Balmoral (dress) boots are not the most common sight on the streets. But still it is time to give a little more attention to this elegant and smart shoe type. If you wear a suit to work on daily basis, I suggest to have at least a pair of dress boots in your rotation.
I start the reviews of fall and winter boots from the formal end of the range. I personally have two pairs at the moment. One pair made of brown calf leather by Grenson and one twot-tone pair made of espresso calf and purple suede by Alfred Sargent.
Balmoral boots in a nutshell
The history of balmoral boots goes all the way back to the Victorian era. The model was originally designed for prince Albert as a walking boot. He needed a shoe that would be appropriate to wear both outdoors and indoors.
The term balmoral or “bal” originally refers to a shoe with closed lacing. The most formal of all balmoral shoes, the oxford is sometimes also called as “balmoral oxford”. Especially in the USA. So balmoral boots can simply be described as oxford shoes in the form of boots. They can come with a plain toe, cap-toe or with a different kind of brogueing such as small medallions. Balmoral boots are at their best when made for a bit more sleek and slender last.
In terms of materials it is nowadays common to have the boots two-toned. That means the top part and bottom uppers of the shoe are made of different materials. Usually the top part is made of grain leather, suede or even some cloth such as linen or tweed. The bottom uppers are usually made of calf leather.
How to wear balmoral boots?
Balmoral boots are a good choice for fall and winter. During summer they can look a bit out of place as well as be too hot to wear. In general you can wear these kind of boots in the same way than you wear your basic oxfords. In fact, while standing up, they pretty much give the look like any other pair of oxford dress shoes. Only when you’re sitting down or if you pull up your cuffs, other people will realize them to be boots.
In my opinion balmoral boots work best when worn with a nicely fitted wool or flannel suit. However there are multiple models that are suitable to be combined with odd trousers as well. Here are three different combinations to try out:
- Navy blue wool suit, light gray merino wool roll neck sweater and brown two-tone calf leather boots
- Dark gray herringbone wool suit, white oxford shirt, gray wool tie and black calf leather boots
- Camel colored shawl collar cardigan, striped button-down shirt, gray flannel slacks and oxblood two-tone calf leather x suede boots
Sum up – 5x balmoral boots
Multiple makers have balmoral boots in their selection nowadays. In terms of price level there are makers such as Meermin and Scarosso who offer boots even for guys working with a more limited budget. Then there are makers such as Edward Green or John Lobb that will make you beautiful made-to-order boots – in case the money is no problem.
Below you will find five different models to choose your favorite.
Gaziano & Girling is one the finest footwear makers in the world. The wigmore model is usually available only through mto-orders or specific specs made for certain retailers.
2) Carmina black calf
This is a pair to wear for serious business. And thanks to the dainite rubber sole it is a pair to wear even in rough and rainy weather. Made of black calf by Spanish Carmina on their semi-rounded Forest last.
3) Meermin – two-tone
Another Spanish maker Meermin offers a pair of two-tone boots made of antique oak calf and brown country calf grain shaft. If you are looking for balmoral boots that you can wear even for a bit more casual occasions, this might be your choice.
Made by AS for Herring Shoes by their specs Holmes two is a classic two-tone balmoral boot. Brown suede with brown calf is a combination that can be used in most of occasion and also be paired with multiple color such as grey, blue and shades of brown.
5) Septiéme Largeur
French brand Septiéme Largeur offers another more affordable option in this category. Simple and plain model featuring burgundy calf and black suede is a choice worth of consideration especially for those looking for a balmoral boot on a budget.
Original post from September 2013. Post updated 31.8.2016.