Wednesday, April 7, 2010


**Update: Marlon Brando wore Chippewa Engineer Boots during the filming of this movie**

I've received quite a few inquiries as to my opinion on what kind of Engineer Boots Marlon Brando wore in the 1954 film "The Wild One." The most recent one comes from Philip and I decided to make it a featured post for people to see.

“I would like to ask you a question.

I've followed your blog for a long time, and You seem to be one of the few people with the most knowledge on this subject. I recently got into an argument about the boots worn by Marlon Brando. I personally believed the brand was Chippewa or Wesco, while the other part strongly believed it was the Red Wing 2268. Could you confirm my statement or am i completly wrong.  Philip”

Thanks Philip!!

It's been said that Brando wore WESCO Engineer Boots; however, there's no concrete proof that this is true – just word of mouth. For years, I agreed with this claim but upon further inspection of movie stills and other sources, I feel most of the characteristics of his boots resemble those found in vintage Chippewa's, from the super stacked "Woodsman" heels, to the double leather half soles and the long instep straps.  Because of the "bump toe" look, I suspect his boots to be steel toe - check out the steel toe Chippewa's below.  You'd be surprised at how many different looks there were associated with vintage Chippewa's...or at least the looks they’ve taken the form of over decades of wear.

Chippewa's allegedy worn by James Dean in Rebel

Steel Toe Chippewa Engineer Boots from 1953

Here's a pair of Chippewa's I owned with the long instep strap and super stacked Woodsman heels.

Here's my bottom line - Marlon Brando's boots in the Wild One could have easily been produced by any company from that period. Without any concrete proof, we shouldn't rule out company's like Sears, Montgomery Ward’s or Penney's, just to name a few. I would argue; however, that the boots more than likely came from one of the bigger-named company's of the day.

I've never run accross a pair of 1950's WESCO Engineer Boots, but this is the closest thing.  This is a pair of current day Boss boots made by WESCO Japan that were based off a deadstock pair of 1950's WESCO's.

I was going to rule out Red Wing's, but happened upon some photos that would maintain them as contenders. Red Wing’s have been producing boots since the early part of last century and could quite possibly be the makers of Brando’s boots. The second photo shows the Woodsman heels

I know this doesn't answer Philip's question, but rather raises more questions.  Again, without true documentation, this will remain a mystery.  I've provided lots of relevant photos for you to decide. 

Here's a cool little factoid:  Marlon Brando reportedly picked out his own wardrobe for the movie.

1 comment:

  1. Hello. Thank you very much for this article. I am very thankful. I actually thought there was an answer to the question, but i guess there isn't.