Sunday, December 4, 2011


Brand: RRL
Color: Black
Size: 8D

Length: 11 11/16"

Width: 4 1/8"
Leather: Horween Chromexcel Cowhide

Soles: Vibram
Heels: Cat's Paw
Hardware: Brass and smoked studs

I recently picked up this pair of barely used (only "twice") studded RRL Engineer Boots for a shocking $390 (I would've been ecstatic to reel 'em in for $600) and much to my surprise, they far exceeded every expectation - by far one of my best economical scores.  I gotta say that there's nothing more exciting in my boot world than to open up a box with a pair of much-anticipated Engineer Boots.

These were described as the "distressed" version, which looks as if the hardware was treated with a coat of black stain.  Also, the studs are of the smoked version rather than nickel - otherwise, I don't notice anything different.  The stain comes off with a rub of the fingernail, but I think I'll leave it to fall off naturally. 

No photo I've come across, to include my own low-quality ones, show how truly amazing these boots are.  In person, as with the Mister Freedom® Road Champs, they feel like a million bucks in your hands.  Not much in the way of details can be found on them, but it was discovered they are made with Horween Chromexcel Cowhide leather.  The instep and upper straps feel like they are made with a 7-8 oz hide whereas the everything else is made with a lighter, yet amazingly stiff weight.  They don't collapse when held laid upside down flat in your hands. 

There's no doubt these will age well as there's already a hint of brown coming through the leather on one boot.

The Road Champs will forever be my number one's and (for now) these are my number two's. 

The profile on these boots are in a class of their own.  They are narrow through the vamp and become a bit roomier in the heel counter area.  This causes heel slippage during wear, but this is easily remedied by tightening the instep strap.  In my case, I had to add another hole without compromising the studs.  The odd thing about the adjustment holes on the instep is that only three were punched. 

I think my urge to purchase a pair of WESCO Narrow's has been curbed with the purchase of these amazing boots. 

The stacked heels are perfect - not too high nor too low.

Unlike the Road Champs these boots are made with a celastic toe, so don't expect any immediate flat toes to develop.

In perfect-fitting boots, I wear an 8D in Whites Semi-Dress, 7  1/2 in Road Champs, 8D in (new) Chippewa's, 7 1/2 in Toy's McCoy Bucos.  These fit the same in the 8D.  I couldn't have picked a better size.

Related:  See Steve C's review on his studded RRL Engineer Boots


  1. Fantastic! They really are handsome boots.
    Just one thing I forgot to mention. I found mine to have a very sharp prong on the instep buckle and this started scratching the opposite boot when I crossed my feet over. I took the edge off with a small metalwork file and there's been no more damage.
    Steve C

  2. odd is that?!? I may have to replace them with some Okuyama buckles.

    Thanks Steve!!

  3. Very nice! Did they put any patina on the studs? Hard to tell from the photos.

  4. Thanks Matt! Not so much of a forced patina, but more of just a black stain over smoke colored spots.