Tricker's Boots Review

Tricker’s Boots Review

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.

Tricker's - a 5th generation business owned by the Barltrop family

Tricker’s – a 5th generation business owned by the Barltrop family

Tricker’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 factory in Northampton, England

Tricker\s factory in Northampton, England

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.

Tricker's Stow with double leather sole

Tricker’s Stow with double leather sole

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.

Solid workmanship

Solid workmanship

The Workmanship

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.

Tricker's Stow Boot - The ideal fall companion

Tricker’s Stow Boot – The ideal fall companion

The Leather

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.

Double leather sole made of oak bark tanned leather

Double leather sole made of oak bark tanned leather

Miscellaneous

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.

10 year-old Tricker's Stow boot by Gentleman's Gazette Reader Dr. Kieran Smith

10 year-old Tricker’s Stow boot by Gentleman’s Gazette Reader Dr. Kieran Smith

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.

Sideview of the large brogues, metal eyelets and thick shoe laces

Sideview of the large brogues, metal eyelets and thick shoe laces

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?

8 replies
  1. Fred Patton
    Fred Patton says:

    I have pair of Herring Burghs very much like these. These are made by Loake, I believe, and are about half the price of the Tricker’s, so a comparison might be interesting. Mine were less shiny than these pictures show the Trickers, but had a nicely burnished finish that looked wonderful right out of the box.

    They are some of my favorite shoes, go well with just about anything, and have already acquired a wonderful look after a couple of years of polishing with slightly darker polish than might otherwise be called for. I have the leather soles as well, and have never been sorry. Even after spending a day tramping for miles all over parks and streets, they are still comfortable.

    The boot aspect surprises people who assume they’re just standard wingtips. This style seems to be a rarity here in the US, but it shouldn’t be.

    Fred

  2. Paul Pinkham
    Paul Pinkham says:

    I do wish these were available in custom sizes, as my foot is wider than the average person. Any word on that?

  3. Roger Pegg
    Roger Pegg says:

    as an Englishman living in the heart of Sherwood Forest I have worn Trickers for overs 38 years and still use my original pairs. trickers build up history with use not when first bought. Patina develops with regular use of polish,as does comfort. Trickers can offer custom fit either via the factory or Jermyn Street. It is safe to say that at any Counrty house or shoot,an old pair of Trickers lovingly polished to a high shine over many years will be more welcome, than any new pair of shoes. Great Grandfathers pair of Purdeys mean far more than any modern gun, likewise a twenty year pair of Trickers

  4. Christopher Long
    Christopher Long says:

    I think highly of Tricker’s generally. Certainly no one can say they take any short cuts in terms of construction, or compromise quality in any way. However, Alfred Sargent have made, and I think continue to make, one or two very similar types of country boot that are at least their equal.

  5. Calvin A
    Calvin A says:

    Paul, Check their website. They have a “bespoke” link.

    I have to say these are very nice but waaaay out of my price range. I generally wear jeans in my off time so was interested to see that you received compliments when worn with denim, but I can’t even imagine spending over $500 on a pair of boots. Guess I’ll keep looking.

  6. TimL
    TimL says:

    Hey Calvin A, I have some similar boots in look only from Stafford I got at JCPenny’s for about $60.

    I really like the look and they now have a dark brown/burgandy looking pari. Pretty nice fit.

    Tim

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