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Service Boot Guide

Military inspired and versatile, service boots are a great option for Men looking to upgrade their wardrobe. While these boots are no longer just meant for the troops, they are still designed with toughness in mind and a uniform-ready minimal aesthetic. Service boots are built to last a long time and look better with age.

Classic styles are usually about 6-7 inches in height with curvy heel areas and toe boxes. More contemporary styles feature a slim toe box (as shown in the Viberg Service Boots in the featured image) as opposed to the usually bulbous toe boxes found in classic service boot styles.

Service Boot Characteristics

  • smoothout or dubbed roughout leather
  • Goodyear Welt or Stitchdown construction
  • hard wearing leather or rubber soles with visible stitching
  • plain toe or cap toes are both common and sometimes with minimal broguing on the toe
  • metal eyelets or speed hooks with leather, composite, or waxed cotton laces

Manufacturers by Budget


Chippewa

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Chippewa Service boot
  • $150 – $300 USD
  • Made in the USA.
  • Chippewa makes a quality goodyear welted service boot at a very reasonable price point. The full grain leather on Chippewa Service Boots shows more depth and is more supple than their standard Apache model but this comes at a cost. More cost conscious shoppers can find that model for around $100 less. The Vibram cork outsole will withstand pretty much everything you can throw at it and the brass eyelets offer an interesting contrast against the smoothout and suede leather options. Be careful with inspecting the particular pair you receive as some issues with leather creasing have been noted although usually in the cheaper model.
  • Recommended for: Entry-level boot shoppers. Makes a great first quality boot purchase.
  • Available at:

Wolverine 1000 Mile

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Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots courtesy of Hypebeast
  • ~$250 USD
  • Made in the USA.
  • Oft-recommended American workwear bootmaker. Particularly well known for 1000 Mile range. Decent aesthetic with questionable QC. Many examples have been subject to poor creasing. Viable at relatively regular sale prices.
  • Recommended for: Entry-level boot purchasers. Look out for these boots during sales.
  • Available at:

Red Wing

Red Wing Beckman
  • $300 – $350 USD
  • Made in the USA.
  • Well known work boot maker Red Wing offers a few US made service boots in its line-up. The Beckman and Iron Ranger models offer more premium leather and a higher quality of construction than nearly all boots beneath their price. With the classic bulbous toe and available in thick leather options, these boots will last you a long time. When it comes time to resole these boots, Red Wing themselves offer a service to breath new life into your tired soles.
  • Recommended for: Mid-level boot purchasers.
  • Beckman available at:
  • Iron Ranger available at:

Allen Edmonds

Allen Edmonds Normandy Boot
  • $350 USD
  • Made in the USA.
  • Renowned American dress shoe manufacturer Allen Edmonds released its rendition of the World War 2 Service boot, the Normandy. With a look similar to the popular Red Wing Iron Ranger, this AE boot comes standard in a stellar Kudu leather. After a much needed lace swap, these boots contend for the best looking boot in their price range. The Normandy boot also comes with some artificial pre-distressing which really could be left off. The black kudu version of the Normandy boot looks especially sleek.
  • Recommended for: Mid-level boot purchasers. Look out for these boots during sales.
  • Available at:

Oak Street Bootmakers

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  • ~$400 USD, manufactured in USA
  • OSB
  • Recommended for: Mid-high level boot buyers.
  • Available at:
    • Oak Street Bootmakers

Dayton

  • ~$400 USD, manufactured in Canada
  • By virtue of the terrible Canadian dollar, Dayton finds themselves as a tier 2 maker. High quality, made-to-order work boots. Highly renowned for their charcoal nubuck options. Small operation means exceedingly long wait times though in certain cases. Exceptionally good value right now.
  • Recommended for: Experienced Boot Buyers
  • Available at:
    • Dayton

Truman

  • ~$450 USD, manufactured in USA
  • Truman make attractive, slim-profiled, MTO workboots out of a small operation in the US. Utilises stitchdown construction. Really wide variety of leathers and customisable options available. Management (AKA Vince) is fantastic. Very well reviewed, reasonable prices, and respectable wait times for MTO (4-8 weeks).
  • Recommended for: Experienced Boot Buyers
  • Available at:
    • Truman

 


Alden

  • ~$600 USD
  • Made in the USA.
  • Recommended for: Experienced Boot Buyers
  • Available at:
      • Dayton

 


Viberg

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  • ~$720 USD
  • Made in Canada.
  • Probably one of the best known high-end brands around here, Viberg make high quality workboots out of Victoria, Canada. Prized for their slim toe boxes, attractive styles and lasts, interesting and varied use of leathers, and unique collaborations. It’s difficult to go wrong with a pair. Expect new releases to sell out fast, and rarely go on sale. Recently started using GYW construction alongside stitchdown options.
  • Recommended for: Very Experienced Boot Buyers
  • Available at:
    • Viberg