We Australians love our boots. With cooler weather setting in that also means we need no excuse to pull them out of storage. And what's not to love? Quality boots take you on adventures, they lift most casual ensembles and.. they just look badass. Or, if you're in the market, it also means the gratifying experience of a new boot purchase. However, with a limitless supply of options available, we thought we would recommend our top five pairs for 2019, chosen for their style, comfort, quality and availability within Australia.
Clark's Original Desert Boots
Cost $190 to $270
There is nothing more classic than the original desert boot by Clarks. Not technically a winter boot, because there is no lining and only a single layer of leather, but still very wearable for Australia's climate and you will likely get good use out of them in our colder months.
Style: An iconic boot worn by the likes of Steve McQueen and the Beatles, it is one of the more famous casual boot styles available. Best paired with jeans or even chinos and perfect for weekends or casual Friday.
Comfort: A very light-weight boot. The crepe sole (also infamously known as 'Brothel Creepers') makes for very easy wearing and minimal to no break-in period. The lack of lining make them less preferable for very cold weather or hiking across the countryside.
Quality: The beauty in these boots is in their simplicity. A basic stitchdown construction attaches the upper to the crepe sole. Three versions of the Original Desert Boot are available. According to the Gentleman's Gazette, the Made In Italy is the better made of the three, featuring suede from Charles F. Stead, a better quality crepe outsole and basic stitchdown construction.
Availability: Clarks original desert boots are available via Clarks Australian website. Italian made version does not appear to be available for purchase in Australia.
Thomas George Collection Stitchdown Service Boots
These Service Boots are versatile, durable and great value at the sub-$400 price mark. With full-disclosure, these boots are also the new passion project of Trimly Founder James Seaford.
Style: Service boots can go with any style. It is little wonder why it has been voted the most popular footwear choice by shoe enthusiasts several years running. The TG Collection Stitchdown Service Boots feature tight needle-work, often found in higher-end shoes, which gives them a slightly more refined look but are still the perfect boot for the weekend explorer or weekday shopper.
Comfort: Featuring leather in-sole, mid-sole and cork bedding, combined with its quality construction, makes for a comfortable boot that gets better the more you wear them.
Quality: The Boots are made in partnership with respected shoemaker Fugashin, a Japanese-Vietnamese joint venture from their Saigon factory. Made to the exacting standards of the Japanese market, using quality French calf and English suede leather, these boots bat above their weight.
Availability: Pre-orders available for purchase via the Thomas George Collection website.
R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman
From the iconic Australian brand R.M. Williams. The Comfort Craftsman features a rubber sole, the famous one whole piece of leather upper and the iconic pull tabs.
Comfort: R.M. Williams boots are traditionally built for durability and to withstanding the demands of Australia's outback. However, with a durable rubber sole, the Comfort Craftsman is perfect for everyday wear and needs little break-in. Also available in narrow, regular and wide fittings. The heel can sometimes be a bit roomy.
Style: The Comfort Craftsman is a versatile Chelsea Boot that is the perfect semi-formal boot. Yes, you can get away with them in a suit (in Australia, anyway), but with the square toe, we feel there are more refined versions of the Chelsea boot available.
Quality: The upper is made from Yearling and is one whole piece that's stitched together at the back. Yearling is a cow slaughtered at one year of age and the leather is soft yet durable and creases finely. RM has copped a bit of stick since it sold out to LVHM, as well as moving some of its production offshore, however, these boots are still very well-made and, comparably, good value for a sub-$600 boot.
Availability: Available online or instore.
Tricker's Stow Boot
The quintessential boot for the country gentleman: the Stow is to the English farmer as the Craftsman is to the Aussie grazer.
Comfort: The Stow is made on the 4497s last, with generous fitting properties and a slightly wider fit. It is also a bit roomier at the heel, so if you're not looking to wear thick socks you may consider selecting a half-size down. Still, a very comfortable boot designed for people who work on their feet.
Style: Tricker's Stow, along with Grenson's Fred, are brogue boot of choice for many a well-heeled man. Like all Tricker footwear, these boots feature slightly larger broguing and are slightly more rugged than their Northampton contemporaries. Pair nicely with jeans, cords, chinos, tweed, with a wax or bomber jacket.
Quality: The Stow is constructed using the 360-degree Goodyear welt method (Benchmade). Stitching is larger and less refined than other boots, but then again, the Stow isn't about elegance, it's about utility with a dash of style.
Available: Available via The Iconic.
Wootten's Gordon Boot
Wootten boots are made by Melbourne-based shoemaker Jess Cameron-Wootten and his team and are one of the best-kept secrets in the world of quality welted footwear.
Comfort: These fully lined boots are made with locally sourced bovine leather. One will find the leather slightly thinker than standard calf leather, but it will quickly mould to your feet and will last for years. The boots pictured are constructed using the Blake Rapid Triple Stitched method, which means it's a serious bit of construction and what it loses in inflexibility it makes up for in durability and comfort over time (similar to the Goodyear welted method).
Style: Derby boots may look similar to a service boot, but with Derby boots, such as Viberg, they tend to ditch the counter panel - although this is by no means a hard and fast rule - replacing it with a narrow backstay and only use eyelets. The Gordon Boot comes in 5 leather colours and you can select different sizes for each foot, a real plus given the majority of us have odd feet (and we don't even realise).
Quality: Shoemaker Jess has put his heart and soul into these boots and the quality is up there with any boot at this price point. The locally sourced materials and labour cost obviously drive up expenses, but one receives a boot well worth the cost and attention to detail that small batch production affords.
Availability: Made To Order online or in-store.
What other boots do you recommend? Let us know in the comments below, as well as where one can find them in Australia and ballpark cost.