I got my hands on a pair of the ‘Brooke’ service boots from this start-up Australian brand.
The Thomas George Collection is the brainchild of James Seaford, owner of the Trimly shoe care brand, whose shoe trees I’ve positively reviewed before. Also on board are friends Ben and Ringo, who are the trifecta of brains behind the brand.
The brand premise is great, and sorely needed in Australia. The offering is a range of goodyear welted shoes made from good quality French calf leather, retailing at affordable prices.
For context, nothing is currently priced higher than $400AUD on the site.
It’s a first here, as we Australians previously had two options, either buying overpriced low quality shoes locally or having to import good ones from overseas.
Buying shoes online is always tricky with sizing, and international ordering just complicates things. However TGC have eliminated the difficulties in online ordering too (see the later section about shipping), which adds an additional appeal to what is already an attractive product offering.
Author’s note: I purchased these boots with my own money, no discount. Rest assured, the opinions and observations contained within are exactly as I wish to put them.
About the Service Boots – Making a Choice
TGC have a choice of two boot styles; Turon, a plain-toe with a Dainite sole, and Brooke, a cap-toe with a leather sole.
I originally wanted the Turon for its rubber sole, but they’d sold out in my size.
This didn’t cause me much issue; I do prefer the look of the cap toe, my feet don’t tend to appreciate walking long distances on Dainite, and it’s not much trouble to have a cobbler install a Topy sole. Consequently, I pulled the trigger on the Brookes.
They’re a gorgeous looking boot. The dark oak dye I chose looked good on the site, but I was pleasantly surprised upon opening the box to see that photos don’t do this colour justice.
Hence my sentence two lines above.
The boots come with waxed flat laces, and the top two eyelets are hooks. I’ve never owned a pair of boots with the hook setup before, and it’s going to take me some time to get used to it. But it looks the goods.
Also included are a pair of good looking shoe bags which feel soft and luxurious, sweetening the offering a touch more.
Construction and Finishing
I’m impressed with the quality of the finishing on these boots, especially given the price point. At the ~$400 mark I’m not going to expect perfection, and a little roughness around the edges would be expected.
However, the finishing is done to a very high standard, with not so much as a stitch out of place.
Just on the looks alone, I think TGC could have gotten away with retailing these boots for at least another couple of hundred dollars if they wanted to, if not more.
The last for these boots is unique to TGC, and was designed based on an Australian Army design. Speaking to Ben from TGC, he mentioned that they had the last custom commissioned in order to better suit the average foot of the Aussie market.
I like that extra little bit of Australian focus there.
The construction is, as mentioned earlier, done via goodyear welt. This allows the shoes to be resoled by a competent cobbler, which fits well with my mentality of wanting to buy things that last many years.
The footbed is made of cork, which molds to the wearer’s foot over time.
The leather sole feels good and sturdy, a contrast to many other shoes at this price point.
Fit, Feel and Wearing
The fit on the TGC boots runs a full size large, and this is mentioned on their website. In my case, I usually wear an EU43 or UK 9, so they suggested I order a UK 8. I did so, and found the fit to be good.
I particularly like that despite the boot being designed to be roomy, the heel is quite sculpted and the fit feels much better for that ankle-hugging fit. It’s not tight by any means, as I don’t like tight fitting shoes, but it’s just the right amount of snugness.
There’s a good amount of room in the forefoot area to allow for the foot to swell from walking, but it’s not so much to make the foot slide around, instead it just feels comfortable.
I have a high instep, and often struggle shopping for shoes and boots in particular. However, these boots have ample room for my high instep and a nice snug fit on the ankle, something I thought was going to be impossible until I broached the realm of made to measure shoes.
These boots are comfortable out of the box, and I was able to wear them for a full day straight away without any discomfort.
I’ll have to get Topy soles put on soon, because South Australia has way too many slippery walking surfaces – shopping centres in particular – but otherwise nothing needs doing.
Just put on, lace up and enjoy wearing.
Shipping and Returns
Embracing the free returns business model that has made The Iconic so successful, TGC offers free shipping as well as free returns. Given the difficulty in getting the right fit shoes online, this negates the risk that would put a lot of people, myself included, off of buying shoes online.
No such hurdle exists here.
As for returns, I asked about what constitutes the company’s returns policy for the sake of this piece.
It’s quite reasonable, with free exchanges and returns providing the shoe has no obvious signs of wear (notable creasing, considerable scuffing on sole and so on).
Any kind of finishing or construction defect will be promptly replaced.
It’s a good sign of integrity.
There’s little else to say in ending, these are an excellent value for money boot. The fit is good, the finishing is good, the colour is exceptional and the shopping experience is stress-free. I’ll be getting plenty of wear from them.