Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
In my mind, boots are the perfect compliment to raw denim. Both are versatile and sturdy, and both feel and look better with each wear. Unfortunately, I don’t always have enough time to loosen my boots’ laces and undo several eyelets when I’m throwing them on. While speed-hooks can help with this issue, they are prone to getting bent out of shape, rotating out of alignment, and gouging the boot’s tongue.
Luckily, a myriad of laceless boots exist that both look great and are quick to put on. I certainly can’t go over them all here, but I hope that this list offers some guidance as to what is available.
1. Meermin Chelsea Boot (Rapello Snuff Suede)
If there is one style of boot that has stood the test of time, it’s the Chelsea boot. From Queen Victoria to American ranchers to the Australian outback, Chelsea boots have always found a place in our hearts and on our feet. This pair from Meermin has beautiful snuff suede uppers that will only look better with wear, and also offers a sturdy rubber sole to prevent slipping. Whether you choose to dress them up or down, these boots will certainly not disappoint.
Available for $200 from Meermin.
2. Chippewa Engineer Boot (Whirlwind Black)
As is the case with Chelsea boots, Engineer Boots also have a great history behind them. Designed to with a high shaft to protect railroad workers who shoveled hot coal, these boots also allow the wearer to quickly kick them off in the event that a hot coal falls into them. When it comes to choosing a pair of Engineer boots, everyone has their own preferences. From shaft height and opening-circumference to toe shape and buckle finish, everyone can find a pair that looks and fits just how them like.
This pair comes from one of the original Engineer Boot makers, Chippewa, and its make-up about as classic as they come: 11″ shaft, black leather and silver hardware.
3. Carmina Jodhpur
Jodhpurs were traditionally worn both casually and for horseback riding, and like so many other articles of clothing their historical value has given them a place in modern fashion. Unfortunately, they haven’t taken off in the United States the same way they have in Europe, but don’t let that stop you from considering them! Their simplicity is quite versatile, and a single buckles means less time fumbling while getting them on in the morning. This pair from Carmina features brown calfskin and a durable Dainite sole.
Available for $371 from Skoaktiebolaget.
4. Quoddy Ring Boot
I’ve talked about this style before and I’ll likely talk about it again. Ring boots are unique in their design, but they offer slipper-like comfort and are incredibly fast to get on and off. Built using Chromepack leather and durable alloy rings, I don’t see these boots breaking anytime soon. Despite the rather unique appearance of how the sole is attached to the upper, this boot is actually fully resoleable. Quoddy also offers this model with a crepe sole for those who want a little more traction in wet weather.
Available for $212 (on sale) at Need Supply.
5. Viberg 90 Stallion
An American classic, slip-on Western-styled boots have proven that they are here to stay. Designed to be worn all day, these boots from Viberg are certainly real work-boots, but if you like Western style they certainly aren’t hard on the eyes either. Constructed using Viberg’s stitchdown methodology on a durable rubber sole, these boots willl last a lifetime if you treat them correctly.
They are built on a Packer last, which offers a toe shape ideal for being put quickly put into stirrups, Once the foot has been placed into the stirrup, the Cuban heel ensures that it won’t go sliding out. As an added bonus, the heel’s height will make walking uphill much less labor intensive than it would be with a shorter heel.
Available for $466 from Viberg.
Plus One – Visvim Mesa Moc-Folk
It’s weird. It’s wacky. It’s Visvim. While this pair of boots might not slip on quite as fast as some of the previously mentioned styles, their buckles will certainly be faster than standard lace-up boots. It features hand-stitched suede uppers and custom Vibram-made Visvim sole complete with midsole and the expected Visvim heel stabilizer.
Available for $825 from Gentry NYC via phone order.