Style Pick of the Week: Red Wing Merchant Boots

Right off the bat, just know that rugged leather boots — like the Red Wing Merchant Boots as seen above — aren’t going anywhere just ‘cuz we’ve now moved into March. No, there’s hardly a wrong time for a pair of stylish leather boots, as we so often say here at The Style Guide. In last week’s Style Pick, we dove into why you needed to pre-order some classic dress shoes from Taylor Stitch, but let’s return once more to durable leather boots — perfect even in March. Red Wing has gone to great lengths to up its style game over the years, and pieces like the handsome Merchant Boots exemplify that approach nicely (along with the brand’s coveted 1000 Mile line). The Mohave leather in a rich and unique color helps set the Red Wing Merchant Boots apart from the rest of the pack, as do touches like a steel shank and Goodyear welt construction for absurd durability. Brass eyelets also provide the type of durability you’d expect from a pair of classically styled boots like the Red Wing Merchant Boots. And speaking of classic style … a simply designed pair of plain toe leather boots can work with a heck of a lot of spring style essentials, to say the least.

Indeed, the Red Wing Merchant Boots can be styled in straightforward, classic fashion — think faded blue denim and a crisp Oxford shirt — or in ways a little more office-ready (an unlined navy cotton blazer, charcoal chinos and a light blue chambray shirt ought to do the trick). Therein lies the magic of a timeless pair of leather boots like the Red Wing Merchant Boots — they’ll go with plenty of gear you already love to wear (for instance: Slim tan chinos, a short-sleeve henley and a denim jacket, for one). That easy-to-wear styling potential makes the price tag of $320 a little more bearable, and when you consider their versatility and durability (especially when dealing with spring rain), that’s all the more applause-worthy. When rainy spring weather hits, you can throw on these boots in place of your typical suede chukkas, and be ready for just about anything. And the Red Wing Merchant Boots are only going to get better with age, another key benefit to investing for the long-term. So, to recap: Just because it’s spring doesn’t mean you need to shelve your boots entirely. Far from it, in fact. If I were you, the Red Wing Merchant Boots would have a permanent place in my footwear rotation in the months ahead.

How about you? Do you like the look of the Red Wing Merchant Boots?

Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Boots to Buy This Fall

My friends, it’s that time of the season again — time to talk about the best men’s boots to buy for fall. The season is, as I’ve said in past weeks, perhaps the best for us #menswear fans — particularly if you’re a fan of rugged fall style essentials. We get to break out our favorite layers, from a slim denim trucker jacket to a rugged striped henley, and better yet … we get to break out stylish leather boots aplenty all along the way. A great pair of leather boots can complement nearly any outfit, and I think you’ll find that the picks below do just that. A herringbone blazer and slim dark denim? Throw on a pair of classic leather chukkas. A casual striped henley and grey selvedge denim? Stylish suede boots ought to do the trick. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the below picks.  Again, the right pair of leather boots  — affordably priced, well-made and supremely stylish — can take you from football tailgate to bar crawl and back, with a week of work in between, of course. So, start checking a few items off your men’s style wish list this season; I know I’ve got a few more picks to add to mine. Follow along on Instagram for real-time style updates, and let me know how we’re doing over at The Style Guide Facebook page.

#1. Original Chippewa 6-Inch Service Boot in Crazyhorse — $270
Original Chippewa

A not-too-bulky pair of rugged fall boots featuring durable construction and great looks.

Believe you me, it’s tough to play favorites when it comes to rugged leather boots for the fall season — but Original Chippewa just might take the cake when it comes to the  brand’s 6-Inch Service Boot. With a rugged silhouette that’s not too bulky — plus premium construction and a quality price — the 6-Inch Service Boot is darn near the whole package. Wear it with your favorite pairr of dark denim and a black moto jacket for edgy weekend fall style.

#2.  Hudson Shoes Elmore Boot in Black — $270

A sleeker, modern combat boot with plenty of style to burn.

Fancy something a little more sleek and less rugged? Hudson Shoes has what you’re looking for when it comes to the Elmore Boot. With the look of a classic combat boot, the Elmore Boot should lend itself well to rock n’roll-ready outfits — think slim, faded grey denim and a stylish graphic tee. The slick black color also lends itself to dressier pairings — if you’ve got a tan or grey herringbone suit in your rotation, the Hudson Shoes Elmore Boots are the boots with which to wear it.

#3.  Astorflex Bootflex in Dark Khaki — $190
Astorflex Bootflex

A rugged-yet-comfortable pair of lace-up boots.

Long a favorite around these parts for blending sustainability and great looks, Astorflex has been making — in recent months, anyways — what could just be your new favorite pair of boots — the Astorflex Bootflex in Dark Khaki.  Finished with a natural rubber sole for comfort and done up in a versatile shade of deep tan, the Astorflex Bootflex should work quite stylishly for plenty of casual fall outings — from the pumpkin patch to your next football tailgate.
#4. Red Wing Iron Ranger Boot in Harness — $300

As good as it gets — the legendary Iron Ranger Boot from Red Wing. Bravo, folks!

As legendary a pair of fall boots as it gets, Red Wing absolutely delivers the goods when it comes to its lauded Red Wing Iron Ranger Boot. Blame it on the Americana craze of the mid-aughts, but the Iron Ranger Boot has taken on a life of its own — and with good reason. It’s a ridiculously rugged, stylish and wearable boot that’ll break in beautifully over time. What’s not to love about that? A job well-done to Red Wing on this one.

#5.  Hudson Shoes Leiwston Chukka — $110

A sleek pair of chukka boots, made with versatile style in mind.

We’ll throw some classic leather chukka boots in the mix this time, just for fun (wink, wink). As first seen in our Style Pick of the Week series, the Hudson Shoes Lewiston Chukka blends a truly excellent price with quality craftsmanship and versatile style. These stylish leather chukka boots — this pair is an admittedly popular seller — can team with nearly anything in your wardrobe, from a worsted wool navy suit, a pair of slim grey denim or a faded pair of blue jeans.

Honorable Mention: Astorflex Greenflex Rough in Sand — $150

An updated take on the Astorflex Greenflex — the durable, treaded sole is a key point of differentiation.

As previously seen in this site’s See Now, Buy Now series, the Astorflex Greenflex Rough is a recent addition to the brand’s line of stylish and sustainably made boots (but you know all about those already). And the Greenflex Rough updates the classic suede chukka in a few crucial ways, starting with the durable sole featuring a treaded grip. It’s a neat tweak on a pair of boots that’ll work with broken-in denim, olive chinos or burgundy corduroys this season.

That wraps up our take on the season’s best boots, folks. What did you think? Any particular favorites on this list? Again, the versatility and rugged appeal of a pair of boots like the Astorflex Greenflex Rough can’t be emphasized enough — and a classic pair of tough leather boots like the Red Wing Iron Ranger certainly deserves its place on this list, too. Don’t forget the casual, versatile look of the Astorflex Bootflex, too — that’s one pair that you can put a lot of miles on this fall. And if it’s sleek fall style you prefer, the Hudson Shoes Elmore Boots are the ones to buy. Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter as to your favorite style — see you out there this fall!

-Beau

The Friday Read: Raf Simons, Red Wing Heritage and Usain Bolt

Editor’s note: Expect these posts once a week on Fridays — consider this a jumpstart on reading for your weekend downtime. Expect a mix of style and non-style content. For more entries, click here.  

This past week was all about reflection and appreciation for me — appreciation for a great weekend spent in Michigan, appreciation for the chance to head back to my home state again in just two weeks for my good friend Andy’s wedding, and appreciation for what’s so far been a great summer in NYC. I’ve had the chance to take in some excellent concerts by my favorite bands, I’ve had the chance to travel, and I’ve also had the chance to explore the Big Apple with amazing friends — seriously, put an NYC trip on your bucket list. With all that being said, it’s still tough to believe we’re already into August. But, that means one of the best times of the year for us #menswear fans isn’t too far off — we’re talking, of course, about fall, and all the great style transitions it brings with it. Looking too far ahead? Perhaps. For now, I’m looking forward to a relaxing, warm weekend in the city before I get ready to travel across the country in the next half of the month (a family visit to Florida and a work trip to Las Vegas are in order). If you’ve got your own summer travel still left on the horizon this weekend, accessorize with a stylish dopp kit or a functional weekender bag. And in the meantime, kick back and enjoy the Friday Read. To keep up with daily style inspiration from the blog, head over to Instagram.

  • Even if you’re not into fashion (that is, fashion with a capital “F,”) shockwaves went through the industry this week when it was announced that Raf Simons is the new creative director at Calvin Klein. The former creative director at Dior, this is his first foray into American fashion; ultimately, it could signal a new direction for the iconic American brand — and it likely means they’ll be back in a big way at next year’s New York Fashion Week: Men’s, among other fashion week happenings.
  • For those who like their athletic performance mixed in with some eye-catching style, check out FOURLAPS — named for the number of laps it takes to run a full mile, the folks at Valet recommend you look at this new athletic brand that’s mixing up the market.
  • Red Wing Heritage is back with a mighty interesting release, partner — the brand just launched its Pecos Collection, featuring two silhouettes inspired by the boots worn by Western ranchers all the way back in the 1930s. It’s a style that’s probably not for everyone, but if you’ve grown weary of your trusty suede chukka boots or even leather chukkas, you might consider grabbing a pair.
  • Long Read of the Week: It’s been a while since this entry made an appearance in the Friday Read, but its return is a fascinating one. The New Yorker looks into (with varying responses) how fast Usain Bolt would run the mile — yes, read on and ponder away.

What else is on your reading list? Make it one of these pieces, will ya?

  • There’s no better time than August to slip your feet into some stylish boat shoes before Labor Day — check out my list of the 10 best boat shoes for men over at GearMoose.
  • For rock-ready style that’s just as modern today as it was in 1970s, turn to the new Levi’s 505C — I had a blast covering the brand’s latest launch for The Manual, and know that these jeans (as seen on my Instagram) really are way comfortable.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Style Pick of the Week: Red Wing Heritage Weekender Chukka

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

Huckberry Red Wing Chukka

Pair up lightweight chukka boots with a crisp pair of dark denim for a casual and patriotic weekend combo.

With it being the Fourth of July and all, we’re very much in a patriotic spirit here at The Style Guide. That carries right on over to footwear, and today’s made-in-America Style Pick, the Red Wing Heritage Weekender Chukka. Great footwear has been a focus as of late on the Style Pick series, including stylish leather sneakers fit for summer. But given that lots of us are hitting the road this weekend, there are certain things that should be in your bag and on your feet when it comes to what to wear for the Fourth of July. Crucially, a crisp, durable pair of chukka boots is a great way to upgrade your travel style. Seriously, a pair of chukka boots works with light wash denim casually, and fits right in alongside tan chinos for a more monochromatic, tailored look. The Heritage Weekender Chukka has just about everything you need for the weekend, too — note that sizes are somewhat limited (size 9-13), but as the boots run a half-size large, you might be all set to shop. Onto the specs — the Weekender Chukka is crafted from roughout leather that’s water, stain and perspiration-resistant, so it can tackle any hiking or walking across the weekend in style. Plus, the quality is self-evident, as it’s produced using S.B. Foot Tanning Company leather (just as the brand has done for decades on end). Still not sold on wearing boots in the summer? Bear with me — or walk with me?

Red Wing Heritage Weekender Chukka

A relatively trim silhouette, casual roughout leather and classic Red Wing styling touches make these worth the investment.

The Weekender Chukka takes a more casual, nuanced and lightweight approach to the silhouette, so it won’t weigh you down as much as a heavier pair of rugged winter boots. The Hill outsole is flexible yet dependable and durable, and the eye-catching striped yellow laces are a nod to classic Red Wing style. The brand’s ComfortForce footbed should also add to their wearability — an extra bit of reinforcement is critical when standing around waiting for fireworks or grilling out. Plus, the contrast stitching provides another point of visual interest, making them an even more casual pair of chukka boots. These are definitely chukkas you can rock with slim navy or olive chinos and a heather grey pocket T-shirt this weekend and beyond. And they’ll do just as well when worn with a slim short-sleeve henley and light chinos in a high-low style combo during other summer excursions. As to the rest of your style picks this weekend? Grab a durable weekender bag and maybe some other essential Fourth of July gear, and you’ll be set.

Get your pair of the Red Wing Heritage Weekender Chukka now (hurry!).

Enjoy the weekend, and go forth in style!

-Beau

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Style Pick of the Week: Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Watch

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

Possibly the perfect watch? Red Wing shoe leather meets a tough-yet-sharp Timex dial.

Possibly the perfect watch? Red Wing shoe leather meets a tough-yet-sharp Timex dial.

The importance of a sharp watch — like other great style upgrades — in terms of finishing off an outfit is something that’s hard to overstate.  It can definitely help strike the right tone, whether that’s sharp and dressy or laidback and casual. And there’s no doubt that the watch you see here can do either of those  — it’s hard to overstate that quality, as well.  Watches haven’t often been part of this here Style Pick of the Week series, but that changes right now in a big way. Timex has drawn some buzz as of late for its upcoming partnership with Todd Snyder — as part of his FW16 runway show last week in New York City, Snyder (of Champion collaboration fame) sent models down the runway wearing several models of the above watch (which features, you guessed it, a Red Wing shoe leather strap). The partnership is exceptionally fitting, and it all dovetails off the fact that, somewhat confusingly, Snyder is launching his own collaboration with Timex this coming fall.  But back to the matter at hand — Fashion Week or not, you can (and definitely should) pick up this handsome watch right now.

Plenty of solid design went into this exceptionally affordable timepiece.

Plenty of solid design went into this exceptionally affordable timepiece.

The Timex Waterbury line was a welcome introduction last year as part of the brand’s anniversary celebration; it nodded to the brand’s heritage, took classic Timex style and gave it a rugged edge. You might recognize a model of the rugged-refined Waterbury  line from this past week’s post on how to style a crewneck sweater, in fact. And the Timex x Red Wing Waterbury seen here — sold exclusively through END Clothing for now — advances that design ethos perfectly. For now, it would appear END only has the 38mm model  (there are also 40mm and 42mm iterations). But 38mm works just fine — it’s the ideal balance between striking and subtle. Yes, the black-and-tan 38mm dial is just the right size for most of us, but the real standout here is the leather strap, made using leather from Red Wing’s S.B. Tanning Company. A genius idea, yeah? It’s the rare watch strap that’ll break in as superbly as your boots over time — and it’ll certainly match up well with your rugged Red Wing winter boots, to say the least. So given all the rugged refinement that’s gone into this iteration of the watch, it only makes sense that Snyder would look to the duo for style that really played well on the runways. Fear not, though — this particular watch will look superb on your wrist even if you have no modeling experience to speak of.  Style it with wingtip boots, jeans and a shawl collar cardigan now, and throw it on with a tee and tailored shorts when it (eventually) warms up. There’s no wrong way to go.

Are you a fan of the Timex Waterbury line? And this watch in particular? Or are you holding out for the Todd Snyder x Timex collab?

Frank & Oak

Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Winter Boots

Editor’s note: Click this link to read the 2016 edition of this site’s best men’s winter boots.

So these past few weeks in NYC have delivered some of the coldest weather on record — not only in the city itself, but across much of the rest of Eastern U.S. and Midwest. That really puts things in perspective style-wise, because in cold weather like this, function is just as important as fashion, particularly in the footwear department when trekking through feet of snow (or even just walking through blustery, chilly winds). There are several options on the market that serve only functional purposes (like the famous Bean boot from L.L. Bean), but the best boots serve both stylish and utilitarian means — like the 5 picks below. Read on and leave your picks for your favorite pair at the bottom!

#1. Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots in Brown — $360

An all-American original with rugged details.

An all-American original with rugged details.

Wolverine’s 1000 Mile line of boots is an all-time classic — revered for their durability and toughness, the brand has slowly built up a fashion following across the past five or so years as workwear and Americana themes have come back into vogue in men’s fashion. While this pair is particularly pricey compared to options you might pick up on a budget, the price is well worth it —the 1000 Mile collection combines toughness and dependability with beautiful leather styling and lots of attention to detail (read more on a pair from the line here). In a rich brown color like the pair above, they’ll work at the office with more rugged outfits as well as marching through the cold to get there. Note that these boots are also on-sale through Nordstrom for a bit less than the above price.

#2. Thursday Boots Captain Boot in Brown — $199

A slimmed-down silhouette compared to the 1000 Mile boot, for far less cash.

A slimmed-down silhouette compared to the 1000 Mile boot, for far less cash.

The second pick on this list drops the price down significantly from the Wolverine boots above, without losing too much quality. In fact, for being a very new startup courtesy of Kickstarter, these boots provide just as much top-notch styling potential as any other boot from the heritage brands on this list — and they do it for a greatly reduced price.  They offer a slightly sleeker-looking silhouette, a more office-friendly captoe and that same rich brown leather that should pair well with all kinds of outfits throughout the winter. And even more importantly, the company’s garnered some positive reviews around their initial collections, meaning it’d be more than safe to take the plunge on this pair.

#3. Frank & Oak Rubber-Soled Italian-Leather Lace-up Boots in Black, $175

From Frank & Oak's new footwear line — the sharpest pair on the list yet.

From Frank & Oak’s new footwear line — the sharpest pair on the list yet.

The first pair of black boots on this list is also, quite curiously, on-sale through Frank & Oak with plenty of sizes left. On top of that, they’re by far the cheapest pair on the list to date, yet if F&O’s other new footwear offerings are any indication, this pair should deliver in both quality and looks. They’re by far the dressiest pair on the list, given that sharp black color (a slightly resurgent footwear trend), and the brushed black eyelets and waxed cotton laces only add to their sleek styling. These would work best in the same manner that Bond wore his black dress boots in Skyfall — with a sharp grey suit or tailored navy trousers or cords. They’d also work to channel your inner Justin Theroux with slim dark denim. Given the rate of turnover on Frank & Oak’s site, the question remains as to how long these boots will stay in-stock, especially on-sale.

#4. Red Wing Beckman Boot in Black Featherstone — $340

Red Wing boots combine heritage craftsmanship with rugged styling potential.

Red Wing boots combine heritage craftsmanship with rugged styling potential.

Yet another pair of black boots fills spot #4 on this list. Just like their Wolverine brethren, Red Wing has a long heritage of delivering sturdy boots made to last. This pair of Beckman boots knocks down the price compared to the 1000 Mile pair listed above, but that in no way detracts from the quality. These have that same reinforced sole and Goodyear welt construction that should make resoling possible down the line — practically like getting a new pair of boots for far less than full price. And in this case, the bottom sole is stitched to the midsole, meaning these boots can more than stand up to the abuses of winter weather. Notably, the leather on this pair is richer in color than your typical black leather — it has a luxurious, almost burgundy-like tint to it. Throw ’em on with dark denim, a henley and a shawl cardigan or pair them with slim burgundy cords and a crewneck sweater.

#5. Florsheim Gaffney Wingtip Boots — $150

A wingtip option that combines tan leather with a grippy-looking sole.

A wingtip option that combines tan leather with a grippy-looking sole.

The final pair on this list is the first and only set of wingtip boots on here —mainly because of the fact that while inherently stylish, incredibly nice wingtip boots (like the Allen Edmonds Dalton) don’t always do the best job of beating back the snow and slush. If you have a pair in your closet though, give them a try — after all, $400-plus boots don’t deserve to just sit around! The Florsheim Gaffney is a slightly more upscale replacement to JCP’s much-loved Stafford Camlin and Stafford Deacon wingtip boots, but in a louder “toffee” color. That makes them a little more eye-catching and slightly less versatile than the darker brown options on this list, as tan doesn’t necessarily sit as well under, say, khaki chinos or dark charcoal trousers. They would, however, pair just fine with dark denim and navy chinos, for example. And the sole on these boots looks to have a fair bit of grip as well, which is a definite positive for stepping outside in these chilly temperatures. The leather also looks to have some texture, a nice way of adding a bit of visual interest to fall and winter outfits.

Although many of these boots are up there in price, the benefits are well worth the extra dollars, as a great pair of boots can combat slush, snow and ice without needing a change for working hours — or dinner and drinks out later.

Got a favorite pair of winter boots? What other options would you add to this list? Leave it all below! 

Additional note: Look for a Reader Giveaway Opportunity coming up on the blog! I’ll be giving away a Linjer Leather Goods wallet! Details coming on Wednesday. Thanks for reading!