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Traditional men's Balmoral ankle boot

Avebury

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A classic style. However, most of the makers of quality shoes in the UK do not make this style. By this I mean in smooth brown calf leather with toecap and preferably hooks. Astonishing isn't it? As far as I can tell, the front runners are Crockett and Jones, who make the "Villiers" (not in their shoe catalogue) and the "Radnor". This is basically the "Coniston" made in cordovan. Edward Green make the "Galway". However, it is very expensive indeed. Too much. I reckon, a boot made in burgundy (excellent with suits) on a traditional last would do the job. Grenson now do not make the "Tor", which was a lovely boot. Nicer than the "Bleasdale", the new version.

I've been looking for this style of boot for three years and had no success. Incidently, Crockett and Jones were selling this style in their Jermyn Street shop this December, but I think it was a one-off. The shop assistant told me "it was made for a customer". As a traditional Brit, I see much that is good about this country sliding away - shoemaking has not escaped.
 

Avebury

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That's the ticket. A pair like that were in the shop window of Edward Green in Jermyn Street last month, retailing at over £1000. I'd go bespoke at that price. I forgot to mention that Grenson do do a Balmoral boot (for sale in The Natural Shoe Store in Covent Garden, London). Tidy looking. However, that's about it. It's not in their catalogue. As far as I know, there are no brown boots out there, apart from the ones I've mentioned. My point is basically that you're stuck with two makers and a handful of styles. What about Loake, Barker, trickers, et. al?
 

Avebury

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Thankyou for the tips. I think If I go for a boot, I'd start at a level equal to Crockett and Jones, Church's, Trickers or Grenson. I'm not keen on Loake - my old brogues haven't held up. The nearest match for Church's is the Leonardo. Again, this has no toecap. Most boots seem to be made in 'country grain'. It would be great to see Tricker's making a dress boot on a narrower last. Their boots are all made on the 4497S last, which is quite big. Boots look heavy. I have a pair of "Grasmere" boots I tramp around in at weekends. Wonderfully made. I suspect the leather is the same type as used on the Edward Green "Galway". Up close looks the same. I think the top makers have a blind spot when it comes to boots - most see them as 'country'.
 

bengal-stripe

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The market for boots is tiny, I would guess, maybe 5 % of "proper" shoes. The majority of those few boots, will be Chelsea- or Chukka-boots. Balmoral boots are a very rare species indeed as the market in dress boots is restricted to the members of the various clothing- and shoe forums. You cannot expect any store to have a big selection of boots. Manufacturers will make them, as long as a store orders the minimum requirement.

Have a look at Fosters & Son in Jermyn Street: they stock the C&J "˜Villiers (under their own label). That might just fit your requirements.

The "˜Shannon' at Edward Green for over £ 1000 was their "˜top drawer' sample. The ordinary "˜Shannon' made-to-order will clock in at about 1/3 less.
 

Avebury

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Thanks for that. I'm aware of the Foster "Villiers". Ducker and Son sold this boot under their own name. Butter spread a bit thin, so to speak. I'm a tad old fashioned in my taste. Personally, I think the 'Balmoral' is in the canon of shoes and boots, alongside the classic oxford, brogue, monk, etc. After all, pre-war the boot was the predominant style. From a practical point of view, ithe boot gives wonderful support to the ankle. It also looks good with smart and casual dress.

I take your point about chukka and chelsea boots. The Crockett and Jones catalogue is stuffed full of chukka boots. My theory is that this is result of the trainer - on and off quickly, no fuss. I do think the quality makers are missing a trick, though. Pop a toecap on the "Bleasdale" and you have the best of both worlds: modern styling and tried and tested traditional design. Trickers - simpley narrow the last and you have a dress boot. Easy as that. A definite blind spot.
 

Avebury

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Thanks for the info. Smart looking boot. I'll investigate. I think my 'perfect' boot would be made in burgundy. I applied dark brown John Lobb shoe cream to my "Grasmere" boots and that has changed the colour wonderfully to a deep, purply brown. I now use the Tricker's cognac wax polish and this brings out the orange/red hues and tones. I'm tipping more towards bespoke these days, but I would find it difficult to justify spending so much on a pair of boots. I guess at the end of the day it's all about quality. All in the leather, the burnish, the construction. I may save up for a pair of Edward Green's. As I said, I'm surprised that the other makers don't make any Balmoral style ankle boots. Just one would do! Look at Barker's extensive range - nowt!
 

Haemus

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Originally Posted by Avebury
Thankyou for the tips. I think If I go for a boot, I'd start at a level equal to Crockett and Jones, Church's, Trickers or Grenson. I'm not keen on Loake - my old brogues haven't held up. The nearest match for Church's is the Leonardo. Again, this has no toecap. Most boots seem to be made in 'country grain'. It would be great to see Tricker's making a dress boot on a narrower last. Their boots are all made on the 4497S last, which is quite big. Boots look heavy. I have a pair of "Grasmere" boots I tramp around in at weekends. Wonderfully made. I suspect the leather is the same type as used on the Edward Green "Galway". Up close looks the same. I think the top makers have a blind spot when it comes to boots - most see them as 'country'.

Quite strange that residing in UK you did not manage to find for couple of years the ever tempting elusive balmoral boot.
C&J got couple MTO for other brands like Higham (last 360) for japanese market, derby austere wingtip boot for Paul Smith (last 341).
Tricker's has their own balmoral boot, unfortunately forgot the name and last, that appeared on their online store two months ago - captoe, galoche etc. It was definitely dressier than their country line.
Tricker's also has some less known yet elegant lasts (i.e. M6955 shown) comparable in form to C&J 360, or EG 82. They also provide what they call London painted waist that is not too bad.
Not long ago Tricker's was advertising MTO for GBP 450 on their online store. Perhaps you call the store in Northampton and explore what they could offer for a balmoral.




 

Avebury

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I'm aware of most of the options. For me it's a case of getting the right boot. Trickers online store? That at least is new to me. The only result I can find for Trickers is Trickers.com. You can't purchase shoes online there. Pretty awful website. That's something they need to work on. Could you possibly pass on the link to the Trickers online store? Much appreciated.
 

jjl5000

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Originally Posted by Avebury
I'm aware of most of the options. For me it's a case of getting the right boot. Trickers online store? That at least is new to me. The only result I can find for Trickers is Trickers.com. You can't purchase shoes online there. Pretty awful website. That's something they need to work on. Could you possibly pass on the link to the Trickers online store? Much appreciated.

www.ebay.co.uk

Do a search on ebay for "Trickers" and you'll see plenty available (not necessarily the bal boots you want though).
 

Avebury

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Well, you could give it go. Personally, I wouldn't waste my time looking.
 

jjl5000

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Originally Posted by Avebury
Well, you could give it go. Personally, I wouldn't waste my time looking.

I have picked up several pairs of dress shoes from them. As for the balmoral boots, I already have several pairs of Shannons so there is no need for me to do any looking


EDIT:

I don't think my previous post was very clear...

Tricker's on-line retail presence is via their ebay store. I wasn't advocating random searches on ebay which I could understand you having a general lack of appetite for.
 

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