Sneaking Back Into the Archives

This Australian Boot Brand Is Now Making Covetable Sneakers

March 16, 2020 Style By
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Going on nine decades, R.M. Williams has built its reputation in the Outback and on horseback. The Australian boot brand outfitted stockmen and cowboys with its bush boot, a laceless style similar to the Chelsea with a one-piece leather upper and elastic gussets. The brand found much success with the silhouette, aptly named the Craftsman boot, but is now expanding its offerings to a city-focused category: sneakers.

Loyal fans might be surprised that R.M. Williams is dipping its toes into the sneaker market, but it’s actually not new territory for the brand. In the 1940s, the footwear maker produced a sneaker called the Sand Shoe hoping to reach a more casual section of the market.

“Every once in a while, classic Aussie slang comes back around — and the Sand Shoe is one such word,” explains Mathew Hayward, Chief Marketing Officer at R.M. Williams. “Coined back in the day, a Sand Shoe was, well, for wearing in the sand.”

More specifically, the sports shoes had flat rubber soles and were designed for customers who wanted comfortable kicks for everyday wear and recreation. “Reginald [R.M. himself] was many things — a craftsman, a journeyman, a gold digger, an entrepreneur and a merchant,” he says. “He wanted to find the best product, materials and solutions for his consumers’ demands and lifestyles, and that’s why it was introduced back in the 1940s and why we have offered it back in the range today.”

R.M. Williams’ modernization of the Sand Shoe comes in two styles: the Surry, a classic tennis shoe with a minimalist design, and the Fitzroy, a running-inspired sneaker. Not only do the new sneakers feature fresh designs, but they also make use of the brand’s top-tier materials. Both styles utilize supple yearling leather, the same smooth, durable leather used in R.M. Williams’ Outback-ready boots.

“We are first and foremost a company that prides itself in the craftsmanship of fine leather goods as an authentic heritage brand, designing and manufacturing products for life’s adventures,” Hayward says. The Surry and Fitzroy showcase iconic leather in practical, clean and comfortable silhouettes — an embodiment of the brand’s values. “The simplicity of the design talks to our early sand shoes,” he says. “But, it’s built with purpose for today’s modern journeyman and journeywomen — the modern adventurer.”

Surry by R.M. Williams $245

Fitzroy by R.M. Williams $295

These Boots Were Designed by a Legendary Apple Designer

As part of their craft-focused Undeniable Character initiative, iconic Australian bootmaker R.M. Williams has just introduced their Yard Boot 365, a heritage-influenced boot with a tech-chic design. Read the Story
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Gerald Ortiz

Gerald Ortiz is a staff writer at Gear Patrol covering style. From San Diego, now New York City.

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