It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally added a pair of Tricker’s boots to my footwear collection. Suffice it to say, they do not disappoint.
Having been an avid shoe and boot enthusiast for some three decades of my working life, one of the challenges I now face is in finding any articulable justification / excuse / rationalization for any additional purchase.
I am fortunate to have been in a position to assemble a diverse and comprehensive rotation of quality footwear from a broad range of makers across the globe. As a consequence, future purchases will be vastly fewer and further between than they have been in the past.
After all, I have but one pair of feet and there are only so many days in a year.
There has been one brand, however, that through pure happenstance has managed to elude acquisition. And that brand just happens to be the oldest of all manufacturers from Northampton: Tricker’s.
Since 1829, and while surviving the vagaries of industrialization; global conflict and economic upheaval, Tricker’s has been quietly and consistently producing excellent quality traditional English footwear which draws heavily upon the traditions of the country aesthetic.
When one thinks of Tricker’s products, the image that springs to mind is one of heavy, rugged and sturdy shoes and boots – thick soles, heavy brogueing and an indestructible look and feel. With a pair of Tricker’s strapped on, one might tread upon a comparatively delicate Corthay Arca and not even notice!
In my estimation, the model which represents the iconic embodiment of this historic brand is the Stow country boot. Indeed, this 7 eyelet brogued derby boot has a better claim than most to being the definitive English country boot.
Particularly when rendered in warm golden tan, this boot stands as a prominent hallmark of the of the Tricker`s brand. As it happened, my fondness for that particular version of the boot proved to be part of the problem. Derby boots in the tan / brown earth tone range were already over-represented in my rotation.
However, the stars recently aligned when I came across this particular pair offered on the Herring Shoes web site. This rendered in a decidedly contemporary shade of navy calf.
Adding To My Rotation
Now, I have long been a proponent of the view that navy is a wrongfully overlooked and under-utilized shade for premium men’s footwear. While it would not be the first or likely even the fifth choice when one first embarks upon putting together a sound rotation, it is a superb selection for those who have the basics well and truly covered.
My rotation had already embraced a navy wholecut oxford (Carmina); navy suede chukka (also Carmina) and a formal navy oxford dress boot (Vass). But a stout brogued country boot in this shade provided just the articulable justification / excuse / rationalization that I had been lacking.
Ordering from Herring proved to a breeze – which came as no surprise to me given their excellent reputation and my own (rather dated) prior purchase experience.
A couple clicks of the mouse saw my order confirmed the same day, shipped the next, and across the pond onto my doorstep in Canada just two days thereafter.
The boots arrived well packaged in a sturdy Tricker’s box and flannel bags, both (no doubt coincidentally) in the same shade of navy as the boots themselves. The good people at Herring generously included a shoe horn and small tin of neutral shoe cream in the box. I was all set.
Tricker’s Stow Country Boot: Initial Impressions
Initial impressions aligned with my expectations – which were very high indeed. Removing the boots from their soft wrapping, I immediately understood that I was holding a quality piece of kit. Mass and volume are the first elements noticed.
Even allowing for the fact that I had purchased the boots with a quality set of shoe trees inserted, these impressed as a heavy pair.
The 4497S last employed in the construction of these boots dictates a classic round-toe profile of generous width. This is in turn visually amplified by the wide welt. The boots definitely present a broad-shouldered stance.
Closer and more careful examination would disclose no cause for disappointment. The stitching, brogueing, general assembly and finish of these boots are wholly commensurate with their standard list price of GBP445.
The navy calf has a slightly flat, almost waxy finish that is well suited to its intended role. Higher gloss can be achieved with just a couple quick coats of neutral wax for those so inclined.
While a number of outsole options are available on the Stow – from traditional leather to synthetics such as Dainite – my pair was equipped with a lugged commando outsole. For a boot that is built to manage all manner of weather and terrain, this is an excellent choice.
While lacking the ultimate durability of Dainite, the commando sole counters with both a softer, more malleable feel under foot. This boot has the ability to gain better purchase when traversing snow, grassy fields or broken ground.
Where They Really Shine
It is when one moves from the paved sidewalk to the gravel country lanes; woodland trails and open fields that the design elements of these boots really shine. The broad profile provides a very stable platform for confident strides across uncertain ground. That heavy lugged outsole delivers comfort and security in equal measure.
A short hike for the first outing disclosed impressive out of the box comfort, albeit with some noticeable and expected stiffness in the upper and shaft.
While the chunky country aesthetic may not hold universal appeal, I find it to be a very handsome boot. One that is possessed of a quality that not all of its competitors can claim: authenticity.
There is zero pretense with this boot. There is no element whatsoever of trying to be something that it is not. It is a product that speaks with quiet eloquence of its long history, with no apologies made – or required – for it’s stout and rustic aesthetic.
And one of the appealing features of this model is its availability is a staggering range of materials and colours.
While long overdue, I am happy to welcome the Stow into the fold. And should any Corthay Arcas present themselves within stomping range, I shall strive to exhibit both decorum and restraint.
By: Roger Pinnock (aka RogerP)