A Hume Reveals the Secret of RM Williams Boots
RM Williams, the man behind the bush beating boots, has the kind of authentic back-story you’d expect of an Aussie Entrepreneur. His personal history is peppered with hardships that he overcame with good old-fashioned gumption. At life’s behest he turned his hand to well-digging, droving and camel tending – living an itinerant existence on the cattle ranches of South Australia until he met a saddler with the suitably folkloric name of Dollar Mick, who taught him the craft of leatherworking.
In the early 1930’s, at the age of 24, RM sold his first pair of riding boots for 20 shillings. His business has come a long way since then but the essential craft he learned from Dollar Mick still underpins the product that bears his name.
RM learned that crafting a world-class boot relies on selecting the right leather and whilst all RM Williams boots are made using hides of exceptional quality, what fits for a dress boot is not necessarily suitable for a work boot. Fine-grained leathers that polish to a glossy perfection are ideal for dress boots and are used in the Craftsman Yearling and Comfort Turnout boots, whilst cowhides and defiantly hardwearing kid, oiled and treated, are preferred for work boots. The hardest grafter of all is the Greasy Kip leather, used in the Gardener Boot. This stylish, matt cowhide resists all manner of abuse; rain, river, soil and salt.
All RM Williams boots, men’s and women’s, are handmade from a single piece of leather, requiring only a single seam at the back of each boot, a design that ensures the boot moulds comfortably to the foot wearer. Toe and heel stiffeners, plus a forged steel shank for arch support guarantee they retain their shape. And vegetable-tanned leather insoles allow feet to breathe.
Each boot undergoes over 70 handheld, manufacturing processes. Flip over an RM Williams leather soled boot and you’ll see the Longhorn branded soles; double stitched with waxed thread. Just another construction detail designed to increase durability and comfort.
People who buy RM Williams boots will tell you they love their boots like old friends – that’s how it is when you’ve been together for years.
And just in case you were wondering, the RM stands for Reginald Murray – you can see why he stuck with RM.