Wilcox Boots: Review

While surfing the web one day, I stumbled upon a website for Wilcox Boots. Marketed as “the most comfortable boot in a classic design” and a video/image of a guy wearing them while riding a motorcycle caught my attention.

So after reading more about the boots, I decided…

…to order myself a pair and try them out.

The boots are designed by a millennial-generation guy who is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. He says on his introductory video that he wanted to build boots “with a classic design that are truly comfortable.” He says a lot more — somewhat borderline misleading: “classic leather boots are rarely comfortable; comfortable boots are rarely stylish.”

I beg to differ that classic leather boots are not comfortable — my Chippewa Firefighters are THE most comfortable classic leather boots I have ever worn (and continue to wear.) And I wouldn’t say that a plain boot like this is “stylish.” In my opinion, it is functional. But style is in the eye of the beholder.

When compared with Red Wing boots and Wolverine “1000 mile” boots, both of which are now made in China, Wilcox boots of the same basic functional design as these old standards are indeed much more comfortable and better made with well-sourced leathers, double stitching, and Goodyear welted soles. I personally prefer boots made in Mexico much more than boots made in China with low quality materials and sloppy standards (if any) of production.

I commend Wilcox Boots for keeping its line focused on only two styles and two colors. With a limited production run, they should be able to fulfill orders and avoid long periods of “stockouts”.

Wilcox boots are made in the bootmaking capital of the world: Leon, Mexico. Like some other start-up bootmakers like Tecovas, it is easier to find surplus availability of bootmakers in Leon, and there is a lot of skill and experience there. So it makes sense for the young owner of Wilcox Boots to work with a bootmaker there to complete the design and produce the product: good quality, well-made, general-purpose entry-level knock-around boots.

I call Wilcox Boots “general-purpose” because they are just basic classic lace-up super-short boots. They are 5 inches (12.7cm) from where the foot meets the heel and the top of the boot. The heel is 1.25 inches (3.175cm) high.

The boots are suitable for wearing when knocking about like on a hike, but not for use while riding a motorcycle. The waffle tread is glued on to a leather sole, and the tread & sole are not oil-resistant. Further, the Wilcox Boots website itself warns, “not intended for use on construction job sites,” probably because the sole is thin and the boots do not meet any ANSI safety standards. I personally classify them as “work boots” because they do not fit my other categories (cowboy boots, dress boots, or motorcycle boots.)

I also call them decent “entry-level knock-around” boots because their price point is (at the time I am writing this post) US$160 (plus a shipping fee of $15). Wilcox boots can be priced that low because of short-cuts in materials (that is, thin tread half-soles and not oil-resistant Vibram soles) and overall less leather. Also, the labor cost in Mexico is low. That’s another reason why the price is lower than it would be if they were made in the USA.

The boots are short (see above) and rather thin. They scuff very easily (see photo of my scuffed boots after wearing them to work in an office for just one day.) Don’t get me wrong — they are “okay” and a value for what you get, but they are not at the level of a higher-end work boot such as loggers or firefighters as made by Chippewa.

Overall, I am pleased with these boots. They are indeed well-made and comfortable because they have a Poron foam footbed and a leather mid-sole. They won’t last a lifetime like the premium work boots made by Whites or Wesco, but one would not expect that.

Life is short: know what you are getting into when you buy boots.

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