The other day, I received an email from a British reader who was enamored with the idea of getting himself a pair of boots from the mid 1940’s. He sent me a picture and asked where he could find such a boot. At first, I thought a specific pattern such as this would be something for a custom bootmaker, but most of them create dress boots rather than heavier leather boots for hiking and working.
Personally, I am not an avid wearer of this type of work boots. I own only one pair from an industrial brand totally unassociated with fashion, and although I am happy with them when I work outside, I never wear them in combination with anything other than jeans. This particular boot has a special heel and square tow, which indicates that it was actually a ski boot thought the reader specifically wanted a work boot. In any case, I was interested to see if I could answer our reader’s question and perhaps find a more stylish pair.
I began my search in Britain, the home of our reader. The trick was to find a black leather boot with a leather sole; most boots these days have some kind of synthetic or rubber sole, which eliminates the majority of bootmakers. With this criteria, I found the Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot.Although it comes in black leather, the details are obviously different. The welt does not go all the way around, the sole is brown, the uppers are cut differently and there are only three hooks at the top. Also, if you look more closely, the last of the Wolverine has a more rounded shape.
Knowing that there were numerous companies in the US that produced boots during WWII, I tried to find a stateside manufacturer of these kind of boots. Most boots that I came across were styled roughly in the same manner as the Wolverine.
And so, I had to branch out a little further and found the Munich-based company Schuh-Bertl. Solid boots are one of their specialties. Interestingly, they featured a good-year welted alpine boot that looked rather similar to the model I was searching for: all black, completely welted, and squared-toed with hooks for closure. Of course, the upper is not identical, though considering that it is difficult to find such boots at all, I think it is pretty close.
However, since I am not a historic work boot expert, I was wondering if anyone here can tell me where one can purchase such boots. I look forward to your comments below!