The Pacific Northwest is a gorgeous place to live, work, and play. But, it’s a tough place too. Harsh weather, tough terrain, and rigorous duties require goods that can match those challenges. A good pair of boots is a must if you are going to hang out in this region of the world for any length of time.
About Nicks Boots
Let’s just get this out of the way first. There is no apostrophe in the name of this company. That’s right – it’s Nicks Boots. Now we can continue. Nicks Boots began in 1964 in Spokane, WA with the purpose of hand building the best work boots possible featuring the best leather and materials with the concept of creating lifetime customers. Mission accomplished! Nicks Boots has a fanatical following. Ask just about any firefighter, logger, lineman, or rancher around our parts and you’ll hear them all recommend Nicks Boots.
Now Nicks Boots is taking their time-tested tradition of making superior work boots and translating that into the realm of casual boots – and they’re doing a fantastic job. They’re making a bold move – going from custom only boots to creating an inventory of the classic 6” Robert Boot (a design based on the time-tested Ranger, which is their classic work boot).
I was invited to come to their flagship store and factory to have my feet measured for a pair of the Nicks Boots 6” Robert Boots – something they’ve been doing for the past 50 years. After measuring each of my feet, we embarked upon a behind the scenes tour that involved seeing everything from the full Seidel leather hides to finished, ready to ship boots and shoes. Nicks employs a fantastic group of leather artisans, many of whom have been with the company for many years.
It would require a series of articles to discuss in depth the magnitude of Nicks Boots’ construction process. It’s a process that involves construction techniques that can be traced back 500 years. Fortunately, Nicks FAQ page on their website contains some great, detailed information about everything that goes into a pair of their boots.
To give a quick rundown on the pair made for me, they feature:
- Seidel Tanning Corporation of Milwaukee, WI’s Brown Domaine Leather (formerly referred to as Anaflex Leather)
- Smooth Toe
- Antique Brass Hooks and Eyelets
- Vibram’s V-Bar Sole
- McKay Welt
- Dogger Heel
- Hundreds of hours of hand construction and dedication
Needless to say, these boots are built to last a lifetime, or more.
I was measured for my boots on July 7th and took delivery of them on August 29th (7+ weeks for the build time). The build time was shorter than I expected since their website says 8-10 weeks. As with several of the other boots I’ve reviewed over the past couple of months, these boots require a fairly hefty break-in period.
After the final fitting on my new boots, I was told that it would take 80-100 hours of using the boots for them to be properly broken in. That isn’t 80-100 hours of them being on your feet – it’s time spent walking and moving in them. So, it takes some time to get them into shape. The first few adventures in my Robert Boots were brief. It is a transition. But, they’re now feeling great and I can see that they are going to become extremely comfortable to wear day in and day out. The “Legendary Arch” is just that…it’s the legendary stuff of legends. Truly, it’s amazingly comfortable and supportive.
These aren’t lightweight boots. But, they aren’t intended or implied as such, so throw that idea right out the window. They’re heavy, sturdy, and solid. If you’re a regular reader at BestLeather, you know we talk about Thrux Lawrence products as being ridiculously tough and overbuilt. I believe Nicks Boots can easily claim the same thing in the realm of boot construction.
The boots feature a nicely sized finger loop on the top of the heel. This, along with the three lace hooks at the top make them easy to put on and take off.
The pictures don’t lie. These are impressive boots and have a style all their own – a casual boot for wear under almost any circumstances. They will easily handle rough, tough work if needed and yet you can wear them to a business meeting if you want.
If you choose to purchase a made-to-order pair, you also have the option of a toe cap, which will dress this boot up even more. I chose to not have the toe cap as this version more closely represents the in-stock version of the Robert.
On my pair, I did eventually remove the decorative tongue insert. It is only held in place with the laces. I removed it for two reasons – first I prefer the cleaner look of not having it in place and second, the boot feels more comfortable without it since it eliminates one extra layer of leather. To me, the boots seems much more flexible without it in place. The nice thing about this is that it’s your choice to keep it in place or remove it.
I now understand why Nicks Boots are so highly respected and revered by the men and women who work hard, on their feet, day in and day out. Those folks push the limits every day and their boots take that punishment nonstop. While touring the Nicks plant, I was able to see several pairs of boots that were back for repair and reconstruction. It speaks volumes about a company to see people use and abuse a product, and then happily send it back in for reconditioning knowing they’re going to receive their boots back ready for another round of use and abuse. Nicks has truly created a product in their boots that has created lifetime customers who happily speak highly of the brand.
$429 for an in-stock pair (available in 3 different widths – D, E, and EE) that you can receive as fast as shipping allows or $439 for a pair built specifically for your feet that will arrive to you within 8-10 weeks. It’s completely your call on how you want to get them. But, if you choose to spend the money, you won’t be disappointed with either version. The Nicks Boots 6” Robert Boots are beautiful, tough, and will outlast you. Maybe BestLeather should create a new category – “Buy It For Your Life and Beyond”… So, who gets your pair of Nicks Boots after you’re gone?