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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.”



13 Responses to Holy Crap: Sean And GQ Agree

  1. Dave says:

    My kind of boots 😉

  2. Jim K. says:

    Along these lines, I’d be curious what work boots people have worn and been happy with as I’m in the market for a new pair (my current pair has finally given up the ghost). I’ve tried a few different brands over the years and to date my favorites have been a pair of red wing 8″ lace up steel toes. Looks like they don’t make the exact style any more but they were essentially the same as these: http://www.redwingshoes.com/productdetails.aspx?prodid=1969

  3. PutnamEco says:

    Jim K. Says:
    I’d be curious what work boots people have worn and been happy with
    Can’t go wrong with Red Wings or White’s. Red Wings if your watching your budget or White’s if you want that hand fit.
    For Red Wings I like their 2218 loggers and 4406 for construction type jobs as for the White’s, their smoke jumpers are great for spending the day working in the woods.

  4. Byron Williams says:

    I am a redwing man through and through. I’m on my 6th pair from over the years. I usually got a year out of them when I worked on the plant floor in some really rough conditions for boots. the boot oil seals them well. My favorite style is this http://www.redwingshoes.com/productdetails.aspx?prodid=1061

    I can’t do steel toe since my foot is so wide they kill me. I have not needed them in my work either. I’ve tried several other brands and even tried the redwing pull ons, but lace ups for me. They are very nice boots.

  5. browndog77 says:

    Always a fan of Redwing boots, I too am in the market for a new pair of almost everyday work shoes. They have gotten pretty pricey in the last few years, but are one of the few remaining American made footwear products out there. I have had good luck with the Timberland Pros I currently wear, and the economy may force me to go that route again.

  6. Rob says:

    I’ll echo browndog and say that I really like my Redwings, and my Timberland Pro’s. The only problem with them is they are pretty heavy so if you do alot of walking, you may want to look at the lighter models (I have the 10″ RW’s and the Steel Toe Timberlands).

  7. DC says:

    I wore redwings for a decade and they’re definitely a good option, but have switched to Ariat after my uncle turned me on to them. The footbed/sole is more comfortable than the redwings. Unfortunately not US made (reflected by price).

  8. fritzgorbach says:

    I have two pairs of timberland pros, two and three years old, both from sears, and a pair of redwings ‘custom fit’ from their local store. The redwings were slightly more comfortable at the start, and twice as much money.
    The timberlands are both still going strong though, and in less than a year the soles split in half on the redwings. I alternate between three pairs of boots, so they each see the saw the same amount of wear, but the $250 pair of redwings now live under the seat of my work truck for spares, while the timberlands still serve me well daily.

  9. paganwonder says:

    US Army Jungle Boots- good price in surplus store, light weight, good tread. Besides, it’s fun to tuck in your pant cuffs just for old time sake! (I seriously think I walk taller when I walk in jungle boots- some things just stick with you I guess)

  10. My Bates steel-toed durashocks are awesome. They were $35 on sale at LA Police Gear. My wife wore the hell out of her Bates when she was an EMT and they’re still looking fine YEARS later.

  11. Jasony says:

    I was a wilderness guide for five years in Colorado and put many miles on my boots while carrying a heavy load. When it came time to replace my shoes I bought a pair of Asolo boots and stuck some Superfeet insoles into them. Don’t do much backpacking any more, but I do have a concrete floor in my garage shop. After getting these boots (and the insoles), my back stop hurting after 10 hours in the shop. I’ve worn the soles down to smooth rubber and probably should get another pair (been wearing them every single day for the last three year). At $175, they’re spendy, but since I have hundreds of miles on them, and my back doesn’t hurt any more, I consider it $$ well spent.

  12. Bob in IL says:

    I have been wearing Thorogood American Heritage Wedge 6″ Moc Toe boots and the Work & Sport version they make for Farm & Fleet for 15 years or more.

    I’ve owned several pairs and walked over 2 miles/day on asphalt roads for the past 8 years in them. The Vibram neoprene sole and padded insole make this boot super comfortable. When the outer sole wears down, I have the local shoe repair guy resole them.

    They are made in Wisconsin by parent company Weinbrenner USA. I bought most of them locally, though I purchased the last pair over the Internet for less than $120.

  13. william coffey says:

    i tried several pair of mason’s and red wing boots/shoes over the years and i could never get the “feel” i was looking for. i then tried a pair of the wolverine durashocks and was sold. even after a couple of years
    a new pair of insoles would bring them right back to the proper fit and feel.
    working in a bodyshop was tough on boot/shoes because of the concrete floors, cutting, welding and the weekly soaking when hosing down the shop. plus here in michigan we have everything from snow and slush to 100 degree days in the summer.
    there may be better boots out there but the durashocks did everything i asked them and at a price just shy of having stickershock. plus they offer a wider range of styles than i could find at some of the specialty stores

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