My understanding is that these are basically embossed with a pattern. What makes grain leather more weather resistant than a smooth leather such as aniline calf?

Also which out-sole would you recommend for comfort?
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
14,560
United States
Illinois
Chicago
Many thanks for sharing! I do have one question about grain leather. My understanding is that these are basically embossed with a pattern. What makes grain leather more weather resistant than a smooth leather such as aniline calf?

Also which out-sole would you recommend for comfort?
There is nothing specific about the pebble graining process that would make it water resistant.

Rather, it is typically used in country shoes and by virtue of that, sometimes treated for water repellency.
 
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