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Archive for July, 2013

R M Williams Review

Posted on: July 9th, 2013 by Drew No Comments


I will approach my reviews not only from a quality/style standpoint, but also maintenance,  So, as the title suggests today I am addressing JM Williams the Australian bootmaker.


RM Williams is an Australian icon that evokes images of the vast Australian outback, of Banjo Patterson and the Man from Snowy River. They have been making boots since the 1930’s when Reginald Murray Williams learned the art of leather saddlery and boot making in the South Australian outback from a fellow known as Dollar Mick.


The thing that makes JM Williams a rare bird and particularly collectable is the whole cut Chelsea Boot. (to find out more about what wholecut is I will be addressing the term in a future blog, but for the sake of brevity; ‘It is a shoe or boot were the entire upper is covered by a single, non-seamed skin’) The long and short of it is it moulds to the bridge of your foot, making it very comfortable. JM Williams makes a noteworthy example of a wholecut boot.

**The buyer beware sometimes seams are cunningly disguised, if you look at this link for a Tudor boot from John Lobb you can see the seam directly underneath the vamp, it is small, but it is there.**


Upon inspecting a brand new pair of JMW will notice a ridge running down the middle to the toe, this is not a defect, only proof that they use an old fashioned high end manufacturing technique.

The overall quality of their boots can be best described as basic high end comparable to Allen Edmonds and superior to Loakes. They are very comfortable footwear, doubtless largely as a result of their whole-cut boot construction for which they are famous. They are mostly Goodyear welted. As well as this they are also one of the few bootmakers left that make a ready to wear boot with a brass screwed leather construction.


The leathers they use on their dress boots are mainly yearling, kangaroo, veal calf as well as suede. I have only ever seen them use full grain leathers. As well as this they do exotic, such as crocodile, but expect to part with the best part of $5500 Australian for these. Another leather, less commonly used by RM Williams is willow. It is a slightly grainier leather than yearling and less expensive. It is used mostly in the cheaper range of boots. I will spare you the technicalities of the leathers, (believe me I could go on!) if anyone is interested to hear further just leave a message.


If, you pushed me my top JMW tip would be; the Wholecut Craftsman made from french veal in chestnut colour; a handsome, slim, sleek and comfortable boot, perfect for the great outdoors and fear not due to the reverse ’storm’ welting not a single droplet of moisture will penetrate.


There are certain essentials that should be ‘de rigueur’ for footwear of this type;

1. Most importantly they need to be cleansed and scrubbed with water to remove mud and dirt. Now I know this seems obvious, but you would be amazed how many people just don’t do this.

2. Secondly, a leather conditioner – due to the nature and usage you will experience a lot of cracking and drying so a basic conditioner goes down great keeping the upper supple and soft.

3. Next a nice cream, this will cleanse and enhance the aesthetic of the leather giving it beautiful depth and clarity.

4. The finish depends on you – the grand stylissimo; having performed the above a simple buff with a natural chamois would suffice. You can push the envelope and create a deep shine, but for casual shoes I would suggest this is a little frantic.

My next review will be womens shoes, so ladies stay tuned. Have a great day.










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