Balmoral (dress) boots are not the most common sight on the streets but as the fall keeps coming it’s time to give a little attention to this shoe type as well.
The history of balmoral boots goes all the way back to the Victorian era. Balmorals can simply be described as oxford shoes in the form of boots. They can come with a plain toe, cap-toe or with a different kind of brogueing such as small medallions and are at their best when made for a bit more sleek and slender lasts.
In terms of materials it’s nowadays common to have the boots two-toned i.e “top” and “bottom” part of the boots made of different materials. Usually that means that the top part is made of grain leather, suede or even some cloth such as linen or tweed.
The other one of my 2 pairs of dress boots - Alfred Sargent mto miller boots with espresso calf and purple suede.
Stockholm based Skoaktiebolaget offers a great two-tone suede x calf option featuring rubber x leather soles for Scandinavian weather by Spanish Carmina.
When and where to wear?
Balmoral boots are a good choice for fall and winter as during summer they can look a bit out of place as well as be too hot to wear. In general these kind of boots can be used almost in the same occasion than you use your basic oxfords. In fact, while standing up, they pretty give the look like any other pair of oxford dress shoes and only when you’re sitting down (or if you pull up your cuffs) other people will realize them to be boots. In my opinion balmoral boots work best when worn with a nicely fitted suit but there are a lot models and combinations that will make the pair suitable to pair with odd trousers as well.
Spanish Meermin offers various choices of dress boots through their mto-programme.
And finally five models to choose your favorite.
Gaziano & Girling is one the finest footwear makers in the world. The wigmore model is usually available only through mto-orders or specific specs made for certain retailers.
Edward Green Shannon
Besides Wigmore, Shannon is the other iconic model of balmoral boots. Again a choice that’s only available through mto-orders so be ready for a little wait to be able to wear your pair.
Meermin - black cordovan
In addition to already mentioned mto-programme Meermin offers one dress boot model also in their rtw-range. Made of black shell cordovan leather and featuring double leather soles. This is a pair to wear for business.
Herring Holmes II
Made by AS for Herring Shoes by their specs Holmes two is a classic two-tone balmoral boot. Brown suede x brown calf is a combination that can be used in most of occasion and also be paired with multiple color such as greys, blues and shades of browns.
French brand Markowski offers one of a bit more affordable options in this category. Simple and plain model that’s also available in all black or burgundy calf is a choice worth of consideration for those looking a balmoral boot on a budget.
Grenson x Foot the Coacher
Finally a bit different pair of dress boots, a collaboration between British Grenson and Japanese based Foot the Coacher that finds inspiration from a vintage design for English football boots and is made of black pebble grain leather. This is a dress boot to pair with denim. Available at Mr. Porter.
Here wearing the other pair of my dress boots as a part of a bit more casual combination. Grenson masterpiece for Mauro Volponi made of dark brown calf leather.