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Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
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6,858
Disclamer: I know a whole lot more about jackets than I know about shoes so bear with me as I’m trying to write something informative about this pair of Bright Boots.

The brand

As aforementioned in my previous Bright review, here in Europe it’s hard to find a pair of casual style boots to complement our American workwear outfits. Of course there are retailers who stock American or Japanese made footwear but after import and middleman fees are added the price/quality ratio isn’t all that favorable anymore.

This is where Bright Shoemakers comes in. Designed in Denmark, made in Spain. They offer what I would call ‘classics with a twist’: combat boots in fancy colors, classic derby shoes with a western style toe bug or Engineer boots with a cowboy twist (the pair I’m reviewing today).

https://brightshoemakers.com/collec...cts/uncle-bright-engineer-boot-chestnut-brown

I had the pleasure of meeting Martin Vesphael, the man behind the brand, on my latest trip to Copenhagen. It’s fair to say that Martin is as passionate about footwear as I am about leather jackets. We talked about lasts, construction techniques and materials. Europe has many reputable shoemakers which have been in the shoemaking business for decades or even centuries. Why not combine your own – Martin’s – creative vision with those manufacturer’s knowledge and expertise to create something really awesome!?

IMG_8995.jpeg

Martin trying on my latest Field Leathers jacket

Construction, materials and design

These Engineer boots are very nicely constructed using techniques that are common to engineer boots: 270 degree Goodyear welt, double stacked outsole, stacked logger heel etc etc (link to full specs). What is different from traditional engineers are the shafts which are leather lined, similar to cowboy boot construction. Also note the ‘crown’ which is another reference to cowboy boots. Unlike traditional engineers, the straps on these Bright engineers are backed with leather. I don’t think here are any particular pros or cons to this, it does look fancy though. The construction of the boots as a whole looks a bit more fancy than what you'd normally see on a traditional engineer.

If I could name one thing I’d like to change then it would be the buckles. Not that there’s anything really wrong with them, from a functional perspective. But if you chose to use roller buckles then why not use actual roller buckles instead of these solid buckles that are made to look like roller buckles.

IMG_9405.jpeg

Leather lined shaft

IMG_9410.jpeg

Cowboy boot crown vs tradition engineer

IMG_9407.jpeg

Leather backed straps

IMG_9404.jpeg

Roller buckles that don't roll :)


Fit and feel

One of the perks of a brick and mortar store, being able to try before you buy! I first tried on a pair in size 42 –my regular size- which were easy to get on but I immediately felt they were about a size too big. I couldn’t get my feet into a size 41 without the well proven ‘plastic bag method’ though but once they slipped on I could tell those are my size.

IMG_9387.jpeg


The heel counter is quite stiff so it took about a month of regular wear before they really felt broken in. Now that they are they feel as comfortable as my Attractions lot 444 with little to no heel slip. The ultimate comfort test: last week I wore the Bright engineers on a 12 km walk across the beach. My feet didn’t feel tired at all, I felt like I could easily do another 10 or 12 km. Which I chose not to do, we opted for drinks inside a warm and cozy beach club instead :).

IMG_5413.jpeg


The verdict

I love them, they tick a lot of boxes at a very competitive price point. I can easily see another pair of Bright Shoemaker boots in my future. Most likely one of their horsehide offerings. Their combat boot in burgundy horsehide is really something. They used a kind of horsehide I’ve never handled before: very dense yet much more supple than horsebutt or shell cordovan. It’s hard to describe but it felt very luxurious.

Edit: link to the bright website added
 
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TartuWolf

Practically Family
Messages
937
Location
Tartu, Estonia
Thank you for the review Mark! I've been thinking about these for quite some time, but decided that if I ever go for a more expensive (compared to the usual 100-150eu used Red Wings that I buy) pair of engineers I'd really want ones with an unstructured toe.
Good news (to me) - they are working on a new model in Horween leather and an unstructured toe.
Should be released in Jan/Feb 2024.
Might give them a try depending on the price.
Nice thing is that I can order them to EU and then return them without much hassle if they don't work out fit wise.

@Marc mndt If 42 was too big and 41 was just right with these - what's your RW sizing? Iron Rangers, Blacksmiths, etc.. I guess they don't do half sizes like 41,5?
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,858
I'd really want ones with an unstructured toe.
Good news (to me) - they are working on a new model in Horween leather and an unstructured toe.
Good news indeed, take a look at these gems.

IMG_2725.jpeg

@Marc mndt If 42 was too big and 41 was just right with these - what's your RW sizing? Iron Rangers, Blacksmiths, etc.. I guess they don't do half sizes like 41,5?

Size US 8 or 8.5 for slightly more comfort right out of the box.

Nope, no half sizes.

e40ba322-1162-466a-a16b-f497dc893689.jpeg
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,779
Location
London, UK
Great review. Interesting comments on the sizing. I've been keeping an eye on these guys for a bit; in a year or two, I might take the wife to Copenhagen for a long weekend and work in a trip to try on a pair of these... Nice to see something of this quality and style being done at this side of the ocean. I'd love some Wescos, but with the historically weak pounds vs the US dollar those really are pricey, and much harder to find to try on...
 

TartuWolf

Practically Family
Messages
937
Location
Tartu, Estonia
Same here. I have a pair of very nice and comfy US8 blacksmith boots, but those are only for warm weather and very thin socks. The rest of my Red Wings are 8.5US. How was the 41 compared to RW 8.5US length and width (especially toe box) wise? You already mentioned the low instep.
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,858
Same here. I have a pair of very nice and comfy US8 blacksmith boots, but those are only for warm weather and very thin socks. The rest of my Red Wings are 8.5US. How was the 41 compared to RW 8.5US length and width (especially toe box) wise? You already mentioned the low instep.
I don't know, I sold those RW some time ago. The Bright engineers are much more comfortable than the RW in many ways. The Red Wing lasts aren't all that refined imo.
 

koeney

New in Town
Messages
37
Really nice review buddy. Always wondered how they fit. Can you tell us something about the width?
Thanks and greetings from Germany.
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,858
Really nice review buddy. Always wondered how they fit. Can you tell us something about the width?
Thanks and greetings from Germany.
The waist is wider than the waist on my Attractions (on the left).

Overall they feel like E width but that's subjective as I don't have a measuring device.

IMG_2789.jpeg
 

Tom71

Call Me a Cab
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2,459
Location
Europe
A comment re sizing.

BRIGHT themselves suggest to size down on their website. After speaking with Martin, the owner, he advised to take the same size as my RW Iron Rangers.
Unfortunately, while this may have worked ‚in theory‘, I couldn’t get the boots on (plastic bag or no), due to a narrow instep/heel. I am now a full size up from RW or my WesCo MrLou‘s.
The boots feel roomy in the toebox, but it’s just my second day, and nothing that couldn’t be handled with a thin insole if it should be needed.
Heelslip is still an issue, but only really noticeable walking uphill (unfortunately as in my daily walk to the baker shop…) and should go away with break in too. That was no different than with my MrLou‘s.
 
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MickeyPunch

Familiar Face
Messages
51
Exactly, right?

The Japanese have the best (most logical) shoe sizing system imo: the actual length of the foot in cm.

View attachment 586877

My size 26,5 button boots.

View attachment 586875
I agree the japanese system is the most sensible, however it’s true that sizes are inherently complex because feet are 3D objects sometimes with wildly different shapes from person to person. Having length and width sizes is great but only a few makers offer that for any given last because of complexity, and then there’s things like instep.

But regardless of the sizing system used by the maker, when they themselves ask customers to size up or down is like saying “yeah we choose to ignore the sizing system”.

Of my 3 latest footwear purchases only one maker suggested going TTS, one of the other two suggested to size up and the other, down. So I ended up with a 40.5, a 42 and a US8 (which according to most size guides it’s a 41).
 

ader

New in Town
Messages
8
Hi new chap here. I found this thread and site after googling about the fit of Brights shoes/boots.

Basically I decided I needed new Engineer Boots as my daily drivers for the last 8 or 9 years don’t look as smart as I’d like for less casual occasions. The daily drivers are Chippewa Engineer boots and I was most concerned when I doscovered that Chippewa had stopped making them :(

So the search began and ended up with my finding Bright Engineer boots. Boy did I look at a lot of boots in my search to find what I thought were the best looking.

I’ve considered myself a UK 9 for decades, but I used to buy 9.5D in US size cowboy boots.

I got size EU 43 in black Bright Engineer boots and feel that they are far superior to the Chippewas I have sworn by for so long.

I loved them so much that when I decided that I also needed some brown boots the following month I bought their Western Derby Boots again in EU 43. These too are fantastic.

I then decided I need shoes, and wanted Bright Western Derby Shoes, but was unsure about sizing on shoes compared to boots… so I emailed Martin and he was very helpful in pointing me in the right direction.

I found that with both the engineer boots and the western derby boots that they fit me even better with an insole. That, combined with how the shoes have a different vamp/crown to the equivalent boots made me realise that I’ve likely been an 8.5 UK size all along (probably always wore size 9 due to no half-sizes in the footwear I wore when I was younger).

So I ordered EU 42 Western Derby shoes. They fit me great and are very comfortable (without an insole).

The Bright shoes/boots don’t seem expensive, they feel high quality and well worth the admission price imho.
 

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