Rant: Boots with zips, really?

I like a nice pair of boots. Not because I have any particular need for the ruggedness, but because I like their look, their no messing sturdiness, and well, just because. I do have a strong opinion when it comes to boots though and that is that if you’re going to wear boots, you should wear boots. Not play-boots.

877 selvedge

Boots will by their very nature demand more lacing. They go higher, they need lacing up, such is life. If you want to wear boots this is something you just have to accept. Some boots, like my 8″ tall Red Wing 877s are arduous in this respect, as there are eyelets all the way up. Putting them on or taking them off involves unlacing more than half the eyelets, and this is no small task. They feel really good when they’re on though.

Red Wing Ice Cutters 3

Other boots will have part eyelets and part hooks. This saves time, every time. The only real disadvantage is that the hooks tend to eat up the laces, so it becomes a question of cost versus time. If you’re of an economy-orientated mind and have too much time on your hands.

What I really wanted to express my total disdain for was something I came across when I happened to find myself in a local shoe shop recently. What in the name of manliness is this crap?

Photo 07.11.15, 11.50.48

The boots themselves look like acceptable boots. Fair leather, some craft gone into them, they laced up with brass eyelets. The sole looks a bit like nasty folded rubber, but all in all they’re not bad.

Photo 07.11.15, 11.51.02

So what is this we find on the inside? A zip? Christ, man, there are 7 pairs of eyelets do run the laces though and you’re not man enough to get them on and off without a zip? I was about to say this is deeply tragic, though only in a man/boot/what is the world coming to sense. It’s a strange design twist to not even put the zipper of shame on the inner side though, proudly displaying it on the outside like this does not bode well for the wearer, unless he likes being soundly mocked.

Photo 07.11.15, 11.54.34

The same brand came up with this one. I first noticed the tweediness poking through the zipper, so I was almost sucked into thinking that these looked quite nice. Almost. That zipper stuck out like a sore thumb, but this time it’s on the inside, so a little less easy to spot. Eagle eyed readers will spot the total design failure though. Take a few seconds to evaluate, get in nice and close. Can you see it?

Yes, indeed. Well spotted. Not only are there 5 pairs of eyelets, but they’re topped with 2 pairs of hooks, so these boots are actually easy to get on and off, even without that stupid zip.

Random broken boots from Google Images.

Random broken boots from Google Images.

In addition to the testosterone depleting nature of zips, zips also break. Swiftly and often, and they will either need repairs or the boot is junk. Boots without zips will last for years. Just ask your mate with the calculator watch which makes more sense. Of course, chances are his boots zip up.

That’s not the worst I’ve seen though. I noticed just the other day a girl wearing boots with zips up both sides. So there was a zip for decoration and a zip to enable the long boots to be removed. I wanted to take a photo, but wearing a long dark coat probably already had me gathering perv points, so I decided to just stroll on by.

WDW suggests the double zips might be useful for ladies with fat ankles, though I’m undecided whether that helps matters. Oh, she also suggests that fussing about with lots of eyelets on tall bots is silly nerdiness and that zippers are ace. I won’t ask her opinion in the future.

The boots that inspired this piece are by a Swedish brand. I refuse to mention names, but their “about us” pages claims they are “... all about denim, but not denim… Our core values as a footwear brand are firmly rooted in the urban-denim culture of the wet and misty Gothenburg environment. This is where we get our inspiration.

All I can see are those zips.

7 Responses to “Rant: Boots with zips, really?”

  1. Brian in Alberta

    I generally agree with you but we are talking about fashion. Here in Canada the temperature sometimes drops a bit but contrary to popular belief Canadians don’t spend the winter wearing mukluks. For commuting to work or school a relatively lightly insulated boot is all that’s required. And because you may be putting those boots on and off several times during the day, often in a crowded entryway, zippers are a great convenience. Boot styles designed as “commuter boots” often only have a zipper but many people want the look of a lace-up. So boots are manufactured with both closure systems. Canada has a number of makers who specialize in this type of boot; Anfibio is one of my favorites (https://www.bottesanfibio.com/store/men-boots). An added bonus of zippers in cold climates is that they don’t freeze-up as badly as laces.

    • Well Dressed Dad

      I’d actually argue that zips will freeze up worse than laces, and be more prone to break or cause annoyance when frozen. Granted, it might be handy if either lace or zip is frozen to have a backup, but … a man doesn’t need it. Heck, why not add in some velcro as well? 🙂

  2. Dauvit Alexander

    It is a perennial question of design: does it have utility or is it a decorative whim?
    If the laces – or zip – serve no useful purpose, get rid of them. The boot will be better-designed.

    • Brian in Alberta

      Dauvit, your a skilled jeweler; “decorative whim” is at the core of your art. Fashion would be boring if function was the only criteria in clothing design.

  3. Brandon

    I agree, WDD. Zippers on footwear are always unacceptable. Apart from being totally redundant when laces are already present, the vast majority of zippers are of terrible quality and once broken, can be a pain to repair, if at all possible. They are almost always a sign of poor quality footwear. Not to mention, in my opinion, they look absolutely terrible 100% of the time, in my opinion.

    Like WDG, my partner feels differently from me, haha. After she bought some expensive mid-calf Doc Marten brogue boots with side zips that broke (twice) she still wants more zipper boots!


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