During the original intro to this Q&A about Gen. McChrystal’s dismissal, NY Times reporter John Burns mentions how R.M. Williams boots from Australia are now the standard boot of choice for war reporters.
...the band of brothers and sisters who have gone to war with their pens and notebooks, their flak jackets and helmets and R. M. Williams boots (from Australia, and by habit heavily scuffed; they are as indispensable to this generation of war correspondents and photographers as the dangling cigarette was to the generation of Ernie Pyle).
If a boot becomes the standard choice among war correspondents, I’m thinking it’s gotta be pretty damn good. Not sure if there’s a specific model these guys favor, but here’s a look at R.M. Williams’ Rigger Boot.
Unsurprisingly, the company seems pretty cool too. Like Saddleback Leather, R.M. Williams sells by using its history and educating customers. The founder’s backstory tells of his years in the bush and how he learned to build boots from a guy named Dollar Mick.
R.M. first went bush in his teens – lime burning and building in stone in Victoria and on the Western Australian goldfields. In the late 1920’s, he signed on as a camel boy with the missionary explorer, William Wade, in his treks across Australia’s central western deserts. He learned valuable bush lore and survival skills from the aboriginal peoples of the area, and honed his stock handling and bushcraft skills from the stockmen of the desert fringe cattle stations…
A self-taught genius in leatherworking, Dollar Mick passed on his skills to the 24 year old R.M. who made and sold his first pair of riding boots for 20 shillings to a man from Hilltaba Station whose name he can’t remember.
Having worked on some of the great pastoral runs of the interior, no one knew better than R.M. what men who were born in the saddle wanted when it came to footwear.
The catalog explains why the company builds boots from one piece of leather, the types of soles used, and the benefits of handcrafting.
Related: RM Williams Boots – Everything You Wanted to Know [styleforum]