Although I quite briefly touched upon winter boots in my post on style tips for the Autumn and Winter (if you missed them, find parts one, two and three here), I thought I’d offer up a few more specific tips of boots that might take your fancy right about now. The selection is based on boots I’ve noticed, with input from my savvy sartorial sidekick Scratch, for more left-field selections. The parameters are quite flexible, though warmth and grip and important, in addition to looking good.
So, without further ado, let me present 5 boots that would do you feet proud this winter (and many winters to come).
First out is a pair of boots from that mainstay of quality, yet mainstream, mens shows, Ecco. You just know that buying a pair of Danish Eccos will never leave you stranged. Well made, well designed and priced a little above average. They’ll last, they’ll be comfortable and stylewish they continue to evolve from season to season, without being total trendwhores or leaders. Theres nothing really standout about these boots, but I wanted to include a pair of Eccos to set a baseline. In oiled Nubuck leather, with ultra-breathable textile lining and a removable leather covered insole with their Comfort Fibre System (whatever that is), I’m sure they are great to wear, and they look decent as well. More expensive than cheap boots, but cheaper than truly singular boots.
Fracap M127 Roccia Vibram Sole Scarponcino Boot
Second out is a more specialist number from Italy. This handmade hiking style boot was for the Japanese market only until recently, which as we know are very into the retro and casual style. These feature full grain leather uppers, a solid Goodyear welted to a Vibram commando style sole. The colour of the leather on these is fantastic and contrasts beautifully with the chrome hardware. Nicely padded around the ankle as well. A definite contender. Price wise these are actually very nicely priced, which does make them a very attractive proposal. .
Yuketen Angler Boot
To really mix things up we’ve included a Japanese-designed boot, made in the USA, with an Italian sole. For those that know Yuketen, the Angler boot is a reworking of what is probably their most recognised silhoutte. The designer, Yuki Matsuda, who is also behind the MonItaly label, has an expert eye for detail and an obvious love for American heritage footwear. This style is based on huntsman type footwear, with updates like the Italian Cortina sole and the chromexcel leather uppers. A great look with the commando sole and leather laces. The Moc-toe gives it a slightly Red Wing look, but the special leather makes it very different. The more I look at this, the more I like it. Price wise these are definitely expensive, more than twice the price of the cheapest boots here. Justifiable? Well, you’re unlikely to meet another pair on your travels. I found these at End Clothing.
Diemme Tirol Wing
A sightly controversial choice, these Diemmes. I love brogues, so a hybrid hiking boot/brogue seems like such a next-level match that it must be great. And these Diemmes are so very close to being wonderful (or awesome, if you like). Made in Montebelluna, Italy, considered the world capital of hiking and ski boot manufacture, they use the finest English and Italian leathers and components available. This cheeky little number combines the silhouette of a hiking book with the detailing of a traditional brogue, with the aim of including the features of both worlds in a perfect hybrid. I’m only halfway convinced, and though I think they look almost marvellous and are surely incredibly nice to wear, that sole just doesn’t work well for me. Doubtless nicer for striding around in than a rugged commando sole, the commando sole would last longer and handle ice and snow better. A shame, as I could really see myself in a pair of these. Price wise these are definitely on the spendy side, so unless you’re really adoring them, you may want to pass on them. I found these at End Clothing.
Red Wing Ice Cutter
Well, you saw it coming, right? We could hardly not include a pair of USA-made Red Wings in this piece, right? The Ice Cutters may not be the most obvious choice to include, with the Beckmans and Moc toes being most popular, but for winter use they are compelling. The Ice Cutters are to me the most appropriate for winter use, with proper commando soles and an insulating wool lining. As history has it these were originally built to provide rugged workers with an insulated boot built on a sole capable of gripping ice and snow. The leather uppers are Red Maple Ottertail Leather uppers and lined with wool to provide insulation from the cold. The Vibram Lug commando sole is of course Goodyear Welted to the upper. The leather on these boots is less leathery, if that makes sense, almost feels synthetic. With care though, they should last almost forever (read this post by Scratch for more experiences of a life with Red Wings). The Ice Cutters are also available in black, which appears to be the “in” colour this season (do you care?), but they really do look best in the Maple colour. Price wise these are around the mid-point.
I strongly recommend trying Red Wings on before buying, as like Grensons, the sizing is odd. You may find you need to go down a full size to get boots that fit as they should. Find them at End Clothing!
Remember: It is justifiable to spend money on buying pricier boots with a proper construction. Look at it long term and consider the cost benefits of re-soling them versus spending a smaller amount on cheap boots that only last a single season.
Update: Scratch has expressed disappointment that the Paraboots Avoriaz didn’t make the cut. To my eyes, these are very like the Fracaps above. Uniquely these are made in France, and feature a Norwegian welted construction! Paraboots are undeniably a top notch brand, so here you go, the Avoriaz:
So, dear reader, what is your choice?