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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Review: The Fred Boot from Grenson - 8 Years of Solid, Stylish Service and Still Going Strong!!

It's always great to read a review from some just received a great new product and they are in the first blush of excitement about their newly arrived item.  This will not be one of those reviews.  Not because I am not excited about my Fred boots from Grenson, nothing could be further from the truth.  My excitement, however, stems from a relationship that is deeper and more long term.  Having owned and worn these fine brogue boots for 8 years, I can say without question, that they are built for the long haul.  8 years of walking through city streets, country lanes, muddy parks and rugged, rocky mountain trials (and even the odd tree climb) they have proven that in spades.  I can't actually remember what I had paid for these boots back in 2010 when I purchased them from Pediwear, but whatever it was, I've more than gotten my money's worth.  They've kept me on my feet and looking stylish for all that time.  As any lover of traditional man's style, especially anyone who's as obsessed with tweed as I am, a great pair of brogues... well 'love and marriage, horse and carriage' come to mind.  If only 'Brogue' and 'Tweed' were easier to rhyme.

Grenson is a storied footwear brand that was founded way back in 1866 by William Green.  Grenson is famous was one of the first factories in the World to use the Goodyear Welted method of shoemaking.  Obviously, they have some pretty deep institutional knowledge about how to build shoes and boots right.  Building boots for British soldiers in both the Great War and in WWII, when durability can truly make the difference between life and death, Grenson boots have proven their metal a million times over.  Thankfully, I've never had the need to put mine through the rigors of battle, but I have little doubt I could march a hundred miles in them if need be. NapolĂ©on Bonaparte was reputed to have said that 'an army marches on its stomach', which is certainly true, but my retort would be 'Not without stout boots they don't, shorty'.  Read the full story of Grenson's Heritage.

Of course, I'm pretty fastidious about taking good care of my shoes: I clean an polish then after every adventure in the mud and muck, and buff them off after every day's wear.  I give them a couple of good coats of wax regularly and of course use a high quality wooden shoe trees always (I recommend cedar for the smell that it imparts).  I don't keep any of my shoes with a mirror finish, as I personally like a good satin wax finish, with not too much shine.  Of course one can get pretty fancy with shoe care these days, what with creams, conditioners, and polishes, but to my thinking,  if you wax them on a regular basis, the leather will be just fine.  I like Kiwi Parade Gloss Prestige by the way, because it's got a Carnauba wax base, and offers enough shine and water protection without making a fetish of the whole thing.  I have been known to treat them once per year or so with a coat of Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP, but otherwise, I just keep them polished with a few coats of wax.  I do like to give the toes and heal a good burnish with darker contrasting brown and black wax, which I think sets these tan boots up well.  I think they're quite fetching even after all these years.  

These Fred's came from the factory with slick leather soles which were fine in California, but were downright hazardous here in Germany, between all the rain and snow, I thought it best to have my local cobbler add some rubber lug soles and he's done a beautiful job of incorporating these and making them look great.  This is something I recommend for anyone who lives in a climate with a lot of wet weather.  Leather soles are not going to be happy with too much water exposure so I will have my cobbler add rubber non-slip pads (if this more of a dress shoe or lugs if they're for more rugged pursuits).  Do this and take good care of the uppers as previously stated, and your shoes will essentially last forever.  As you can see, after 7 years, these lug soles are wearing down a bit, and I will probably have them replace in a couple of years.

Please also bear in mind that while I have these in my regular rotation, I've got probably 20 pairs of shoes,  and so as a result, none of them see more that 2-3 weeks of total wear throughout the year.  Lastly, I don't often wear the same pair of shoes for more that 2 days in a row unless I'm traveling with them.  Remember, moisture will kill a good pair of shoes from the inside too and if you wear them every day for weeks or months you shoe with die a sad, miserable,  relatively quick (and soggy) death.  After 8 years of happy and regular wear, I have no doubt that, these Fred boots from Grenson have got many multiples of that still ahead of them!



  1. Excellent review. I wear these too and like yourself battled with the leather sole in the wet weather (here in the uk) until making the decision to have the rubber fitted. I juggle my fred’s With my loake ‘wolf’s’. Especially good in the winter with the warm sheepskin lining and the tough dainite sole. The patina pn both of these boots are second to none, so much character defined by the life I’ve led whilst wearing them. Coming from Northampton home of loake, grenson, Jeffrey west, cheany, trickers and many more distinguished cobblers I feel privileged and somewhat classey sliding into my boots, I’ve always loved the comments and looks recieved. For a man in his mid 40’s it’s not often I find myself thinking I’m looking good however I do when I wear these. On a separate note I also love my redwing iron ranger. The shape and style of these are timeless. Their heritage also makes me comfortable thinking I’m wearing hardworking quality boots. They look amazing in amber harness 4 years on.

  2. Ive been looking at some Iron rangers for a while too. I've had just hesitated a) because I've got so many pairs of boots and b) because until recently, they have only made them with the smooth cork sole, which are a hazard on ice anb snow.


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