With the season changing at what feels like a frenetic pace, autumn is now truly here, and we can now return our winter-conquering boots in all their guises back into rotation and, in the process, reap the rewards. With that said, we wanted to present you with a new Journal article that details what we have on offer this season at The Hand.
Before we get into it, it's worth mapping out the key components a winter boot requires, and who better to do that than our co-founder Dennis. "First and foremost, they have to be Goodyear-welted," he says, as it not only ensures the boot can be repaired time after time, but the welt helps discourage water from seeping inside. "Then, the boots need to be housed on either a sturdy rubber or double leather sole and preferably made from thick, soft and structured leather," he adds. Both of those latter elements provide durability and comfort underfoot and throughout the entire boot. "With those set in place, you'll be ready to cope with anything the weather Gods are throwing at you."
Boots come in many different shapes and sizes and exist along the sliding scale of formality, which is why they're such a fascinating category within menswear. Furthermore, many also stem from the military, which imbues them with heritage and predetermined quality. Edward Green's Galway field boot is a sterling example of this as it's the same design (albeit slightly modernised) the company used to manufacture for military officers back in its formative years. Crafted on the rounded 202 or contemporary 82 last, it's available in walnut country calf, dark brown Utah and rosewood country calf.
Similar designs from Gaziano & Girling include the Urban Commando boot, which has an Art-Deco-inspired shape, chunky Vibram rubber sole and criollo patina which plays with the light. The Thorpe is another notable model. Crafted on the MH71 last using a gorgeous rioja hatch grain leather, the boot features a hand-sewn split toe which is an artisanal detail that exudes excellence. "Gaziano & Girling's design language is more formal than Edward Green's due to them preferring sleeker and longer lines, so they can be easily dressed up and worn with business suiting," says Dennis.
Whilst the Chelsea boot doesn't have any military connotations, it's still steeped in cultural history – they became part of the look of the UK Mod scene in the 1960s and have been a classic ever since. Characterised by elastic panelling on the shaft, they're clean, sleek, and eminently versatile, with being able to look fantastic with everything from formal tailoring to vintage denim jeans. We've always been fond of Gaziano & Girling's Burnham model, which is made from dark brown suede, as it has a slight rock n roll edge thanks to the chiselled toe. A new favourite is Edward Green's Govan boot, which is made from a dark brown waxed suede which gives it a rugged aesthetic – just like a waxed cotton Barbour jacket, these Chelsea boots will provide added protection in wet weather.
Similar to the Chelsea boot is the Jodphur boot, developed for polo players in the early 20th century in India. The attractive quality of a Jodphur is the decorative wrapping of leather that comes around the shaft and the small addition of a buckle, which gives them a sense of glamour and sophistication whilst also being a 'performance' boot. We have two models from Gaziano & Girling called the London Boot, available in vintage cedar leather and sandstone suede.
The Chukka boot has long been a favourite among menswear enthusiasts – it's durable, clean in its design and aesthetic, and can be made using a wide range of leathers and suedes. We've recently taken delivery of Norman Vilalta's Robert Chukka boot, which is exclusive to The Hand and crafted by hand in Barcelona, Spain, using a supple and butter-soft dark brown suede. With a two-eyelet lace system and a chiselled toe, it's striking and sharp with a more urban than a rural look that Dennis thinks is perfect for "a casual yet stylish weekend in the city."
Elsewhere, we have a few Chukka boots from Edward Green, and the Lanark is the newest addition to the collection. Like the Govan mentioned earlier, it's made from a rustic brown waxed suede, which will display signs of age and adventure beautifully, with a durable Dainite rubber sole. The Shanklin, available in mocca and mushroom suede on the 82 and a thin rubber sole, is a little more formal than the Lanark, but would be a great go-to for casual weekends roaming around the city wearing denim, chinos and corduroys.
We hope this Journal serves as a small overview of our collection, and as always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.