With winter setting in, and the weather becoming ever more unpredictable with each passing day, it is time – at long last – to think about beefing up one’s footwear. Whether a marching boot, motorcycle or jodhpur boot, ankle boots are about to come into their own for the season – robust and rugged enough to withstand all weather conditions, easily paired with all manner of formal or casual looks and hardy under foot as they are.
Readers will doubtless remember that this time last year, we launched one of our very first retail collaborations with contemporary Northampton shoemaking titans, Gaziano & Girling – the Urban Commando Boot. As the name suggests, these are designed to fulfill a rather specific purpose; that of storming the city in fine style. The project came about following a frank discussion between our Founder Wei Koh, Tony Gaziano and Dean Girling about the need for a boot capable of delivering all the durability and sturdiness of a commando boot, but which was appropriate for modern urban living. In the wake of an ever-faster pace of work, life, international travel schedules and the often relentless pace of modern lifestyles, The Rake felt that it was time to create a boot built to beat the throng of the city and to make light work of manoeuvring through inhospitable urban streets, from meeting to meeting or from day to evening.
To this end, the Urban Commando boot was created in the finest tradition of luxury Northampton shoemaking, using Gaziano & Girling’s gloriously svelte ‘Deco’ last, with a sharp chiseled toe and slim waist, yielding a pair of boots which, when viewed from above, feel particularly dressy and elegant – ideal for pairing with business suiting or tailored separates. And yet, beneath this vision in mahogany, dwells a foundation as tough as a Hebridean bar-brawler; a unique heavy-duty rubber commando sole, which provides traction, weather-resistance and attitude in equal measure. The soles were developed exclusively for this project, having never before been produced for such a slim-waisted boot. Clicked in the finest full-grain mahogany Alpine calf, chosen for its toughness and weather-resistant properties, a glossy cedar-calf version is also available for something a touch dressier.