Autumn Winter Footwear – Grenson and Red Wing

Whilst it may be searingly hot in Britain at the moment, and you may be reading this after an afternoon of drinking white cider/Gin/craft beers (delete as appropriate) outside, it is important to remember that, in Britain at least, the depressing descent into Autumn and Winter could occur at any moment. What better way to address these fears than by investing in one of those most indispensable of winter staples – a pair of boots.

An old saying is apparently that ‘one cannot afford to buy a cheap pair of shoes’ – and whilst using this to support the purchase of, for example, this ludicrous pair of £495 Jimmy Choo trainers seems highly questionable – boots are where the saying definitely holds. Having skimped on them before, and suffered through the (at least hypothetical) flirtation with frostbite and trench-foot that resulted, I have vowed never to do so again.
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With the past few weeks having seen the A/W collections begin to filter in to retailers, I have been intently poring over any arrivals in the shoe department, with a view to at last buying a good pair of boots and ending my misery. From these arrivals, two pairs in particular caught my eye; the Grenson Hadleys, and the Red Wing 6” Moc Toes.

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Now these may have been a stupid choice, as you will notice that there are quite a few differences between the styles of each, a fact that inevitably makes choosing a pair that little bit trickier. Whilst in an ideal world, you would own both, but at £229 for the Red Wings, and £215 for the Grensons, this is probably less than practicable.

However; despite the differences in appearance, the similarities between the two pairs mean that it almost doesn’t matter which one you end up choosing. The pedigree of both of these brands is well known; Red Wings, hailing from Minnesota, USA, have withstood the feet of men like this:

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And whilst Northamptonshire’s Grenson may be primarily known for their upmarket brogues, and therefore more readily associated with men engaging in this sort of thing:

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over 150 years of quality shoemaking means that the Hadleys too are guaranteed to hold up for many winters to come.

In addition to being hard-wearing, each of these boots features a rugged sole, ideal for handling whatever perils the winter may throw at you. Crucially, this allows you to both get around without falling over every 30 seconds, and avoid having to wear the boots you wore on that school outdoors weekend that one time, when you definitely didn’t misread the map and confidently lead everyone into a swamp.

Biting the bullet tends not to be easy or desirable – I mean, if it were, I suppose that image wouldn’t really make any sense – but such a strong combination of form and function was never going to be cheap, and whilst others may balk at the price, and call you extravagant now, just try and imagine their reaction in 10 years when you’re still wearing the same pair. Or distract them with a rant about those Jimmy Choos. Your call.

Grenson Hadley Boots are available at Peggs & Son, Red Wings from The Great Divide – also available with a vibram sole if that’s your sort of thing.

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