Originally Posted by Joel_Cairo
I visited the RMW store on E59th this past weekend, and thought I'd add my impressions of the Craftsman to the fray.
Firstly, great fitting boots. There is definately something to be said for a company that doesnt bother with shoes, but focuses on boots. They know what they are doing. That being said, I definatly got the impression that they run somewhat wide. I have a slightly wide foot (an AE Byron 9D fits me like bespoke, but the Park Ave in 9D - also an AE balmoral, but on a minutely narrower last - is a bit snugger than I'd like) and I was expecting to have to try their wide size (F or G or whatever the Ozzies call "wide"). I was surprised to find that the regular 9 was plenty roomy in the girth. The 9 was a hair big, and I went down to an 8.5 for a perfect fit. I have an in-between foot (sort of an 8.75), so your milage may vary, but my impression was that RMW runs a little bit big in all directions.
Now onto the look. They are some of the best looking boots I have seen, but they are definatly boots. I'm not sure I'd wear them with a suit (though Soph has pulled it off admirably). They are just a touch too rugged. I think if you are looking for an ankle boot for wear with suits, the plain-toe dress-shoe shape of the AE Taunton would be a safer bet.
Also, I saw the Kangaroo up close, and didnt like the look of it at all. Reminded me of patent pleather, and the cautionary tales of extreme creasing make this exotic hide a definate no-go for me.
And lastly, when I walked through the door, the first thing the Australian Sales Associate said to me was that the boots are not water-proof, and that RMW strongly urges against waterproofing them, as the leather needs to breath. Now Im not sure if this is so much hocus-pocus sales-talk (I'm sure even Kenneth Cole would insist his leather is so fine that it needs to be sung to at night), but if there is truth to it, it's probably worth noting.
I agree they run wide. If you look at my width conversion guide you can see that. An AE 8D (medium) runs significantly longer and narrower than an RMW 7G (medium). I think this is a characteristic of a lot of English sized shoes eg Loakes.
I have seen kangaroo on boots and it looks reasonably coarse and grainy to me. So I was rather surprised to read this.
I have heard things from JM Weston too about how important it is to let leather breathe etc.
As for the ruggedness there is some truth to it. Someone at AAAC commented after going to the NY store off Madison Ave that a nailed construction looked much sleeker and dressier. Something I am seriously thinking of custom ordering is a pair of the Turnouts in black veal calf (I think dressboots look sharpest in formal black) with a nailed construction to give it a sleeker look. I would also go up from my usual size and drop down a width or two to make it even sleeker. If I get around to it, I'll post pics of the results.
In being a boot specialist I think RMW does it well as you say. I have got boots from other well known makers and they sometimes get the fit of the vamp wrong.