Originally Posted by DWFII
It would be interesting if that were true. I don't think the photo is clear enough or large enough to determine for sure.
It's quite possible those are not "Sam Browne" studs, but the principle of the studs seems to apply: small stud, large hole/slit; so the button/stud is easily put into place by downward pressure. The button holes look to me extremely large and stitched with thread on a button hole sewing machine. However it was done, it appears there is no need for a button hook.
But for all we know, it's perfectly possible (to save the maid's wages) the whole metal work is simply decorative and there is a big zip on the inside of the boot.
Sam Browne studs used in shoemaking:
John Lobb (ready-to-wear) Helldon
(with a big zip down the back).