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Ma Lau

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The Chelsea, Chukka boot tree looks very good aesthetically but not practical in usage. Many people have reported it ruins the elastic very quickly, difficult to explain but just imagine shoving that lump of a heal into the boot.

The reason I'm still looking for the Rochester Boot tree (extra pairs), the model which RMW includes with their Signature Craftsman.

Tall heel boot tree.jpg
 

Jykaes

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The Chelsea, Chukka boot tree looks very good aesthetically but not practical in usage. Many people have reported it ruins the elastic very quickly, difficult to explain but just imagine shoving that lump of a heal into the boot.
I don't agree with that assessment. The boot tree does not apply any pressure to the elastics when in the boot. See my new Havana pair below, note the elastics are completely flat, the tree does not contact them at all. The widest part of the tree is the bottom of the heel, which is no wider than your actual foot and only passes the elastics for a second while you insert, which the elastics are specifically designed to accomodate otherwise putting your foot in the boot would ruin them. Your natural movements when wearing the boot apply waaaaay more stress to the elastics than these or any other shoe/boot tree, as with each step the movement of your leg forwards and backwards stretches the elastic. This is why you see really old RM pairs with elastics that are dramatically stretched yet have never had trees inside.

The only difference practically between the boot trees and a traditional shoe tree is a small amount of rear ankle support to lessen creasing of the rear portion in the same way as a shoe tree would to any other part of the boot. But this is a pretty minor benefit, if you already owned shoe trees I wouldn't recommend buying new boot trees just for that. I definitely am not concerned about damage to the elastics.

 

Jykaes

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Just to illustrate that point a bit further, a comparison on the stretch the elastic receives taking it off, versus inserting the shoe tree at its "stretchiest" point. Not really scientific but the point is you're not jamming some oversized mass into the boot and ripping the elastics open like some kind of shoe Hulk. I know you know that but I liked the mental image. :p

Also, completely unrelated, but Havana is the best leather RMW have sold to date, I swear. Bloody love it.

 

EdoubleD

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Also, completely unrelated, but Havana is the best leather RMW have sold to date, I swear. Bloody love it.

I couldn’t agree more! Beautiful colour! Are those the comfort crasfman?
 

Jykaes

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I couldn’t agree more! Beautiful colour! Are those the comfort crasfman?
Yes. Funny story, I have contacted RMW directly a couple of times over the past couple months trying to get them to do these for me as a bespoke/MTO, because they only offered Havana in the Blaxland. They refused even though it's the same last, so I gave up. I then went to their yearly Adelaide warehouse sale (I live where they're made) where they dump all their odd stock and seconds in milk crates for you to sort through and buy, and lo and behold they had these in Comfort Craftsman, which they had told me they didn't/wouldn't make. So I picked them up half price marked as seconds (See the hole at the back) but I mix and matched a pair so neither boot has any defects. It was a confusing but very welcome surprise.

Lo and behold Spring Summer 2019 launches last week and look what's now on offer, the impossible Havana comfort craftsmans! Oh well, I paid half price, I can't complain!
 

Ma Lau

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The image proves my point that it will stretch the elastic #quicker than normal wear and tear.
The heel part doesn't touch the sides because the elastic seems to be already out of shape in comparison to other pairs on the left and right.
As those Seconds were purchased at half the MRP price in a sale, I don't doubt that you're not concerned about damage to the elastics but those who'd purchased $1,000.00 Signatures, over three times the price of the Seconds, may feel the need be a little more cautious.
RMW could easily add $50 on top of $1K and supply with aesthetic Trimly......but they chose the Rochester.
I'm not saying the Trimly aren't any good, I'm saying the no-frills Rochester Western Boot tree serves the purpose #better than the Trimly and at a lower price point.
Being willing to spend $1K on a pair of boots, I'm not inclined to skimp on the insignificant extra for boot trees.
Each to their own.
 

Jykaes

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The image proves my point that it will stretch the elastic #quicker than normal wear and tear.
The heel part doesn't touch the sides because the elastic seems to be already out of shape in comparison to other pairs on the left and right.
I don't want to be disrespectful here, but that is not true at all. The Havana pair are almost brand new and those elastics are completely unstretched in the photo, in fact one of the elastics is so new and taut it's shown bowing in slightly which is the complete opposite of what a worn elastic does. The boots either side you think are better are on the left bowed out from ankle pressure because they've been worn more (They're eight years old in fact), and the boots on the right are not even visible so I have no idea how you drew that conclusion. Plus, more than one pair in the photo had trees in at the time.

Regardless, the width of the boot tree is smaller than the width of the boot and thus cannot ever physically impact the elastics except during the brief moment when the heel applies slight pressure to the rear of the boot. This as I demonstrated is less impactful than the act of putting the boot on or taking it off because the physical dimensions of the tree are less than your actual foot. Regular walking will cause far more wear in a short time frame on the elastics than a boot tree possibly could over any length of time. You're quite literally stretching your elastics hundreds or thousands of times a day in various ways walking around in them, it's not logical to say that a second of slight even pressure on the rear ankle area could make any lasting impact when you're subjecting your boots to exponentially more stress just wearing them.

As those Seconds were purchased at half the MRP price in a sale, I don't doubt that you're not concerned about damage to the elastics but those who'd purchased $1,000.00 Signatures, over three times the price of the Seconds, may feel the need be a little more cautious.
Please let's not go that route. I've spent a lot more than $1k with RMW over the past decade, I own several other pairs currently, all retail and one pair is an MTO. The only reason I bought these seconds is because RMW told me they couldn't be bought at retail, hence the story. I actually at one point requested that RMW make an MTO Signature with a Comfort sole for me at the Percy St store, but they wouldn't, which is the only reason I own an MSRP pair of black Comfort yearling instead of Signature veal. I promise you if they had offered to sell me MTO Signatures I would happily put the boot tree in them because I think they are a superior product for the care of the boot.

RMW could easily add $50 on top of $1K and supply with aesthetic Trimly......but they chose the Rochester.
There are too many variables neither of us could know that go into a decision like that not related to quality of product, this doesn't add anything to the discussion one way or the other.

I'm not saying the Trimly aren't any good, I'm saying the no-frills Rochester Western Boot tree serves the purpose #better than the Trimly and at a lower price point.
As above, we'll have to agree to disagree here.

Being willing to spend $1K on a pair of boots, I'm not inclined to skimp on the insignificant extra for boot trees.
Each to their own.
At least on this point we share some common ground. In any case, I appreciate that this is largely semantics and we both obviously care for our boots very carefully, just in slightly different ways. And I'm sure the percentage of RMW owners that would use any tree at all are in the very low single digits so either way I'd say we're both doing a very good job.
 

Jykaes

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Mate

How much were their at the factory for the seconds?
I bought at the Wayville Showgrounds sale, which they run once a year. It's sometimes called the warehouse or factory outlet sale but it's not actually hosted at RMW, they rent a big pavilion in Adelaide at the same place the royal show is.

This year it was $295 for suede models and $395 for leather and there were milk crates full of hundreds of pairs all shoved in together. But limited finishes, eg. I don't think there were any blacks at all in the common sizes.

Anecdotally, I think not everything there is actually a factory second, a lot are more likely just excess stock runouts of old models that they still punch the seconds mark into. This year for instance there was a lot more of some boring kinda reddish brown colour that wasn't on their site than any other finish. Probably an unsuccessful seasonal. They had two pairs of havana in my size, one had red tags and I think the reason for seconds was a kinda sloppy welt join on one side of one boot, the other pair didn't have red tags and seemed fine. I ended up choosing a boot from each pair to make the perfect really well finished pair.

Outside of the yearly Wayville sale, the factory in Salisbury where the boots are made also has an outlet store on the side where you can buy seconds all year round for $395 for all boots except I think it might have been $650 for Signatures. But the range is normally pretty poor and the boots are generally not very nice, part of why I think that the yearly factory sale moves excess stock, not just quality control fails.

Here's a few pics from when I was at the actual factory outlet a while ago. The first ones were an online "Boot Edit" sale item which is a pre-distressed "hammer" suede in coffee I thought looked atrocious in person and my sincere apologies if anyone owns that finish, heh! The second pic is a navy suede with brown elastics and tugs and I suspect this is somebody's MTO. The third is a grey suede I thought was unusual as well. And generally just other weird stuff like greens and bright reds. There is a boot on the shelf in the first pic that looks kinda like havana but is actually tobacco, a more mustardy shade with less nap to the suede.

Another quick thing to add, since LVMH bought out RMW, took it global and doubled the price of the boots, everything has gone more upmarket and modern. That is most certainly not true of the factory outlet store which is unchanged straight outta the 90's and very cheap and cheerful small business style. Unfortunately, the seconds used to be $180 so $395 is a big ask for them since if you're thrifty you can buy firsts at retail for $450-500 from places like Nungar and Boots Online.



 
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Jykaes

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Is it just me or does the top right picture of the Black Signature Craftsman on the new website appear to have a much sleeker than normal sole, maybe screwed? https://www.rmwilliams.com.au/signature-craftsman-boot/B540C_13FGCW03.html

Seems only that one picture has it, all the other pics/colours of Signature have a standard welt leather sole. I didn't think RMW did MTO Signatures, wonder what the story is there.

 

Purplelabel

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I bought at the Wayville Showgrounds sale, which they run once a year. It's sometimes called the warehouse or factory outlet sale but it's not actually hosted at RMW, they rent a big pavilion in Adelaide at the same place the royal show is.

This year it was $295 for suede models and $395 for leather and there were milk crates full of hundreds of pairs all shoved in together. But limited finishes, eg. I don't think there were any blacks at all in the common sizes.

Anecdotally, I think not everything there is actually a factory second, a lot are more likely just excess stock runouts of old models that they still punch the seconds mark into. This year for instance there was a lot more of some boring kinda reddish brown colour that wasn't on their site than any other finish. Probably an unsuccessful seasonal. They had two pairs of havana in my size, one had red tags and I think the reason for seconds was a kinda sloppy welt join on one side of one boot, the other pair didn't have red tags and seemed fine. I ended up choosing a boot from each pair to make the perfect really well finished pair.

Outside of the yearly Wayville sale, the factory in Salisbury where the boots are made also has an outlet store on the side where you can buy seconds all year round for $395 for all boots except I think it might have been $650 for Signatures. But the range is normally pretty poor and the boots are generally not very nice, part of why I think that the yearly factory sale moves excess stock, not just quality control fails.

Here's a few pics from when I was at the actual factory outlet a while ago. The first ones were an online "Boot Edit" sale item which is a pre-distressed "hammer" suede in coffee I thought looked atrocious in person and my sincere apologies if anyone owns that finish, heh! The second pic is a navy suede with brown elastics and tugs and I suspect this is somebody's MTO. The third is a grey suede I thought was unusual as well. And generally just other weird stuff like greens and bright reds. There is a boot on the shelf in the first pic that looks kinda like havana but is actually tobacco, a more mustardy shade with less nap to the suede.

Another quick thing to add, since LVMH bought out RMW, took it global and doubled the price of the boots, everything has gone more upmarket and modern. That is most certainly not true of the factory outlet store which is unchanged straight outta the 90's and very cheap and cheerful small business style. Unfortunately, the seconds used to be $180 so $395 is a big ask for them since if you're thrifty you can buy firsts at retail for $450-500 from places like Nungar and Boots Online.



Those blue ones look incredible.
 

Ma Lau

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Is it just me or does the top right picture of the Black Signature Craftsman on the new website appear to have a much sleeker than normal sole, maybe screwed? https://www.rmwilliams.com.au/signature-craftsman-boot/B540C_13FGCW03.html
Old Sig Craftsman sole has sizing stamped and possibly very slightly thicker. New web site doesn't state it also comes with tin of boot polish, pair of Rochester boot trees and 3 dust bags (1 smaller bag for the polish) so what you'll now exactly receive is unknown.
The two protruding nails are only there to hold the brass oval Signature plate/logo. If the colour are true to the image, the newer is more like Burnt Sienna whereas the old is more red/orange, old colour more out-standing/more WOW factor.

In my opinion, the Signature Craftsman is a pair of sleek 'dress' boots for formal functions or special occasions, not for every day wear.
The 'Fine leather sole' wears out far too quickly, after two outings my front toe edges are already half worn. Not all fine leather soles are equal, ie. my Jil Sander leather sole dress shoes leaves little or no marks from the concrete jungle.
There are only two companies in the World that manufactures fine leather soles of exemplary standard, both in the USA, all others are simply rubbish. From what I've been told by those in the shoe industry, when you pay top $$$ for a current pair of footwear, you're paying for the top leather parts, the leather sole/rubber sole are #crap with exception of the RMW rubber soles and to this day I'm still amazed by the Comfort Craftsman sole.
In the future, I will only opt to purchase RMW boots with Comfort Rubber Sole, the wear resistance of the rubber is quite simply remarkable. Again, other's opinion may vary.

Having had two outing, I have taken my Sig Craftsman to a cobbler (not all cobblers are equal) with a pair of Vibram designer/dress red thin half sole, matching similar colour as close as possible and secondly keeping the brass signature plate.
It may seem horrendous but many people do take brand new expensive shoes to have this process done, not only for protection but also for better grip. It is advisable to have this front half sole for everyday wear unless you're willing to replace the entire leather sole frequently with the risk of changing the structural shape of the boots due to restitching. This rubber half sole can simply be replaced again and again without the need to replace the whole sole.
The Vibram thin half sole is only 1mm thick, you'll not notice it unless under close scrutiny.

NB. Use a good skilful cobbler or it may be regretful.
Vibram Red Half Sole.jpg
 

Jykaes

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Old Sig Craftsman sole has sizing stamped and possibly very slightly thicker. New web site doesn't state it also comes with tin of boot polish, pair of Rochester boot trees and 3 dust bags (1 smaller bag for the polish) so what you'll now exactly receive is unknown.
The two protruding nails are only there to hold the brass oval Signature plate/logo. If the colour are true to the image, the newer is more like Burnt Sienna whereas the old is more red/orange, old colour more out-standing/more WOW factor.

In my opinion, the Signature Craftsman is a pair of sleek 'dress' boots for formal functions or special occasions, not for every day wear.
The 'Fine leather sole' wears out far too quickly, after two outings my front toe edges are already half worn. Not all fine leather soles are equal, ie. my Jil Sander leather sole dress shoes leaves little or no marks from the concrete jungle.
There are only two companies in the World that manufactures fine leather soles of exemplary standard, both in the USA, all others are simply rubbish. From what I've been told by those in the shoe industry, when you pay top $$$ for a current pair of footwear, you're paying for the top leather parts, the leather sole/rubber sole are #crap with exception of the RMW rubber soles and to this day I'm still amazed by the Comfort Craftsman sole.
In the future, I will only opt to purchase RMW boots with Comfort Rubber Sole, the wear resistance of the rubber is quite simply remarkable. Again, other's opinion may vary.

Having had two outing, I have taken my Sig Craftsman to a cobbler (not all cobblers are equal) with a pair of Vibram designer/dress red thin half sole, matching similar colour as close as possible and secondly keeping the brass signature plate.
It may seem horrendous but many people do take brand new expensive shoes to have this process done, not only for protection but also for better grip. It is advisable to have this front half sole for everyday wear unless you're willing to replace the entire leather sole frequently with the risk of changing the structural shape of the boots due to restitching. This rubber half sole can simply be replaced again and again without the need to replace the whole sole.
The Vibram thin half sole is only 1mm thick, you'll not notice it unless under close scrutiny.
I completely agree on the Sig Craftsman's purpose. I'm not referring to the photo of the sole which is on the Dark Tan and Chestnut, there is only one picture on the Black only (Top right) where they appear to have photographed the boot with what I suspect is a brass screwed sole. Not the plaque, the actual sole construction. All the other black photos and every other photo on the other two boot colours appears to be a standard welt sole as the Sig Craftsman has had as long as they've made it that I'm aware of. It's just that one odd photo. I attached it in my previous comment.

Also, I think the colour balance is off on a lot of their new product photos, to be honest I think the old photos were a lot better. I reckon the soles are still the same and they've just taken a poor photo of the colour.
 

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