A trailblazer in the world of exquisite leather footwear, R.M.Williams has been gracing the feet of discerning men and women for nearly a century. Easy on the eye and even easier on the feet, leather boots stand the test of time, fusing locally sourced and premium fabrics with meticulous craftsmanship. It’s no wonder they’re loved by everyone from the fashion cognoscenti to some of Hollywood’s best-loved actors — the brand counts Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig and Cillian Murphy in its lineup of fans.
As the world shifts towards more sustainable shopping habits, the appeal of a pair of leather boots to outlast the archives has soared to the top of our radars. Before you take the plunge and get a pair of your own, you may be wondering: How comfortable are R.M.Williams boots? What are the most popular styles? Are they made in Australia? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the brand, as well as our handy tips on how to take the best care of your R.M.Williams boots.
Reginald Murray Williams launched R.M.Williams in Adelaide, Australia, in 1932. Originally built to take on the rugged, merciless Australian Outback, Williams handcrafted timeless, clean boots from a single strip of leather — a signature technique the brand still upholds to this day. Word spread of the second-to-none artisanship and superior quality of Williams’ boots and he soon had a booming mail order business, supplying Aussies far and wide with the durable footwear they needed for work. From its humble beginnings in the south Australian bush, growing demand for R.M.Williams boots soon called for Williams to open his bustling workshop in 1935.
Purposefully built, handmade shoes are the order of the day from the get-go, with the brand expanding to include leather accessories and clothing in its offering in the 1940s and ‘50s. In 1966, R.M.Williams’ iconic Craftsman boot was born. Complete with its sleek profile and chisel square toe, the Comfort Craftsman in black is now also the official workboot of the Australian Army. With both feet firmly rooted in Australia, R.M.Williams gained international attention for its exquisite shoes, and in 1989 the first London store opened.
Leaving behind an incredible legacy and strong company values, Reginald Murray Williams passed away in 2003. The brand is now owned by Tattarang, a wholly Australian company with authentic Outback roots. Committed to ensuring the Australian craftsmanship of R.M.Williams continues to be loved and worn all around the world, Tattarang strives to uphold the core values of the R.M.Williams DNA: heritage, tradition and timelessness. 2022 marks the 90th anniversary of the storied brand.
When it comes to R.M.Williams shoes, every detail is considered. Championing heritage craft, R.M.Williams continue to create boots the way they know would make founder Reginald Murray Williams proud. Since the brand’s beginnings, each pair of shoes has been exceptionally well-made by hand. When it comes to leathers, each hide is carefully examined for premium quality and natural character — a process that can only be done efficiently by humans, rather than machines.
Each boot starts as a single piece of the finest quality leather before 80 sets of hands shape it into an Australian icon. The brand’s artisans undergo multiple processes on a single pair of boots, from ‘Clicking’ the premium leathers using a sharp steel blade and exceptional precision to twin-needle stitching the uppers for a characterful silhouette. The smooth skin of the leather sole is finely sanded before the signature red-gum stain is applied by hand and the sole is stamped in gold with the brand’s cursive script and iconic Longhorn logo.
To this day, R.M.Williams provides in-depth training for its craftspeople, introducing new innovative techniques and offering new elements to their trade. The brand’s relatively new process of hand burnishing was taught to the team by an Italian footwear expert. This technique brings out the true characteristics of leather by patiently buffing and polishing the hide in order to coax out the rich colours, creating boots that are as unique as the landscape that helped to shape them.
The crème de la crème of the R.M.Williams repertoire, the Craftsman boot has been a staple since it launched in 1966. The Craftsman features a classic chisel-square toe with soft toe cap, flat block leather heel, the iconic RMW tugs and elastic sides. R.M.Williams Craftsman suede boots are handcrafted from fine suede that’s tough enough to make a long-lasting pair of boots, but soft and supple enough to guarantee comfort and durability. Suede also has a more porous finish which holds dye well, meaning more intense colour saturation.
R.M.Williams Boots: Craftsman Yearling
Handcrafted by skilled artisans, the Craftsman boot in yearling is another variation from the bestselling Craftsman boot family. Made from yearling cowhide, a versatile fine-grained leather from yearling-aged cattle, these shoes are supple and durable. The real awe-factor is in the shoe’s construction. Its traditional heritage leather sole is attached through a welt process — stitched to the boot through a strip of leather running along the edge of the sole. This ‘Goodyear’ welt construction is the world’s best technique in order to make soles waterproof, strong and flexible.
A heavyweight workwear style, the R.M.Williams Lachlan boot is crafted from one piece of Vesta leather and features a non-slip treaded rubber sole. With a chisel square toe and flat heel, it has a refined silhouette with ‘Goodyear’ welt construction to make its soles waterproof, strong and flexible. The shoe is finished with a matte water repellent for extended durability.
How do R.M.Williams Boots fit?
It’s important your boots fit well for optimum comfort and support. A bad fit can also affect the durability of the shoe. If you’ve got the correct fit, your feet should feel instantly comfortable inside the boot — there’s no need to have to ‘wear them in’. R.M.Williams boots are based on UK sizing. In general, boots tend to come up large, but for the best fit you can measure your feet using the handy guide below.
Step 1: Find your size
Measure your foot length. The easiest way to do this is by standing on a piece of paper and marking the tip of your big toe and base of your heel on the sheet with a marker pen. Be sure to evenly distribute your weight when taking your measurements. We also advise wearing a pair of socks that you intend to wear with the boots to get the most accurate result.
Note: We advise measuring both feet as these can sometimes differ in size!
Step 2: Find your width fitting
Measure around your joint (the widest part of your foot) and correlate your measurement with the size chart below. It’s important to select a fitting as close to your measurement for optimum comfort. The width fitting for men’s boots range from F-H, where F is narrow and H is wide.
How to look after your R.M.Williams boots
How to protect and clean suede boots:
- Prior to wear, spray R.M.Williams Suede Protector in one direction, onto clean footwear from 20cm away.
- Allow your boots to dry naturally, avoiding direct heat (e.g. hairdryers).
- Spraying in the opposite direction, repeat this protection process 3 times for the best results.
- Gently brush the suede with a specialised suede brush.
- Spray Suede Cleaner onto a clean cloth or sponge and work the cleaner in a circular motion onto the surface of your boot.
- Dab your shoes with a clean towel to remove any excess moisture and leave them to dry naturally, avoiding direct heat.
- Once your boots are dry, brush the nap with a suede brush to remove marks. It can be hard to get every mark out of suede — think of any remaining marks as a little extra character to your boots.
- Re-apply R.M.Williams Suede Protector using the same method above.
Note: If you get wet mud on your suede boots, let it fully dry first. Then brush gently using a specialised suede brush.
How to protect and clean leather boots:
- Wipe the uppers with a damp cloth to remove mud, dirt, dust or salt.
- Apply R.M.Williams Leather Cleaner directly and evenly onto any excessive marks in the leather.
- Rub the cleaner evenly over the surface with a damp cloth until clean.
- Remove any excess cleaner with a dry, clean cloth.
- Apply R.M.Williams Leather Conditioner evenly to finished leathers with a clean cloth or hands.
- Allow the conditioner to penetrate for approximately one hour (15 minutes only for oilier leathers like Vesta leather).
Note: Be careful not to over condition the uppers — leather needs to breathe. If you clean your boots every week, do not use conditioner each time (we recommend using conditioner every 2-3 months, depending on use).
Note: Do not use Stockman’s Boot Polish on vesta or greasy kip or oily leathers, as it drastically changes the appearance of the boots
- Apply R.M.Williams Stockman’s Boot Polish to finished leathers with a clean cloth or brush and rub it in well.
- Allow the polish to rest on the surface and penetrate the leather for a minute.
- Buff the leather briskly with a shoe shine brush and finish with a buffing cloth to obtain a high shine.
Note: No need to polish oily leathers like Vesta, we recommend polishing your boots if they’re constructed of finished leathers. These include Yearling, Veal Calf, Willow, Kangaroo Black and Chestnut, Ostrich Black, Crocodile.
Note: If your boots are badly scuffed, you’ll get the best results if you leave the polish on the uppers overnight. This ensures the pigment is absorbed into the leather.