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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

RossRYoung

Practically Family
Messages
888
These will start going into regular rotation with winter just around the corner. Actually the 1000 miles are my summer boot but posted to show patina (need a resole). Quickly wiped down one of the lofgrens too before snapping

F4357D00-7111-446D-AB19-B55D7AAF2D43.jpeg
 

mvilla

A-List Customer
Messages
447
Location
Bristol, UK
I've sold most of my "older" boots and reduced my collection to just 3, one M43 I bought for my birthday last January (and that spent 2 months back in the factory to fix the welt), my trusty 5 year old Vibergs and a recently acquired pair of Attractions engineers (2 months ago, maybe). They all look like boots

1000095165.jpg
 
Messages
16,347
I take very good care of all my boots, even the ones I deemed work boots which they aren't. Not really.

Because while I got two pairs of beaters that I wear all the time, I still wouldn't call them work boots as sure as paint, I wouldn't do manual labor in them.
I don't have a car, I walk everywhere, I love walking and all my boots reflect that but deliberately exposing them to manual labor is unthinkable to me because let's face it; That's not what they're made for, not anymore. The fine, shiny leather will scuff, they'll get all deformed, et cetera and there's absolutely no reason subjecting $300-$2000 footwear to this kind of punishment, only to later on spend ridiculous amount of time and money, trying to get them back in shape again.

So these are my $40 work boots, by the same maker that makes Haix boots, which also double as my hiking & mountaineering boots.

20231017-122930.jpg
 
Messages
16,347
On the other hand, boots that I will do everything else in, ones that I'll spend days in at times, are these two pairs...

I have worn these two pairs to just about every country I've been to in the last couple of years. Must've walked hundreds of miles in them but I also do enjoy maintaining them the best I can and I think it shows. The pair by Sendra, without the harness, I've really worn to hell and back but it keeps looking better and better, IMO.


20231017-122625.jpg

20231017-122642.jpg

20231017-122649.jpg

20231017-122658.jpg

20231017-122841.jpg

20231017-122859.jpg
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,663
but deliberately exposing them to manual labor is unthinkable to me because let's face it; That's not what they're made for, not anymore. The fine, shiny leather will scuff, they'll get all deformed, et cetera and there's absolutely no reason subjecting $300-$2000 footwear to this kind of punishment, only to later on spend ridiculous amount of time and money, trying to get them back in shape again.
I can relate to what you're saying when it comes to ultra fancy 'work boots', like a pair of shell cordovan White Clouds for instance. You don't want expensive shiny shell cordovan to get scuffed. But imo boots of that level are basically dress shoes on a work boot last. They're not work boots.

But I can't think of a single reason why I should NOT deliberately expose a pair of sturdy horsebutt engineers to manual labor. I've worn my Attractions when I was helping a friend move. I wear them when laying on the garage floor working on my Vespa and I wear them when going for a walk through the dunes. Why? Because that's what they are made for.

I guess the question is: at what point is a work boot no longer a work boot but a 'dress shoe on a work boot last' instead.
 
Messages
16,347
But I can't think of a single reason why I should NOT deliberately expose a pair of sturdy horsebutt engineers to manual labor. I've worn my Attractions when I was helping a friend move. I wear them when laying on the garage floor working on my Vespa and I wear them when going for a walk through the dunes. Why? Because that's what they are made for.

I would have agreed a few months back but I was wearing the above Sendras, which are probably the shittiest boots I own, while helping a friend fix an attic and while they served me just fine as we were working, when he was driving me home, my foot got caught on a car seat rail which sliced clean a piece of leather off the tip of the boot.

Not that it bothered me much but that could've happened to my Vetements or SLP's which would have really ruined my day and possibly, life.
Up to that point, whenever I'd clean & condition these Sendras, despite the heavy creases, they always turned out looking fantastic (IMO) but now that they're actually damaged, I'm inclined to wear them less than before.

I guess this is strictly subjective but while I love the look of worn-out, creased & even deformed boots, I don't like seeing actual damage on 'em.
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,663
@Jasonissm your comment got lost due to the migration but I had the page open open on my computer:

1697638249502.png


I think this is very much subjective. Personally I'd say shiny leather will move a boot into the realm of dress shoes. Price will also be an important factor; Here in Europe a pair of Goodyear welted Red Wing Iron Rangers costs about €380. Most of my friends consider that a lot of money for a pair of boots, making them luxury items in their eyes.

Those Chausser button boots are definitively dress boots . The calf leather is way too fancy (and delicate) to be used as work boots. Unless work means going to the office of course :)
 

Schambach

Practically Family
Messages
500
Location
Ithaca, NY
I think one can go with "well worn" and still take care of one's boots. Cleaning, brushing, conditioning when necessary.

I don't have quite the level of fancy boots that some of you do, but do generally wear PNW stuff, which is certainly not cheap. I have no problem wearing my Nicks or Wescos or whatever in nasty conditions, where they might get dirty or scratched etc. They are like nice tools, a joy to use, and should last a long time when properly cared for.
 

Will Zach

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,348
Location
SoFlo
I would have agreed a few months back but I was wearing the above Sendras, which are probably the shittiest boots I own, while helping a friend fix an attic and while they served me just fine as we were working, when he was driving me home, my foot got caught on a car seat rail which sliced clean a piece of leather off the tip of the boot.

Not that it bothered me much but that could've happened to my Vetements or SLP's which would have really ruined my day and possibly, life.
Up to that point, whenever I'd clean & condition these Sendras, despite the heavy creases, they always turned out looking fantastic (IMO) but now that they're actually damaged, I'm inclined to wear them less than before.

I guess this is strictly subjective but while I love the look of worn-out, creased & even deformed boots, I don't like seeing actual damage on 'em.
I agree wholeheartedly with this post. Any voluntary activity that can deeply gouge leather on my White's semi-dress is out of bounds. That includes moving furniture. Or digging up a garden with a shovel. You get my drift. I will put on my old Timberlands for that. I guess that makes my Timberlands my work boots and my White's my casual/semi-dress (bad pun intended) boots.
 

Fifty150

One Too Many
Messages
1,829
Location
The Barbary Coast



how many of us actually wear them as they were originally intended?




Who is "us"? If you were asking that question in a union hall - "us" would be a different demographic.

Work boots are still made for work. Some work boots are oriented toward certain workers. Logging boots are made for logging. There used to be a boot called a "roofer boot". There are lots of definitions for "work". What an old lady calls gardening, could be landscaping work.

While there are many trades which require physical labor, and it's all hard work, there is a wage disparity. A dish washer at Panda Express, like myself, works extremely hard. The kitchen is hot. The floors are slippery. Heavy objects, as well as sharp objects, fall. Harsh chemicals are used. There is heat and steam. My shoes need to be every bit as protective, slip resistant, supportive, et cetera. While a log may not drop on my feet - cases of canned food and knives do drop on my feet. Hot water, steam, cleaning agents, and grease all take a toll on the leather. But guess what? I don't make the same money as an electrician or a crane operator. Pacific Northwest boots are a whole paycheck. I can't spend 2 weeks of my salary on shoes.

If you are buying Alden Indy Boots, and playing carpenter on the weekends by hanging a hummingbird feeder...... don't worry too much. Save yourself the angst. You're not legit. You don't have a Union Card. Wear whatever shoes you want, in any way that you want.

Just go down to the local Teamsters Union Hall. Hang out. Look at those guys. What are they wearing? How are they wearing it? Then strike up some casual conversations. See if anyone actually wearing work boots to do actual work, cares about how you style your boots.
 

MickeyPunch

New in Town
Messages
25
I vote for “there’s no right way to wear a pair of boots”, other than maybe wear them on your feet. Maybe.
 
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El Marro

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,453
Location
California
I own at least seven pairs of engineer boots from Wesco and Whites as well as two pairs of Whites Semi Dress, Wesco Hendrik’s, etc. I wear these boots on weekends and after hours during the week. I do not baby them but I don’t abuse them either.
I‘m an electrician and when I go to work I wear these:
IMG_7071.jpeg

The Red Wing 2412 with an Archmold insole Inside. These boots are steel toed, insulated, and waterproof. This pair is about a month old and with little to no maintenance I will get two years wear out of them.
I love the look of my vintage style boots but they simply can’t compare to a modern work boot when it comes to performance and comfort.
 

Rebus

New in Town
Messages
33
I haven't owned many pairs of nice 'work' boots, but living in a pretty cool and wet climate they are just the best footwear for tramping around the city. Well worn = comfortable to me, and that's what boots should be.

I've done a lot of work in the deep bush in BC and by far the best pair of boots I ever owned for that kind of work was a pair of Vibergs, I think this was before Viberg took off as a fashionable label. I got them for free when a good friend got hired as a mailman and gleefully gave away all of his tree planting gear. They were close to a foot tall caulked logging boots and somehow managed to feel like sneakers whilst also being both water and bomb proof, incredible boots. They looked like these:

https://workboot.com/collections/viberg/products/viberg-105
 

MrProper

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,735
Location
Europe
what is work boots anyway? is that ankle boots with laces that is called work boots?
Nowadays, every shoe is a work shoe in one way or another. For different kinds of work.
In the TFL context, I think we're talking about boots that used to be worn by the working class. A pair of shoes that were sturdy enough to do hard work in every day, but also looked passable enough to be worn formally on a Sunday.
 

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