Give 'em the boot!
May 27, 2009 1:34 PM   Subscribe

What brand of (mens) boots should I buy if I want something like Doc Martens but I don't want to buy Doc Martens?

I've always liked the black boots look that is typified by Doc Martens, but I don't think much of the construction of modern Docs. I'd like to find boots that look good, will last forever and are lightweight (which tends to rule out the work boots and combat boots at the local Army surplus). As long as they're good for walking, I don't mind a little form over function. I'm willing to spend some good money on these, as I hardly ever buy shoes and like them to last for years.

I live in L.A., so brands and styles available here are preferable to things I'd have to mail order, but I'm open to all suggestions.
posted by Bookhouse to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Wolverine are popular here in Washington among the fire department / popo / armed services folks.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 1:37 PM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: Non steel-toed Redwings are pretty much what you're looking for I think. I've had a pair of something similar to these for maybe 15 years.
posted by jessamyn at 1:40 PM on May 27, 2009

Not quite exactly what you're looking for, but check out:
Blundstone (direct: 2)
posted by smitt at 1:46 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Gripfast/Tredair/TUK come to mind. Basically Doc Martens style, but better made from a different company. They are a bit esoteric, so you may have trouble finding what you want in your size, but they are out there. Be advised that the skinheads like this brand too, but they are all over Doc's too, so I wouldn't sweat it too much. Something to keep in mind anyway.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 1:51 PM on May 27, 2009

Let me recommend Corcoran/Matterhorn boots. They offer a great line of non steal saftey toe boots (ceramics) that are really light weight. Even their steel toes (which I wear religiously now) are some of the lightest and best made boots I've ever owned.
posted by strixus at 1:52 PM on May 27, 2009

Scratch that "hard to find" warning. The TUK website has a place where you can order all of them, in stock for most things, or so it would appear.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 1:53 PM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: If you were here in SF, I'd send you over to Stompers in a heartbeat.

Also, the boots I have from John Fluevog are the most comfortable boots I've ever owned, and as a goth with a boot buying problem, that's a lot of boots. Mine are discontinued, but part of the Angels family. I'm about to wear a hole in the toe from the shift lever on my motorcycle. When that happens, I will cry. A lot. There is a Fluevog store in LA.

These are the object of my current boot lust.

Oh man, I could talk about boots all day long.
posted by mollymayhem at 1:54 PM on May 27, 2009

The best, most comfortable boots you can buy are Redwings. Hands down.
posted by sanka at 1:58 PM on May 27, 2009

You can still get "classic" combat boots at army surplus stores.
posted by scratch at 2:10 PM on May 27, 2009

Another vote for 'vogs (Fluevogs). They are institution here in Vancouver.
posted by randomstriker at 2:19 PM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: BTW, I haven't tried them yet but Docs are now offering "original Docs" that are made in England.
posted by JoanArkham at 2:21 PM on May 27, 2009

RM Williams. Australian cowboy books. Like gloves for your feet.
posted by shothotbot at 2:22 PM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: I have a pair of the 'original' 1460s, and they're definitely in a different league to the standard Docs. The 'For Life' range look to be even better, and come with a lifetime guarantee - wear them out and you get a free replacement pair.

If you want to spend more (lots more) cash on boots that really will last forever, have a look at Alden, White's or Tricker's. Tricker's have a factory rejects eBay shop too, with good bargains if a pair in your size happen to pop up.
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 3:09 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Danner boots are expensive, but incredibly well made (mostly in the USA). I have these and they're probably the most comfortable pair of footwear I own.

If you're ever up in Portland, it's worth stopping in their factory store, where I scored my normally-$265 boots for about half that.
posted by dersins at 3:12 PM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: (Although, on second thought, the fact that the Danner Recons are insulated may make them a non-started for LA. Let me instead suggest Red Wing "Gentleman Traveler" boots, which are Doc-like but will actually last, like, forever.)
posted by dersins at 3:17 PM on May 27, 2009

Response by poster: Red Wings look good, especially those "Gentleman Travelers" (great name as well). But I'm going to be checking out some of these others, and am still open to more suggestions.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:30 PM on May 27, 2009

It's probably taking 'more suggestions' too far, but this huge thread (as in > 1k comments) about boots on the Superfuture forum might be worth a look.
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 3:42 PM on May 27, 2009

Seconding Blundstones.
Blundstones are awesome. The elastic sides mean you don't have to spend any time working that leather round the ankle into comfortable softness. They look good with jeans, and do okay with shorts too. They're really manly - and though I'm a girl, I've worn my way through several pairs, all of which I've put sheepskin inserts in, and they have become like slippers - super, super comfortable, but tough looking at the same time.
posted by lottie at 4:21 PM on May 27, 2009

I currently own a pair of Fluefovs (similar to these ones, but this green) and they are very comfortable and nice. A little too stylish at times. I liked my pair of Red Wing's 6 " diamond lugs like this one but black/grey - the steel toe doesn't add much to the weight, and these lasted several years of intense work so no complaints there.

But my favorite boots of all time are these ugly things by Dayton. Dayton makes boots & leathers in Vancouver and that's about it. Popular with the loggers - so you can hike all over hell in them and they stand up to a great deal of abuse. These are certain to be the next pair of boots I acquire- perhaps these Driver Red ones. They have 8" & 12" in brown -which looks more like an old saddle than the pics show and your standard black.

The Dayton's are hand made to your foot and I did the measurements myself - I wish I still had mine. They lasted through six years of total abuse & whatever lucky bastard has them now is likely still using them. And they are way cheeper direct from Dayton than through Wings & Horn's 800$ worn in ones.
posted by zenon at 5:52 PM on May 27, 2009

Fleuvog Derby Swirls are great in burgundy, though I don't like the black as much. The DM 1460s are nice: I had a pair in dark brown that wore out some while ago. And I'm tempted by Red Wing as my next pair of boots.)

The Aussie style is great, but a very different look -- I have Rossis, still made in Oz while Blunnies are outsourced.
posted by holgate at 7:45 PM on May 27, 2009

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