Footwear · Musings

Rethinking Black Shoes

Ask me a year ago (hell, a season ago) and I would have said that you don’t really need black shoes. Ok, maybe one pair for weddings/funerals/job interviews that you dust off occasionally, but the rest of the time you can wear brown. Black is just too stuffy and formal. Brown shows that you are more casual, cooler, more stylish.

But lately I’ve been coming back around. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been looking at too many Japanese denim blogs and Insta accounts or my current obsession with Pacific Northwest bootmakers lately (more on that later) or just too many guys wear brown derbies these days. It’s not that my opinion has changed about sleek, formal looking black dress shoes – I still think black oxfords are still too formal for my day-to-day wear. It’s the casual black footwear that’s got my attention lately. 

Now I have a pair of black boots – my Woolrich Yankee boots in black chromexcel leather was one of my first pairs of goodyear-welted footwear- and they go great with classic/vintage cut denim. Japanese boot and denim guys love to pair wide-legged denim jeans, overalls or dungarees with heavy-soled boots or shoes. So this week I gave it a shot with some black Alden Norwegian-split toes. I got these at a bargain price off eBay and they hardly get any wear. However the combination of the bulbous Barrie last, pie-crust stitching, and heavy double soles make it far less formal-looking than your average pair of black dress shoes. And I think it works quite well with my 3Sixteen’s. Black is also a neutral colour so it’s less clashy with certain other colours. For example, I’m wearing my black boots with OG107 fatigue pants in the picture below. Now if these were brown boots, I’d be in danger of looking like a tree. And black boots and army greens is just such a classic combination.


I also love how some black leathers age – particularly black pullup leather like Chromexcel. The outer layer starts to wear away with use, revealing the brown core. I mean, just look at these pictures! here and here!

Anyway, I’ve got a pair of White’s custom Smoke Jumpers in black chromexcel on order (6 weeks wait for them to be made) so there will be a huge post on logger boots coming in the near future.

In the meantime, here’s some boot porn:

John Lofgren

Wesco US

Wesco Japan

White’s Japan

Role Club 

White Kloud

And an awesome post from Derek which is more thought-out and better researched than mine:

Die, Workwear! The Under Appreciated Black Boots




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