So admittedly Toolmonger’s own Sean O’Hara isn’t exactly recognized as a world-class sartorialist, despite the fact that he owns more than one suit and that most TM staffers agree that he “cleans up pretty well.” But savor this rare moment: GQ — yes, that GQ — agrees with something he’s been banging our ears off about for years. On page 64 of the November issue — the first page of their GQ winter survival guide — they recommend “Start from the bottom: lace up in a classic American work boot.”
Of course, Sean’s been wearing work boots as work, casual, semi-formal, and formal footwear ever since I’ve known him. Remember when we tore a building down with Stanley tool-tester extraordinaire Jimmy Addison a while back? Watch that vid closely and you’ll see Sean wearing a pair of cheap-ass no-name black work boots. After a full day of hammering in a dirt-floored barn and demolishing the building, he wiped down the boots and wore ’em to dinner — then wore ’em with wool pants to a business meeting the next day.
He retired those chunkers in favor of his current boots, pictured above: some Wolverines he wore for a week to test for you. Obviously Wolverine didn’t want them returned after he wore ’em. So if you run into Sean anytime for years to come, I’d expect to see ’em — whatever the occasion.
Seriously, folks, work boots make great footwear. Once worn in, they’re surprisingly comfortable. And they’re practical as hell, protecting your feet and offering non-slip soles that keep you firmly planted in rain or snow. They also look quite good, even with dress clothing.
That said, GQ recommends more spendy fare: the Wolverine 1000 Mile, a $325 replica of Wolverine’s 1914 original release, Timberland’s $180 Abington Guide Boot (whose waxed laces, GQ claims, “made it a favorite of blacksmiths and farmers”), and Red Wing Shoes’ $250 Classic Moc Lug. And the article really only recommends ’em for winter when you might trudge through snow and other hazards to style.
But Sean’s sage stylistic selection gets another plug from GQ Style Guy Glenn O’Brien. In solving a graphic designer’s sartorial conundrum, O’Brien says it’s fine to wear work boots with a suit like “the natty Don Rumsfeld does when he’s invading an inhospitable country.” Sadly Glenn retreats a little by the end of the piece: “If I was heading to an office for the day, chances are I’d pack a pair of soft Belgian Shoes or other comfy shoes to put on when I got there.”