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Guide to Balmoral Boots

Updated: Jan 13, 2019

Balmoral boots from Crockett and Jones

London is starting to get more rain again, and unfortunately chances for us to wear our summer loafers out to the streets are getting less. On a positive note, however, we can start putting back on our dress boots again so we don't need to get ourselves wet in the showers.

Given such circumstances, I would like to continue our series on the guide to different type of dress shoes by introducing you all to the Balmoral Boots.

Balmoral boots from Crockett and Jones

To begin with, what are Balmorals Boots? In order to identify the Balmorals Boots, there are a few key characteristics you could pay attention to.

Firstly, similar to the Oxfords, the boots have a closed-lacing system. In this way, you would still look elegant when having them paired with formal ensembles, and would not have to comprise the overall formality of the outfit. As a matter of the fact, this is the determining factor to why the Balmorals could still be considered as a pair of dress shoes.

Secondly, the top of the boots would extend beyond the ankle and perhaps be even taller than the ones commonly seen with Chukka boots. Nonetheless, it usually would not reach mid-calf height as it would be too dramatic and rather country-like. In any case, this allows you to have the option to pair them with trousers in different lengths and widths; making them a very versatile piece in your closet.

Balmoral boots from Crockett and Jones

Thirdly, the bottom uppers of the boots would be made in different materials, as well as different colors to the top. In most cases, the top would either be made from suede, tweed, or linen materials. While this rule does not necessarily apply to all Balmorals, it is precisely the essential feature to why Balmorals Boots are fun to wear and more casual than regular Oxford shoes.

Last but not least, similar to the Oxford shoes, they could also come in multiple styles, namely the plain oxford, the cap toe, or the wingtips. Again, whether having broguings or not is just completely a matter of personal taste.

Prince Albert wearing a pair of Balmorals. (Credits to Vogue)

Now, you may wonder why there are so many similarities between the Balmorals Boots and the Oxford Shoes. This is especially the case for those of you who are residing in the US, as you may be more familiar with the term 'Balmorals' being referred as the regular Oxford shoes. The is because the Balmoral is actually the 'ancestor' of the Oxford.

Though the origin story of the dress boots varies from one news source to the other, most of them agree on the fact that the Balmoral boot was designed specifically for Prince Albert as a walking boot. Being highly suitable for walking both inside and outside of his Scottish estate Balmoral, Prince Albert would soon spread the liking of Balmoral boot to Queen Victoria as well. Soon they became extremely popular among the public with no surprise.

Thusly, the Balmoral boot was pretty much the style of shoes that everyone would wear back in the days due to its versatility. Frankly speaking, the Oxfords only came to popularity at the time when it was no longer necessary to wear boots to walk through the muddy and unpaved roads.

Two tone cap toe
This Balmoral features a two-tone cap toe, which gives it a really special character.

With all that said, you may be wondering how you can pair the Balmorals? Bridging the gap between the formal Oxfords and the country boots, the Balmoral boot is really something you could wear with anything.

One of the most important factor you should take into consideration when matching the dress boots with your outfits is the width and length of your trousers.

While some would advise you to match them with a pair of full-break trousers and let the fabric cover the top of the boots so that it would appear as a pair of regular Oxfords, this is something I would not recommend personally.

Not only would they appear to be too bulky if the rest of your outfit are closely-fitted; but also it would fail to extenuate your body shape, conflicting with one of the most fundamental purpose of wearing a pair of boots -- to look taller.

What I would suggest instead is to pair it with trousers that have no-breaks or turn-ups for more formal occasions. With turn-ups especially, regardless where the bottom of the trousers land on; it would still allow you to have a distinctive transition between your trousers and your boots. This is best demonstrated by the picture above.

For more causal settings, I would recommend you to pair it with trousers that have a closer-fit. Additionally, it would be even better if the trousers would cover just a small portion of the boots so you could better highlight the texture of the boots. Whether it would be a pair of white chinos or a pair of black jeans, it would all be great options since it would ultimately serve the purpose of increasing your perceived height.

Balmoral boots from Crockett and Jones with river view

Finally, with regards to the color and the style of the Balmorals; I would recommend starting off by getting a brown or a burgundy one with cap toe or wing-tip, but without any broguings. The perfect example of it would be the Crockett and Jones ones which I have been featuring throughout this article.

While a pair of black dress boots would be too formal if you intend to wear the them casually, anything with too much broguings would not work well with business suits. After all, keep in mind that the Balmorals are still boots; and you should raise the formality by keeping it simple.

Are you planning on getting a pair of Balmoral boots? Let me know in the comment section below. Also, you can click here if you want to learn more about Monk Straps!



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