Just the Comfiest Boots in the World - the R.M. Williams Craftsman in Kangaroo Leather Review
Kangaroos, eh? They're not just good for jumping around and making a nuisance of themselves - they also make an excellent pair of boots (that is, they are made into an excellent pair of boots: I doubt their cobbler skills are much to write home about).
These are a bit of an anomaly in my collection - aside from my Saint Crispin's they are the only non-British made pair that I own.
R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman
Dark brown kangaroo leather
Size 9.5, G width (regular)
The manifold delights of Kangaroo leather
Kangaroo is a soft and supple leather - compared to calf leather the difference is really night and day. As you slip these on you can feel the leather mould around your foot - you can see from the side photos how soft that leather is, as the heel stiffener section causes a notable protrusion in the leather around the heel.
The leather is somewhat prone to crinkling and creasing - it deforms completely when flexing and walking, compared to calf leather which you would expect to broadly maintain its shape except at the flex point. It does bounce back when resting, but you would definitely want to ensure they are kept with shoe trees or they could look really bad in the long run.
On close inspection, Kangaroo has a noticeable grain to it, but it keeps a surprisingly good polish, even if the leather immediately creases as soon as you move past the toe.
The toe is attractively chiselled - it's a good middle ground between a completely casual rounded toe and the much more formal looking Gaziano & Girling approach to Chelsea boots.
The elasticated gussets at the side are a more tobacco-brown that nicely contrasts the darker shade of the leather. The gussets are also attractively asymmetrical, dipping slightly lower at the front.
They feature R.M. William's iconic double pull tabs - the front with the brand name and address, and the back sporting "made in Australia". The double pull tab, it must be said, is a vastly superior way to get a pull-on boot on compared to a single back tab.
The boots are wholecut from a single piece of leather - it's an important feature for a Chelsea boot, which can look really messy with additional side seams. The back stitching is neat, though there are a couple of points around the edge of the elastic which are a bit messier, presumably for reinforcement reasons.
They were neatly resoled by a local cobbler - I believe they originally had a composite rubber sole.
Overall, a strong recommendation from me and one to keep an eye out for on eBay. New pairs typically range from £200-ish on eBay, though well-worn pairs can be had for half that.