In autumn, it is a joy to be outside for whatever reason, whether it be a walk, a hike or a hunt. Traditionally, this is the time for leather-lined leather boots because shoes don’t provide enough stabilization in natural settings while sheepskin boots are too warm. Hence, we’d like to review a “country boot”. Before we focus on footwear details, I would like to provide a brief introduction to the brand’s history.
Interestingly, the company name today is not Tricker’s but R.E. Tricker Ltd. However, it all started as Barltrop, when Joseph Barltrop founded the company in 1829. Unlike many other shoemakers, it is still owned today by the very same family. In 1862, Joesph’s son Walter James Barltrop married Claire Louise Tricker and since they thought the name Tricker had more of a commercial pedigree, they switched the company name. In the following years, they gained a reputation for heavy brogue boots and shoes, which presently have also been adapted for hunting, shooting and even for wear in town. Around the turn of century, Tricker’s introduced the Jermyn Street collection and in 1925, they opened a store at 87 Jermyn Street. Fourteen years later, they moved a few yards down the road to 67 Jermyn Street, where they still operate a store today, despite the fact that 70% of their shoes are sold abroad.
In 1983, they began supplying Prince Charles with footwear and in 1988 they were granted a Royal Warrant. The Prince of Wales still wears their shoes today.
Tricker’s Boots Review
This review will feature the Tricker’s Stow boot in Acorn Antique calf leather with a double leather sole on the 4497S last, which was provided to us by Pediwear. In the past, they sent us a pair of their house brand shoes in 10.5UK, and the Tricker’s have a slightly roomier fit in the toe box and the heel area. One of the first things that caught my eye was the thick leather sole, metal eyelets and thick shoe laces that definitely characterized it as a country boot.
The Last & Fit
Made on the 4497S last, this boot certainly allows enough room to wear a thick pair of wool socks. The toebox is round and very roomy, which provides comfort even after you have walked around in your boots all day. I tested these boots extensively on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and I was positively surprised by the comfort level they provided even though they were a bit too wide for me in the heel. Fortunately, boots reach above the ankle and so the width was not a problem. Compared to Gaziano & Girling or Alfred Sargent, Tricker’s looks lack refined lines and seem more rustic, but that’s exactly what they were designed for. This last was not made for fine city worsteds but for tweeds and corduroys. As such, I find the styling spot on. In terms of the last width, I’d say it is a bit wider than D and hence suited for people with a slightly wider foot. Overall, I would say it runs true to size although this is a difficult term because every brand has their own fit. Compared to the the Alfred Sargent and Pediwear Paradis shoes, they run a little larger and roomier.
Everything about this boot is more rustic, but that was the prerogative. The brogue holes are mostly aligned and bigger than those from other manufacturers; the medallion is located at the very front of the shoe and is optically a bit shorter than what you sometimes see from other brands. To me, this has always been the distinct Tricker’s look. The 360 degree goodyear welt is done by machine and provides a sturdy impression. I am sure it has the same durability as others. The thread is bigger though, and the stitches are not as fine, but again, this is part of the more rugged appearance of this boot. Just like with all the other shoes we reviewed, the leather welt strap is shaped out of one piece and the heel is made out of layers of leather and fastened with brass nails, yet when the boot stands on the heel, the sole does not touch the floor. Many other shoe manufacturers don’t get this right and Tricker’s is no exception. As a consequence, the boot is a bit more prone to wrinkles on the vamp, but since I wore it on many soft surfaces, I did not feel the difference as much as if I had worn it exclusively on hard pavement. Ideally, the sole should touch the floor in the area of your front foot arch to ensure a “round” walk.
On the inside of the shoe, the leather lining is neatly sewn together and nothing bothered me, except for the printed (not woven) Tricker’s label that started to rub off after wearing it for the first time. That might be part of the worn-in look many people who wear these kind of boots like so much. To facilitate putting on the shoe, it has a cotton twill loop strap sewn in that works rather well. Overall, the workmanship of this boot is what I would call solid and rugged, but certainly not refined or elegant. You won’t find a fiddle back waist or meticulous antiquing or burnishing on the shoe, but they remind me a bit of old work boots – honest and durable, minimal detail, and no attempt at refinement. As a country boot, that’s fine. Durability is king.
For the soles, Tricker’s uses English oak bark tanned leather that is hard and durable. In fact, it is much more resistant than the rubber patch on the heel. The uppers are made from a fine aniline dyed calf leather with a slight pigmented layer for protection. The leather is not soft and has a similar feel to the one from Shoepassion but that’s exactly what you want in a country boot since it should provide stability. Although the uppers are sold as Acorn Antique, these boots are hardly antiqued. Over time and with some shoe polish, they will create a nice patina I suppose, but you can tell not much time was spent on the leather finish. The cap in the back is very hard and sturdy, while the front one is softer. Over time, the leather will get a bit softer and I very much look forward to a nice patina because light colored browns usually look great once they are a few years old. For a country boot, I think all the leather choices are spot on.
Overall, I was surprised by how much I liked to wear these boots. Paired with blue denim I even earned compliments from blue collar distillers in Kentucky because the boots looked appropriate in the environment but definitely better than a pair of work boots. It also works well with tweed jackets or trousers and corduroy. Priced at £390 (£325 = 380 EUR = $525) these boots are anything but cheap, and I would expect a pair like that to last for years to come. Looking at the double sole and the leather, with the reinforced metal eyelets I am not worried these Tricker’s will last, but at the same time, I would like to compare it to other country boots to see the difference in material and workmanship. Only time will tell if Tricker’s will maintain their reputation for durable country footwear.
So, if you don’t care for the fine lasts and delicate details you find at other brands, and you like the bolder, more rugged old school look, Tricker’s is the ideal boot for you especially if you are fond of country clothing. The company also offers a repair service which might be a good option if you live in the UK, but otherwise, I’d suggest you send them to a local, quality cobbler.
Initially, I was wondering if the Stow boot with a dainite sole or commando sole wouldn’t be the better choice to protect my feet from the elements. However, after walking day in the rain with the leather sole versions, I still had dry feet. That means you probably only need rubber if you also want to use them as multipurpose winter boots on snow and ice as well as boots for fall, because I know from experience that the ice and salt are tough on leather soled shoes. Would you wear a rugged boot like these?