The perfect shoe needs the perfect sole. It might sound like a little thing in the seasonal shoe/boot/trainer battle royale, but try telling that to the New Year’s run of A&E patients that insisted on leather soles. Commando soles though… now there’s a solution.
Gripping and practical, don’t let the name fool you; you don’t need to raid a military surplus store. In fact, plenty of labels are waking up and realising that nobody looks at your soles until you’re already on the ground. Here then are our favourites…
Gaziano & Girling Urban Commando Boots, £1,380
Gaziano & Girling’s entire mandate is to reinvent the classics for the modern man and their Urban Commando Boots seem to be doing the job pretty damn well. An elegant silhouette, fine cedar leather and just a touch of brogueing contrast with the heavy-duty soles and laces. It works so well, we won’t even hold it against them that they were designed for The Rake. We all have our crosses to bear.
Prada Raised-Sole Leather Brogues, £580
The perfect pairing from Prada here: a classic Oxford wingtip with soles that’ll see you through a snowstorm. Wear on an early morning or late night when the pavement frost is setting in and you’ll make it home without detouring via A&E for a broken backside. They’re available black if you need something formal but we love the dark chestnut here.
Common Projects Raised-Sole Derbys, £385
Even though I can’t see how it can ever be the case, brogues aren’t for everyone all the time. Fortunately for the minimalists out there, Common Projects has applied their retrained trainer sensibilities to the humble Derby, combining glossy black patent leather with a chunky textured rubber sole. The only detail’s the brand’s signature serial number on the heel.
George Cleverley Henry Brogue Derby
If you’re the kind of maniac that’ll be heading up to the highlands any time soon you’ll need some pure Scotch hardiness. If you’re shooting, that needs to be tempered with a touch of class – just like in these heavily-brogued, grain calf leather Derbys from George Cleverley. The leather’s Scottish so there’s a good pedigree and the Dainite rubber soles are nigh indestructible. Your only danger is a particularly vicious grouse.
John Lobb Alder Suede Boots, £1,340
Yes, suede’s not the best thing to take out into any conditions that warrant a chunky rubber sole but by god John Lobb went and did it anyway. Rain aside though, they’re incredibly comfortable and the soles are nuclear bunker levels of durable. They’ll last you well through winter even a decade from now; just remember to weatherproof them. Soaked suede is sad suede.