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Workboots, how should they be worn?

I like to wear my workboots...

  • as beat up as possible

    Votes: 4 8.0%
  • well worn

    Votes: 33 66.0%
  • like I wear my dressshoes, polished to a high shine

    Votes: 13 26.0%

  • Total voters
    50

Jasonissm

Practically Family
Messages
524
This is imo a prime example of boots that looks much better in well-worn condition than when they were brand new..

This thread really got me excited about my boots again! I've basically just did light maintenance then left them untouched since May. So today I conditioned them with a light amount of Mustang Paste, then gave them a shine/polish, I think they are honestly looking better than ever. Really reaffirms that I really like adding polishing to my maintenance routine. The colour is very deep and rich, and with a light polish, they have more lustre and depth of colour as well as looking cleaner.

I compared then with my Onderhoud derby that I wish to bring to a similar state with wear, you can see on the tongue of the boots, the original colour, quite similar to the derbies, but the rest of the shoe, especially the lower portions have aged very nicely and become a rich caramel whiskey brown colour. I'm falling in love with these boots all over again!

20231012_140749.jpg
 

mumpy

A-List Customer
Messages
325
I just wear my workwear boots without thinking much about it. I wear them in the rain, in the park wherever. I don't babe them but I will brush the dirt off regularly though.

I will clean with saddle soap and condition at the end of the season, like once a year or so depending on use.

I think for dressier boots it makes more sense to keep them in good/pristine condition but I don't own any yet.
 

torfjord

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,449
Location
Sweden
I think it depends. There are work boots and then there are "work boots". Same as there are workwear and then there are "work wear".

A pair of custom order boots made from premium vegetable tanned Italian leather that cost around 1000 USD or more are not made for hard manual labour. Even if they have a workbook aesthetic. They are fashion items. As such, the people who use them can prefer them to look hard worn or like new. Of course, everyone is free to use their expensive, custom made fashion items in any setting that they choose. But I would not use them for actual manual labour.

A pair of Red Wings or similar fall in a different category in my opinion, they are cheaper and have less refined profile and material. The leathers used are also often not made to take a shine. I would not hesitate to use them for manual labour.

To me, the same goes for workwear and "work wear". Sure, a Thedi jacket might draw design inspiration from vintage work wear jackets. But it's not work wear. They are custom made luxury items handcrafted by artisans with the highest attention to detail and made from premium materials. As such I would not wear them to clean up my garage. Or like a Mister Freedom canvas jacket for 450 dollars. Sure, it's canvas a solid work wear material. Sure, it's a classic work wear design. But really, honestly, it's not work wear. It's fashion. If it's part of your fashion style to have work wear that looks really worn and beat up, by all means wear it while you clean sewage pipes. I would not do that in a jacket for 450 dollars, but that's just my preference.

Just my 2 cents.
 
Last edited:

Will Zach

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,348
Location
SoFlo
I think it depends. There are work boots and then there are "work boots". Same as there are workwear and then there are "work wear".

A pair of custom order boots made from premium vegetable tanned Italian leather that cost around 1000 USD or more are not made for hard manual labour. Even if they have a workbook aesthetic. They are fashion items. As such, the people who use them can prefer them to look hard worn or like new. Of course, everyone is free to use their expensive, custom made fashion items in any setting that they choose. But I would not use them for actual manual labour.

A pair of Red Wings or similar fall in a different category in my opinion, they are cheaper and have less refined profile and material. The leathers used are also often not made to take a shine. I would not hesitate to use them for manual labour.

To me, the same goes for workwear and "work wear". Sure, a Thedi jacket might draw design inspiration from vintage work wear jackets. But it's not work wear. They are custom made luxury items handcrafted by artisans with the highest attention to detail and made from premium materials. As such I would not wear them to clean up my garage. Or like a Mister Freedom canvas jacket for 450 dollars. Sure, it's canvas a solid work wear material. Sure, it's a classic work wear design. But really, honestly, it's not work wear. It's fashion. If it's part of your fashion style to have work wear that looks really worn and beat up, by all means wear it while you clean sewage pipes. I would not do that in a jacket for 450 dollars, but that's just my preference.

Just my 2 cents.
Exactly. You want to clean out your garage or work in the yard, put on a Carhartt jacket. Cheap and tough. Beat it up as much as you want. And have another if you want to look like Matthew McConaughey.
 

dudewuttheheck

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,256
I think it depends. There are work boots and then there are "work boots". Same as there are workwear and then there are "work wear".

A pair of custom order boots made from premium vegetable tanned Italian leather that cost around 1000 USD or more are not made for hard manual labour. Even if they have a workbook aesthetic. They are fashion items. As such, the people who use them can prefer them to look hard worn or like new. Of course, everyone is free to use their expensive, custom made fashion items in any setting that they choose. But I would not use them for actual manual labour.

A pair of Red Wings or similar fall in a different category in my opinion, they are cheaper and have less refined profile and material. The leathers used are also often not made to take a shine. I would not hesitate to use them for manual labour.

To me, the same goes for workwear and "work wear". Sure, a Thedi jacket might draw design inspiration from vintage work wear jackets. But it's not work wear. They are custom made luxury items handcrafted by artisans with the highest attention to detail and made from premium materials. As such I would not wear them to clean up my garage. Or like a Mister Freedom canvas jacket for 450 dollars. Sure, it's canvas a solid work wear material. Sure, it's a classic work wear design. But really, honestly, it's not work wear. It's fashion. If it's part of your fashion style to have work wear that looks really worn and beat up, by all means wear it while you clean sewage pipes. I would not do that in a jacket for 450 dollars, but that's just my preference.

Just my 2 cents.
Agreed. That's why I refuse to even use the term "work boots."

In my mind, if they aren't made for current work specific purposes, they aren't work boots.

Yes, some of them used to be made for "work," but certainly are not up to the standard of serious work boots today.

The Alden Indy is a casual boot now, even if you could use it for some lighter duty work.

However, many people call the Red Wing iron ranger, viberg service, and red wing moc toe "work boots" and none of them are or EVER truly have been.

The moc toe was made as a hunting boot. That's Sportswear technically. The iron ranger is a post 2000's creation meant to look like classic early 20th century work boots, but it was made as a casual boot. The viberg service boot is modeled off of old military boots, but is also a modern creation.

Even work boot companies from the pnw have dedicated casual models. That's what all these boots are- casual boots. Do what you want with them. I think they look good polished and I think they look good scuffed as well. As I said, I think they look best with the scuffs and teacore polished over which I'm sure is not most people's preference, but I dig it.
 

torfjord

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,449
Location
Sweden
Agreed. That's why I refuse to even use the term "work boots."

In my mind, if they aren't made for current work specific purposes, they aren't work boots.

Yes, some of them used to be made for "work," but certainly are not up to the standard of serious work boots today.

The Alden Indy is a casual boot now, even if you could use it for some lighter duty work.

However, many people call the Red Wing iron ranger, viberg service, and red wing moc toe "work boots" and none of them are or EVER truly have been.

The moc toe was made as a hunting boot. That's Sportswear technically. The iron ranger is a post 2000's creation meant to look like classic early 20th century work boots, but it was made as a casual boot. The viberg service boot is modeled off of old military boots, but is also a modern creation.

Even work boot companies from the pnw have dedicated casual models. That's what all these boots are- casual boots. Do what you want with them. I think they look good polished and I think they look good scuffed as well. As I said, I think they look best with the scuffs and teacore polished over which I'm sure is not most people's preference, but I dig it.

Casual boot is a really good description or term for it. I much prefer that than work boot.
 

sarevook

New in Town
Messages
36
Those expensive leather boots are 'work boots' in the same way $1000+ leather jacket or $300+ denim are 'work wear'. Not a single worker on this planet use those for that purpose, cause it's simply impractical. There are much much more durable and better performing materials for professional usage. I like my red wings for causal look and style, but when I go to do some real work and need good feet protection I would always choose my Salewa hiking boots that are 70% lighter, breath better and have a sole with much better grip.
 

dudewuttheheck

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,256
Those expensive leather boots are 'work boots' in the same way $1000+ leather jacket or $300+ denim are 'work wear'. Not a single worker on this planet use those for that purpose, cause it's simply impractical. There are much much more durable and better performing materials for professional usage. I like my red wings for causal look and style, but when I go to do some real work and need good feet protection I would always choose my Salewa hiking boots that are 70% lighter, breath better and have a sole with much better grip.
Not to be that guy, but I do know someone who works construction in his $300 plus dollar raw denim. All year long. He's actually gotten stick from some denim nerds for wearing rare and expensive jeans from Roy Slaper for work.

But yes, overall I totally agree with you. This stuff is all vintage repro or vintage inspired stuff and it's just casual clothing at this point because modern workwear has better, more practical materials to use.
 
Last edited:

Benny Holiday

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,728
Location
Sydney Australia
I wear my work boots in a well-maintained, cleaned and polished condition. That has less to do with the fact that these boots doesn't look good beaten up. It has more to do with my upbringing: the well-groomed gentleman get judged by his shoes. So for me, caring for my boots also means a certain amount of respect and recognition for the maker.

Btw.: I would do the same thing if I wore the boots to work (e.g. construction). Maybe not as intensively as when I do my office job, but I would still look after them.

Here is a row of some of my boots in regularly rotation:

View attachment 551492

Here are my RMC Bucos +10yrs vs 2yrs a patinated boot doesn’t have to look dirty for a nice appearance:

View attachment 551493
My attitude mirrors 58PHF's. When I was a kid knocking around the rockabilly scene, polished engineers were for squares, and you had to wear 'em scuffed and dirty like you'd just jumped off your bike next to Marlon Brando or something. Years later, with maturity and respect for the workmanship and quality of the product, PLUS a healthy respect for what you gotta pay for them, I neither baby them nor neglect my boots. I don't keep them hi-shine like dress shoes, but do keep them clean and looked-after with regular waxing to keep the leather from drying out to extend their utility.
 

navetsea

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,697
Location
East Java
I think it depends. There are work boots and then there are "work boots". Same as there are workwear and then there are "work wear".

A pair of custom order boots made from premium vegetable tanned Italian leather that cost around 1000 USD or more are not made for hard manual labour. Even if they have a workbook aesthetic. They are fashion items. As such, the people who use them can prefer them to look hard worn or like new. Of course, everyone is free to use their expensive, custom made fashion items in any setting that they choose. But I would not use them for actual manual labour.

A pair of Red Wings or similar fall in a different category in my opinion, they are cheaper and have less refined profile and material. The leathers used are also often not made to take a shine. I would not hesitate to use them for manual labour.

To me, the same goes for workwear and "work wear". Sure, a Thedi jacket might draw design inspiration from vintage work wear jackets. But it's not work wear. They are custom made luxury items handcrafted by artisans with the highest attention to detail and made from premium materials. As such I would not wear them to clean up my garage. Or like a Mister Freedom canvas jacket for 450 dollars. Sure, it's canvas a solid work wear material. Sure, it's a classic work wear design. But really, honestly, it's not work wear. It's fashion. If it's part of your fashion style to have work wear that looks really worn and beat up, by all means wear it while you clean sewage pipes. I would not do that in a jacket for 450 dollars, but that's just my preference.

Just my 2 cents.
I agree, I think the point is how we look stylish while doing activities, so perhaps even when you want to do a little bit of working keep wearing "the classic" workwear look just don't wear your most superlative artisans version of such boots instead wear another engineer/ work boots that you don't mind to scuff and get stained the same with jeans, perhaps wear that yesteryear jeans you don't really mind to get more "character" to it. wearing classic workwear only for posing around and then changing into hightech sport or work performance clothes whenever we do any physical activity is not living the style we choose to live by imo.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,695
Location
London, UK
Not to be that guy, but I do know someone who works construction in his $300 plus dollar raw denim. All year long. He's actually gotten stick from some denim nerds for wearing rare and expensive jeans from Roy Slaper for work.

This is why I could never get into the big money denim. I can't conceive of the notion of "dress jeans" - anywhere I' d want to go 'dress', denim would be very, very far from my first, second or even third choice. At the same time, I could never bring myself to spend huge money on something that a forty quid pair of 13MWZ would be just as practical in.

Of course it's al relative... if ever I found myself in a position where suddenly I had huge money to use disposably, maybe I would buy something that I liked but these days couldn't justify spending on. Though I'd like to hope I'd be able to resist if I knew it would just sit in the wardrobe unworn because it wasn't what I wanted for going out, and "too good" to actually kick about in.
 

navetsea

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,697
Location
East Java
I do have real steeltoe workboots I sometime wear them on the wjdywt, I wear them to walk when the road is wet after rain
 

Jasonissm

Practically Family
Messages
524
No matter how much something costs, I will still use it for the intended purpose, I see it as a waste to be so precious about it that you rarely wear it, or if you do wear it, you're not enjoying yourself because you're too conscious of damaging your clothing.

Of course, when I first get them, I am careful, I paid a lot for them so at least for the first few months or so I like to keep them as nice as possible, then after that time, it's free for all. I will use them hard, but I work in an office, so the most abuse they'll really see is walking through downpour (I have worn my boots to the point where water was entering through the stitch holes) or hiking.
 

RossRYoung

Practically Family
Messages
888
No matter how much something costs, I will still use it for the intended purpose, I see it as a waste to be so precious about it that you rarely wear it, or if you do wear it, you're not enjoying yourself because you're too conscious of damaging your clothing.

Of course, when I first get them, I am careful, I paid a lot for them so at least for the first few months or so I like to keep them as nice as possible, then after that time, it's free for all. I will use them hard, but I work in an office, so the most abuse they'll really see is walking through downpour (I have worn my boots to the point where water was entering through the stitch holes) or hiking.

Well said and +1. IMO this extends to brands which others may only consider for fashion.
 

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