Since we celebrated the launch, this week, of legendary Australian boot and apparel brand R.M. Williams in our store, we thought we should provide a quick guide to their classic Craftsman Boot and give a brief history of the man that created them.
For over 80 years, R.M. Williams has been known across the world for its high-quality, handmade leather boots, as well as a range of apparel and accessories inspired by the Australian outback.
Who was R.M. Williams
Founded in 1932 by Australian bushman Reginald Murray “R.M.” Williams, their durable and functional boot styles are worn by everyone, from farmers to film stars, and are still crafted in their Adelaide factory using a single piece of whole-cut leather for ultimate quality and comfort
Its founder, Reginald Murray Williams (known simply as ‘R.M.’). Born in 1908, he grew up in the Australian outback. At the age of 15, he found manual work in the outback as a camel driver, trekking for thousands of miles across the Australian deserts. At Night he used the light of the campfire to educate himself by reading books and being taught the ways of the Australian outback by Aborigines (native Australians) including his first craftwork, the making of knots for survival and plaiting kangaroo leather.
After three years of trekking, R.M. returned to Adelaide where he met his first wife with whom he returned to the bush to live off the land and start a family. A craftsman named Dollar Mick visited R.M.’s family camp where the pair instantly became friends. Dollar Mick taught R.M. how to produce more complex leather goods like saddles, bags, and, of course, boots.
Sidney Kidman, a wealthy cattle rancher, was so impressed with his skill he agreed to have R.M. supply him with leather pack saddles and riding boots. It was this agreement that made 1932 the founding year of R.M. Williams as a manufacturing company.
R.M. managed to purchase shares in a gold mine in northern which R.M. made millions and over the next few decades, R.M. invested heavily in his company, expanding his range to include Bush equipment, tough moleskin apparel, and blue jeans.
R.M. passed away in 2003, an Australian legend known for his entrepreneurship and passion for the outback, and while the brand has fashion house contemporaries these days, his rugged lifestyle still lives on in their product design.
Some interesting facts about R.M. Williams
- Other landmarks of RM’s life include being a founding member of the Australian Roughriders Association
- Because of RM’s support in forming the Equestrian Federation of Australia, the Australian Olympic Equestrian Team has competed in R.M.Williams boots since the Melbourne Olympics of 1956.
- RM was the founder of Australia’s Bicentennial National Trail – a 5,330 km route through Australian bush, wilderness and mountain areas. It is suitable for horse riders, walkers and mountain bike riders.
- RM and his wife Erica together with Tom Quilty were the inspiration for the Tom Quilty Endurance Ride in 1966, which is held annually and is now an international event.
- Nominated as a National Living Treasure by Prime Minister John Howard MP, Reginald Murray Williams was also chosen as Patron of 2002 Year of the Outback.
- Reginald Murray Williams AO, CMG passed away on 4 November 2003 aged 95; a Queensland State funeral followed as the nation mourned the death of an Australian legend.
A Guide R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Boot - The best boot you can buy
The R.M. Williams’ Craftsman Chelsea Style Boot is its best-seller, perfect finishing off the finest red-carpet suit or braving the Australian outback on the feet of its hardest-working cowboys. Handmade to order in Australia, it is R.M. Williams’ original craftsman boot.
The Chelsea boot is a staple in any well-dressed man’s wardrobe Chelsea-style boot with an ankle-high shaft and elasticated closures at either side of the ankle. With a chisel square toe and low-block heel, these boots are now marketed as a dress shoe, but Goodyear construction and a supple yet tough, one-piece leather upper means the Classic RM is true to its roots.
The star feature of this boot is the super comfortable, shock absorbing, oil resistant rubber sole, which is ready to wear all day, every day, no matter the weather. Comfort is the keyword here, with a poron layer underneath the leather innersole, and an added extra comfort heel pad. The Comfort Craftsman is the stylish boot you can wear to work, day-in and day-out, and then wear out over the weekend.
The Comfort Craftsman is made from Yearling leather, which is unique to the R.M. Williams brand, Most boot makers will opt for either Veal or Steer leather but Yearling is softer with a finer grain than Steerhide and is stronger and more durable than Veal.
Each pair comes complete with branded pull tabs, and signature ‘longhorn’ branding on the leather sole. They are also available with a ‘comfort inner’, making for easier everyday wear. Overall, they’re a pretty slim, uncomplicated boot that isn’t that formal but really finishes any outfit they’re worn with. They are worn by the Australian military and celebrities from Hugh Jackman to Harry Styles