Look, I’ve never been tortured, so I’m not really entitled to say that something was like that. However, the ordering and waiting for these things was as close to it as I’ve come. Here’s the thing; I don’t buy personal boots for my own use very often. I’d rather repair the sole on a pair 3-4 times than buy new boots. Why? because I know the boots I have – I’ve walked in them, worked, got them muddy, used various stuff and spent a whole lot of time maintaining them, and it’s almost a little sad when I have to replace them.
That said, I decided that I needed new boots, and the choice was a pair of the 10″ Corcoran Field Work Boots. Here’s how that went.
Warning 1: They’re not the right size!
This goes both for US readers and everyone else; the boots aren’t the size you think they are! They’re huge. I usually wear a US 14 – 14,5. That’s the norm for me. With winter coming up, and these boots being unlined, I thought I’d step it up a little bit and go for a 15. That way, I’d have enough room to fit a nice pair of insoles, and an even nicer pair of wool socks. Those of you who’ve read our Gearing Up pages and posts know that we love wool around here, and I’m no exception from the other guys.
It turns out, however, that I’m nowhere near a size 15 when it comes to Corcoran boots. They arrived in the largest shoe box I’ve ever seen, and the boots seemed (impossibly) to be even bigger. Soles and socks weren’t enough to fill them out, even with my oversized feet. So. Back to whatever warehouse they came from. Far, far away. That’s how it felt, anyway. I was, as the British would say, livid.
After pondering this for a while, I decided to step it back quite a bit, and order a smaller size than I have even thought about in a lot of years. 13,5 Medium wide. It didn’t seem right at all. In European sizes, that would put these shoes (traditionally) around 46 – 47, but seeing as a 15 turned out to be something like a slightly large size 50, it seemed that 13,5 would put me in the right range, even with socks and insole.
I was right. Sort of. When the new boots arrived, I had room for insoles. My best pair of thick wool socks? No. My next best pair of medium wool socks? Yes. So that’s good. First advice: Step your size down one notch.
Warning 2: They’re taller than you think!
If you, like me, are used to 8″ boots, these might need some adjusting to. I’ve always wanted 10″ boots, but whenever I’ve been in dire need of a new pair, I haven’t found any in my size, and I’ve always landed on 8″. These are something else, however. Invariably, you will think it looks like you’re wearing clown’s shoes when you first lace these babies up. Don’t worry, though – it’s all in your head.
I’m sure it’s true that it’s not the number of inches it comes down to, but it does make a difference after all. I’m absolutely loving the 10″ feeling, but remember – if you’re not used to 10″ tall boots, it’s gonna feel weird for a few days.
Enough warnings! Here are the specs!
- Full Grain Leather Upper
- “Spit Shineable” Leather Toe Cap and Counter
- High Speed Lace System
- Internal Ankle Support
- DRYZ® Cushioned Insole
- Triple Rib Steel Shank
- Garrison Army Munson Last for Superior Fit
- Goodyear Welt Construction
- Vibram® #134 Rubber Outsole
Lots of fancy words there, but here’s what it comes down to: spit shineable leather boots, cushioned sole that won’t let you slip even when it’s slippery… also, it’s oil resistant. Ankle support makes for a much safer rund on unstable ground.
The Good Parts:
These are great boots. Even after just a week or so of use, they’re settling in fine. They’re soft and comfortable already, they’re easy to put on and take off, and even if we’ve never heard of this lacing system being called “high speed”, the system works nicely.
Right out of the box, the boots look excellent. Since they’re unlined, they can be folded down and take up very little space – extremely useful if they’re your backups of extras and need to fit in a pack of some sort. Here’s something you might know, but that we’ll tell you anyway; new leather boots aren’t waterproof! You need to treat and shine them a few times before you can expect them to be. Let that be a warning to ya.
The sole is hard, much harder than comparable boots from Magnum, for example. That probably only means that they’ll last longer, and with the cushioned insole (plus my own), it feels just right. The insole is some kind of moisture disposal system as well, and it works. This is one thing we love – getting rid of sweat. In the summer, sweat will evaporate, but in the winter, it can kill you. Walking around with wet feet in the winter will chill you faster than most other things, and boots that doesn’t breath or wick away moisture are your worst enemies. These, however, stay very, very dry.
After a week of use, these feel like they’re going to last a long time.
The Bad Parts:
Actually, there are no really bad parts to these boots. Aside from the sizing issue that is sure to get a good many people into some trouble, we haven’t been able to see anything wrong with them so far.
The seams on the toe cap has been the main concern around here, but after doing a little research, that doesn’t seem like something people are complaining about (when they complain at all), and they show no sign of doing anything out of the ordinary so far. New leather can sometimes be hard to treat for the first time, but this leather is soft and takes to shoe shine like ducks to water.
So. As long as you remember that Corcoran’s boots apparently are a size and a half bigger than most others, and that you’ll feel like you’re in clown’s shoes the first time you lace ’em up, these boots are just about the best choice of unlined, rugged boots out there.