A traditional Portuguese boot
Come Winter time, one feels the need to purchase pieces which will make the task of withstanding the harsh climate, a bit easier. This is the time for tweed, overcoats, trenches, scarves and last but not least, boots.
Whether buying for the first time or simply upgrading your existing collection, I’m a strong believer that one should always invest in quality items: especially if they are meant to endure the most adverse conditions on a daily basis, be it rain, wind or snow. The concept of quality raises a few issues, since it may be somewhat subjective from person to person, but lets agree that for the sake of this context, we’re talking about quality of construction regarding craftsmanship and materials.
The motto of quality above all may lead you into believing that to attain it, you’ll need to splurge. Now, I’m not naive to the point of telling you it isn’t so (at least all the time)… after all, quality DOES come at a price: exquisite craftsmanship and luxurious materials are inherently expensive. However, every once in a while you come face to face with outstanding items which gather both quality and aesthetic appeal, without setting you back several euros.
Recently, my brother and I came across some outstanding boots, called “Bota Carneira”, produced right here in Portugal, in São João da Madeira, a few kilometers from Porto. I first heard about them through a friend’s blog and have been wanting to try them on for a while now. One of these days we finally found them on display at a local store downtown…needless to say we both got ourselves a pair.
I have to hand it over to Portuguese craftsmen, these are amazing: 100% leather with tire rubber soles, 5 metal eyelets, white cotton laces and contrast white stitching…sound good right? How about all that for less than 40€? We’ve been sporting them regularly and so far we can attest to their quality, these sturdy boots will last you for ages if you take care of them properly. To do so, simply waterproof them by applying a wax-based product or horse fat (we chose the latter). As an added bonus, you’ll be able to have some control over their final color, depending on the amount of product you apply: my brother’s pair ended up looking darker than mine, almost in an olive green tone, whereas mine are light brown (he used much more product the first time). To set mine apart, I got them boat shoe laces in yellow/brown, which really makes them stand out.
I love finding these kind of pieces and mixing and incorporating them into my outfits, pairing them with high end items. For me, that’s what style is all about, a merging of different pieces with all kinds of origins and backgrounds, that all come perfectly together to create an unique outfit. This is much more interesting (and difficult to achieve), than going to a high end store and dressing head to toe, resulting in a look with no personal stamp or identity… Also, keep in mind that besides saving a considerable amount of money and adding a different twist to your wardrobe, you’ll be supporting your local business and economy since they’re a national product.
How they looked originally