Some basics for bootmen
|While many other styles of boots found their origins in vocational
necessity or environmental practicality, the side-zipper dress boot is strictly
a product of the fashion-conscious. This particular style of boot found its
way to the general male population in the 1960s and enjoyed popularity
through the 70s and 80s. Through their company names of Nunn Bush and
Brass Boot (as well as their own name), The Florsheim Shoe Company was the
leader of the pack in bringing this particular style of boot to the fore in
the later decades.
Though subtle variations existed, the style of the zipper dress boot was
fairly consistent across the board by the mid '70s. Each boot had a zipper
on the inward-facing ankle allowing for greater ease in sliding the boot on
and off. Supple leather uppers with a leather lining were most common
(though some makers used man-made materials when choosing low production
cost vs. higher quality). Invariably, the sole was crafted from a smooth
leather, while crepe or rubber soles were also available but less prominent.
Most zipper dress boots had a rounded toe and a shaft of 7" - 8",
though shaft heights of 10" - 12" could also be found. (Knee-high
styles of zipper dress boots did exist, but these were mostly refered
to as Platform Boots with chunkier
heels, and were worn by the flashy musical artists of the '70s like
Rick James or Earth, Wind & Fire, for example.)
Most side-zip dress boots sported a lower heel, typically 1-inch or
shorter. However, makers such as Giorgio Brutini decided to buck that trend
and added a 2-inch "Cuban Heel" for a sleeker, more stylized look.
Established bootmakers in the country/western genre, like Tony Lama and
Durango to name a few, found it difficult to ignore the popularity of the
side-zip boot and decided to put their own creative thumbprint on this
style, giving the boot a slightly more pointed toe with fancy western
|It can be argued that the Chelsea Boot may have been
the "forefather" to the side-zip dress boot that we know today. The term
"chelsea boot" has evolved to encompass an entire family of snug fitting,
ankle-high boots that pull on as opposed to lace or zip. Thought to
have been used previously as a type of riding boot, this style soared
to celebrity status in early '60s Europe thanks to the likes of The
Beatles and The Rolling Stones, whose members were often seen wearing
them. The most notable feature of most Chelsea Boots is the elastic
sides which run from the heel to the top of the boot, allowing greater
ease in slipping on and off.
|THE SIDE-ZIP DRESS BOOT...THEN AND NOW|
|During its heyday in the '70s to mid '80s, the
side-zip dress boot was crafted with subtlety, exhibiting a simplistic
and unassuming style with very little in the way of flashy stitching
or fancy design. This style seemed to appeal to a slightly more mature
audience. In fact, before its decline in the late '80s, it could be said
that this style of boot was on one side of a seemingly ever-increasing
generation gap in fashion. While the Campus Boot
enjoyed immense popularity mostly among high school and college students
(thus the name "Campus" Boot), the side-zip dress boot was well-represented
in the 30+ age group, mainly reserved for "jacket and tie" situations
such as working at the office or attending religious services.
Thanks to modern-day makers like Kenneth Cole, the zippered dress boot
has witnessed something of a comeback these days. Due in no small part to an
overhaul in design, this style of boot has reached a wider audience among
younger men. Designers such as Mark Nason and Steve Madden have pushed the
original boundaries of the style, incorporating exaggerated features such as
blunted toes, overly pointed toes, fancy straps and eye-catching overlays.
Materials have expanded to include suede and other distressed leathers.
|MANUFACTURERS OF DRESS BOOTS|
|There are many companies that make zipper
dress boots. For the classic style zip boot, look to companies like
Florsheim, Nunn Bush and Giorgio Brutini, among others. For a modern
style, look to makers such as Kenneth Cole, Mark Nason and Steve Madden.
A great selection of both classic and modern styles from
many different makers is available online through the
Text from Wikipedia
article on Chelsea Boots, various internet sources, and Bootpup. Pictures
from Zappos and various internet sources. Text of this article is licensed
under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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