I’m a working man, not in the sense of manual labour and lifting heavy stuff in dirty environments but more in the sense of working with tools and chemicals so I do actually have to wear work boots to…y’know…..work. Now, I don’t want to start claiming that I need to wear $400, bench made work boots, that’s just an added luxury. I have considered that maybe I have an issue as I come to work in an electronics factory every day in $350 jeans and $400 work boots, I will seek help eventually.
My requirements for a work boot were very simple. Firstly they have to be comfortable as I walk a lot and I stand a lot, my feet need to be well looked after, for that reason it had to be built around my favourite last on the market, the White’s SD last. Secondly it has to look like a work boot rather than a formal boot, it needs to be tough, rugged, and look like it is there to serve a purpose, this pretty much ruled out the SD itself which is a bit too casual and delicate (unless you choose extreme options) to be a real work boot. Having limited my choice to only one boot I was pretty pleased because the Bounty Hunter from White’s is one hell of a boot.
The Bounty Hunter is an exclusive model to Bakers Shoes, the largest custom dealer of Whites boots outside of, well…….. White’s themselves. It is, in its most basic terms, a Smokejumper built on a Semi Dress last, this gives you the comfort of the SD with the practicality of the SJ. As with just about every boot from White’s and supplied by Bakers the capacity for customisation is vast with over 30 different leather options of which you can use up to three on your boot, a choice of single up to triple leather midsoles from bulk and height, more sole options than you could ever really hope to need, varying configurations and colours of eyelets and speed hooks and of course (being the Smokejumper design) there is a choice between plain or lace to toe……with the possibility to add a cap to the plain toe….which itself can be straight or medallion. You get the picture that there are lots of options in designing your perfect boot.
In my opinion boots worn for work should be capable of taking abuse, and the dress leather from White’s is the perfect leather for that, I combined this with rough out for the shaft for simple comfort reasons. The dress leather is tough to mark, polishes up well and ages beautifully making it ideal for a boot that you plan on wearing for the long term and is the leather I chose for my boots. The boots should also not be too ridiculously heavy (been there, done that), so a single leather midsole and Vibram composition sole make up the lower portion, the cap toe is a pure vanity touch because I think it looks pretty.
Apart from the upcoming need for a re heel these boots look as good today as when they were new, the mix of dress and rough out leather is very easy to look after and feels like it is hardly even broken in after a year of wear. The thought process I had when I ordered these boots was that I wanted footwear that I could possibly still be wearing in the retirement home and these boots have nailed it, there are prettier boots, there are boots with less rough edges and there are even tougher boots, but you will not find a boot that manages to be this pretty, whilst being this tough and at this quality. I’m looking forward to many years of stress free boot ownership and wear in these magnificent shit kickers.