For many years, I have long admired the design and appearance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Strathcona boots, otherwise known as “RCMP High Browns.” For various reasons, I have not gotten myself a pair. I thought the boots were only available to official members of the RCMP, not us boot-wearing and admiring LEO-training supporters. Until February…
…when I was contacted by the Owner of Alberta Boot Company of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to ask if I would consider describing the Strathcona boots that his company makes on the Guide to Motorcycle Patrol Boots that has been a very popular page on my website. I agreed as long as I could order a pair of those boots. Sure, no problem!
We had a very pleasant email exchange and conversation by telephone. I learned a lot about the boots and the Alberta Boot Company as well. When it comes to police boots, the owner said,
Besides the RCMP, we also outfit the Vancouver P.D., Victoria Police, Calgary Police, Ottawa Police, Regina P.D. and several smaller cities and towns. Our biggest customers in the USA are the Dallas Police, McKinney Police, as well as the Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island.
The Alberta Boot Company owner provided these specs for Strathcona boots:
Height: Height depends on the size. Mens size 5-15 in AA to 4E width and Womens 5-11 in widths 4A to D. The stock heights go from 14″ to 18″ depending on size (measured from the top of the heel to the top of the shaft) We also do custom Strathconas in any height the customer would like.
Size: We have such a wide range of sizes because we need to be able to fit every single member of the RCMP Canada wide into the RCMP Boot.
Calf circumference: Just like the height, the calf will vary. For in stock circumference, the boots range from 14 1/2″ to 18″. We also make several custom boots a year with a wide variety of calf circumference. We have made them as small as 12″ and as large as 23″.
Weight of Leather: The Black Strathcona and RCMP High Brown both use a very heavy duty cowhide in a 6.5-8 oz leather (depending on the customer)
Lining: We use a full cowhide lining in all of our boots, but in the Strathconas, it is only in foot as per the RCMP Spec. The lining weight is 2.5-3oz.
Sole: Most Police forces we sell to use a Vibram heavy lug or a double leather sole depending on the duty (motorcycle vs. mounted). We also offer Vibram mini lug and Nitrile ‘V’.
Style: Every Strathcona comes in the Bal-laced style.
Top closure: The vast majority of the boots have the gusset with lacing you see at the top, but we can also custom make the boots with flap/buckle closure.
Every boot we make, from our Police boots to our Western boots are made in our Calgary, AB, Canada factory.
I had measurements taken and sent them to the company with an order for my own bespoke pair of RCMP High Browns in March.
The boots arrived in May. Man, they were gorgeous. But ACKKKK! When I pulled them on with breeches, they didn’t fit. They were much too tight in the legs. Without boot pulls (which I learned are not spec so they are not provided), there was no way I could pull on those boots.
I contacted the Company Owner who was most gracious about the matter. I returned the boots (at my expense) and he had a new pair made for me. He was careful to ask more questions about measurements to make sure that I would get a pair that would fit me.
The second pair arrived in mid-June. At my request, cloth boot pulls were sewn into the shafts, so metal pulls worked to help me pull the boots on my legs. [Aside: I have no idea how real Mounties pull on those boots without boot pulls.]
They fit perfectly… a little tight, but break-in with wear will take care of that. I shined ’em up, and then tried to figure out how to lace them.
The lace for the bal-laced instep provided with the boots is too short, even for an old-fashioned criss-cross lacing (like tennis shoes are laced). I wanted to use a riding boot lacing technique.
In order to use this lacing technique properly, you need even longer laces because the lace crosses under from the bottom to the top as shown in this diagram. I went to a shoe repair shop and found a pair of 72-inch brown boot laces. Perfect!
But I learned a very important lesson. Unlike bal-laced Dehner boots where the instep does not require adjustment (so you can lace the instep and leave it that way), bal-laced Strathcona boots require leaving the laces open (untied) when you pull the boots on, then adjustment (pulling the laces tighter) until you tie a bow in the middle. The opposite is true, too — you have to untie the laces and pull the instep open by loosening the laces before you can pull your foot out of the boot. In my case, my spouse had to pull the boots off. I sure hope with wear and break-in, that I will be able to use a boot jack to remove these boots myself.
Fortunately, the side gusset was pre-laced, so I just tied the laces for calf width adjustment once I pulled the boots on.
I have a pair of midnight blue breeches with yellow side striping like the Mounties wear. The boots look great with the breeches. I wore them for a few hours, then my feet began to ache. Combination of new boots and the footbed having to form to my foot, plus being older and having “harder feet” without as much natural cushion in them. When I wear the boots, the footbed will conform to my feet and discomfort will reduce.
It is possible for boot admirers and “regular people” to order the RCMP High Browns. They’re not cheap, but are exceptionally well-made and well-crafted. And I betcha, no one else in your world has a pair like these!
Life is short: admire and wear world-renowned boots!