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RM Williams Boots - Everything You Wanted to Know

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Sator, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Borky

    Borky Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    121
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    I suggest finding somewhere you can try on a pair of Loakes including Charles Tyrwhitt shoes. If you can't find any Loakes then try using Allen Edmonds as a yardstick. I picked these 2 brands as anyone in the US, UK or Europe could easily find either of them. If you don't even have AEs where you live try Johnson & Murphy size minus one as your conversion factor.

    I had a pair of CT boots that I returned, they weren't snug, but 11 (UK) fit. So I guess I should go with 10.5? I have two pairs of J&M's but one is a 12 and an older pair is 11. They both fit, oddly enough
     
  2. Joel_Cairo

    Joel_Cairo Well-Known Member

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    Cambridge, MA
    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.
     
  3. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,118
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    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    Tombstone
    My Craftsman boots just arrived, and I love them. I'm wearing cords, and they're a great match. I normally wear a 9-9.5 U.S. (a 9.5 in the Park Avenue), and I went with the 8 because that's all that STP had left in brown anywhere close to my size. I'm glad I did, I think. The length is perfect; they might be ever so slightly snug at my little toe. Is this a cause for concern, or just part of wearing Chelseas? This is my first pair, so I'm not quite sure what to expect. I'm also curious how much I can expect them to mold to my foot. Thoughts, anyone?
     
  4. Sator

    Sator Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,083
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    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.
     
  5. Hartmann

    Hartmann Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,265
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    First, the fit is great! I tried on a pair last year at the Australian Boot Store here in Toronto. I'm a US size 8, but when I asked for the RM Williams equivalent the salesman gave me a boot that had 7.5 stamped on it - as it was too loose and too long I moved down to a 7. So when I bought the UK/Aussie size 7 from STP it fit perfectly. I guess this confirms the judgement for most people that the boots are a bit big overall.

    Quality of the leather is good too. I got the yearling in dark brown, and it's going to look top-notch after a bit of polish/grease/TLC/etc. One thing I'm afraid of is that they might still be high maintenance boots - if you're not going for that broken-down vintage feel or something... can anyone confirm this? They look to me like they might scuff really easily.

    As for going regular vs kangaroo hide, I think that kangaroo is not a bad option but I'd actually prefer it on a boot used exclusively for work. I have a pair of soccer/football boots in kangaroo and while really durable and soft, they require a lot of maintenance and crease really quickly.

    Two little things that bother me: for one, I don't know what colour I got - is the STP brown a chestnut or dark tan? It would help to know so I can get the right polish colour. Also, the boots I got don't have a leather sole, they have the oil resistant rubber sole. This is actually not bad for me, since I plan to be wearing them in the fall/winter, and up here in Canadia there's too much salt on the roads anyway. As for wearing them formally, they do look slightly rugged in a dark brown finish and if I wanted a sleeker boot with a leather sole I'd probably order veal craftsman in black or something.

    Overall the construction looks good, but I think in a few places they could be cleaned up a bit better, there's flash on the heels, sides of the soles look a bit scuffed, but I'm probably just nitpicking. For the fact that I got them for $190 US shipped express to Canada with no customs fees (they were a 'gift', haha) was mindblowing. IMHO I wouldn't pay more than Boots Online/Nungar prices for these anyway.

    All in all, I'd rate the experience an A so far.
     
  6. grimslade

    grimslade Well-Known Member

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    Back in Black
    The STP brown are RMW Chestnuts.

    Mine haven't arrived yet. Interesting that some, at least, have rubber soles when the pictures (and description) clearly show/say leather. Hmm...

    EDIT: Doc, are yours leather-soled?
     
  7. skalogre

    skalogre Well-Known Member

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    I am really starting to wonder if getting kangaroo leather will be a bad idea. Does anyone have an example of what the creasing looks like? Sator, any input on this? I am getting them primarily as everyday boots but also with suits when need be.
     
  8. grimslade

    grimslade Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    I am really starting to wonder if getting kangaroo leather will be a bad idea. Does anyone have an example of what the creasing looks like? Sator, any input on this? I am getting them primarily as everyday boots but also with suits when need be.


    I'm going to try to go to the RMW store in NY, maybe this afternoon (need trees...), and hope to scout out the kangaroo, given how different the impresssions posted have been.
     
  9. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

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    The STP brown are RMW Chestnuts.

    Mine haven't arrived yet. Interesting that some, at least, have rubber soles when the pictures (and description) clearly show/say leather. Hmm...

    EDIT: Doc, are yours leather-soled?


    Leather soles, rubber heels.
     
  10. skalogre

    skalogre Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to try to go to the RMW store in NY, maybe this afternoon (need trees...), and hope to scout out the kangaroo, given how different the impresssions posted have been.

    Great, thanks Grimslade. Let us know [​IMG]
     
  11. DNW

    DNW Well-Known Member

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    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.

    Nice writeup. So, what to make of this for those of us living in the land of snow and sleet?
     
  12. Garfieldthecat

    Garfieldthecat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    146
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    My Chestnut kangaroo Craftsman shoes arrived yesterday afternoon. After applying conditioner and polish to them last night, I wore them to work today (no suits at work for me).

    So far, they feel pretty good. This is my first pair of boots as well, so it is certainly a different feel then shoes. I think I will need to work on the polish a bit, to see if I can get a better shine, but so far, I like them.

    I am a 8.5D AE size, and got these in 7.5G, and they fit, but I think I could even have gotten a 7G without a problem.
     
  13. thinman

    thinman Well-Known Member

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    USA
    Nice writeup. So, what to make of this for those of us living in the land of snow and sleet?

    I just received a pair of black MTO Comfort Craftsman boots with a cuban heel. I wear a US size 12D and the Aus 11G is an excellent fit. On the bootsonline website, the rubber-soled Comfort Craftsman is billed as "suitable for harsh weather conditions or where salt is used for melting snow", so I would find it hard to believe that it's not waterproof, but time will tell.

    Now, for the sad part of my tale. [​IMG] I wear orthotics designed in part to align my back by moving my pelvis back. The cuban heel is higher than I normally wear, and pushes my pelvis forward, countering the orthotics. Rather than suffer constant back pain when I wear the boots, I plan to sell them on the forum. I _am_ impressed enough that I'll buy another pair with a block heel. Anyone interested in buying can PM me with an offer (I tried them on, on carpet, but they're otherwise unworn). If I get no reasonable offers here, they'll go to the Buying & Selling Forum and thence to the 'bay. Pictures and descriptions of the Comfort Craftsman and the cuban heel are here:

    http://www.bootsonline.com.au/default1.htm

    Mods: Sorry if this violates protocol. If so, please delete paragraph 2 of my post and I'll post in Buying/Selling, as planned.
     
  14. skalogre

    skalogre Well-Known Member

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    My Chestnut kangaroo Craftsman shoes arrived yesterday afternoon. After applying conditioner and polish to them last night, I wore them to work today (no suits at work for me).

    So far, they feel pretty good. This is my first pair of boots as well, so it is certainly a different feel then shoes. I think I will need to work on the polish a bit, to see if I can get a better shine, but so far, I like them.

    I am a 8.5D AE size, and got these in 7.5G, and they fit, but I think I could even have gotten a 7G without a problem.


    Impressions on the leather?
     
  15. Joel_Cairo

    Joel_Cairo Well-Known Member

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    I have seen kangaroo on boots and it looks reasonably coarse and grainy to me. So I was rather surprised to read this.

    my "patent pleather" dig was probably misleading. The kangroo definatly has some nice texture to the grain, it isn't flat or manufactured looking, it just had a sheen that seemed to clash with the thin feel of it which made it strike me as "cheap".
     
  16. Mark_Y

    Mark_Y Well-Known Member

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    Mar 19, 2006
    My Craftsman from STP also arrived yesterday. I got the black. I wear an AE 8D and ordered the 7G. They fit great. My only qualm is that the toe is a little more square than I would have liked but I'll get used to it. I'm happy with the purchase.
     
  17. Sator

    Sator Well-Known Member

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    my "patent pleather" dig was probably misleading. The kangroo definatly has some nice texture to the grain, it isn't flat or manufactured looking, it just had a sheen that seemed to clash with the thin feel of it which made it strike me as "cheap".

    It's certainly an unusual textured leather. I noticed it looks a lot different depending on which colour you choose. I like the chestnut a lot more than the black. Also I find that RMW leather changes quite a lot after you polish them a few times - for the better, as the character of the leather comes out. Anyone out there owned RMW 'roo leather boots for a while?
     
  18. Garfieldthecat

    Garfieldthecat Well-Known Member

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    Alpharetta, GA
    Impressions on the leather?

    It's a bit grainy, like Sator said. I agree that a bit of polishing would help, and since mine are new, I will need some time to wear and polish them a few times. They are definitely a soft leather, so it's comfortable.

    I'm off on a business trip over the weekend, and I'll try to take some close-up pics of the leather next to my other shoes when I get back.
     
  19. Hartmann

    Hartmann Well-Known Member

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    Wow...

    I guess I'm the only one who got the "oil resistant" rubber sole on their craftsmans... weird.
     
  20. grimslade

    grimslade Well-Known Member

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    Wow...

    I guess I'm the only one who got the "oil resistant" rubber sole on their craftsmans... weird.


    Well, mine still haven't arrived. Tomorrow, supposedly. What color were yours?
     

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