Let’s get one thing straight: boots are good. I am in no way critical or contemptuous of the good men that choose to wear them. For they are robust, and weatherproof, and make us feel like we’re in the misleadingly cheerful conscription adverts of WWII with our smiling faces and shiny, shiny leather shitkickers. But that whole sect of menswear– the classic, olde worlde “oi mista, that’s farv’ shillins” thing – just isn’t my thing. I’d rather be in the Eighties. Or Blade Runner. Or dressed for a suspiciously lucrative property sale in downtown Miami (cash only, of course).
That means my boot options are lacking. Laced-up beauties, with their intricate broguing, don’t sit so well with my other Nice Things. I looked weird in Chelsea boots. And often, options on the left-field are just a bit, well, much. I’m all for a touch of futurism, but still not cool (or confident) enough to effectively don knee-high black boots made of a monster truck tyre. I opted out. You can’t have everything.
But you can! You can have everything! Almost, anyway. And for that I can thank A-Cold-Wall’s latest collab with big bad bootmaker supreme Dr Martens: the 1406. As part of the wider Remastered series, which sees ascendant designers remould the classic silhouette for its 60th anniversary, this is, unequivocally, a workers boot. Though instead of munitions factory boot in 1943, this is any given worker’s boot in 1984 (the Orwell sort), just without the constant threat of arrest for having a good think on a Sunday afternoon.
It’s also very in-keeping with what A-Cold-Wall does best. First launched in 2015 by Virgil Abloh protégé Samuel Ross, the London-based outfit focuses on workwear classics with a functional, almost dystopian edge. Suits are deconstructed, and buttressed with pockets and paint splatters and parachute-like materials. It’s enduring, too: not a sportswear flash in the pan during the Age of Hype, but one that earns the nomination of the prestigious LVMH designer’s prize in 2018, and grail-like status in menswear-y circles.
All of that lends itself well to the collab in question. The solid boot is angular, panelled with uncompromising leather that juts out to the front in lieu of traditional eyelets. A zipper closure is more practical than laces, and yet courts unorthodoxy – but it does so very quietly. This is no ‘traditional’ boot, but it’s not wildly untraditional either: simply the standard issue of the not-so-distant future.
Speaking of the crossover, Ross says that “the 1460 is placed right in the middle of 20th Century cultural crosshairs. It’s incredible.” And by remaking a staple in his own image, he’s also pushed it into the 22nd Century, too – and onto my feet.
Available to pre-order online now at a-cold-wall.com priced £229, with wider release on 25 July at drmartens.com and select stockists
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