Has R.M. Williams Torpedoed Their Heritage with Their Latest Release?

RMW have released a rather bold looking new boot.

It’s been dividing the community, and with good reason. Anything that departs from a brand’s norm like this has, is bound to cause division.

However, a closer look at the new Yard Boot does reveal some concerning directions taken by the company.

Deconstructing the Design

The aesthetic of the new release is as divisive as the speculations surrounding the quality, but I don’t mind it. I can see it being an interesting choice for pairing with jeans or chinos, but I don’t see it being able to dress further up than that.

Which – compared to a long standing RMW design like the Craftsman – is a step down in terms of versatility. I’ve seen Craftsman boots with everything from workwear to jacket and tie ensembles.

A look at the presentation of the new Yard Boot lineup and design choices lead me to suspect that this new design has taken much influence from the sock sneaker trend in streetwear.

The sole is decidedly sneaker-esque as well, as shown in the next section.

A Step Down in Quality?

A closer look at the new design’s rubber sole is where the concerns begin to surface:

Ever since their inception, RMW chelsea boots have been Goodyear welted, a resolable form of construction that allows the boot to last as long as the leather is cared for.

However, this new boot is clearly of cemented construction; casting it as a short-lived fast fashion item. This giant leap downwards in quality is not a good sign for the brand and has certainly tarnished the brand’s image in the mind of footwear quality enthusiasts.

I’m not too sure about the tread pattern of the new sole either, or how it would perform on wet surfaces. It certainly seems to echo the Yard Boot webpage’s copy which heavily implies that it’s a boot designed purely for office workers.

Personally I think it is not a wise move to cheapen the quality of manufacturing techniques to produce a product that appears to be a cross between a Common Projects chelsea boot and an adidas Ultraboost sneaker, regardless of the appeal that may be fostered among young and trendy consumers. Especially when you see the price…

Would you pay $445 for a pair?

Word on the street seems to amount to a resounding ‘no’. I have to say I’m among that crowd.

That’s all for today!

What do you think of the new RMW boot? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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