Trend history: how rough boots came into fashion

Rough leather boots are a great wardrobe investment, and most importantly, versatile. In such shoes, you can safely go for a walk, appear at a party, go to a restaurant and at the same time not bother much with the style of the outfit. We tell you where the fashion for rough boots came from, who wore them and why they are so loved all over the world today.


How it all started

Rough boots were originally considered the uniform of the military. It is difficult to say who first created them, but the mass production of such shoes, only with a lighter sole, was launched in the 60s by Klaus Mertens, a young doctor of German origin. They named them, respectively, Dr. Martens. Thanks to natural leather, strong lacing and a thick sole, they sat tightly on the foot, providing maximum comfort when walking and minimum slipping on the road. The novelty was noticed by the British shoe company R. Griggs & Co and literally immediately signed an exclusive license with Mertens to produce the same sole.


Rough boots in the 90s

In the 90s, extremely comfortable rough boots became popular all over the world, including in Russia. Then they first hit the catwalk thanks to Japanese designers Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. They were followed by the Austrian designer Helmut Lang and the Antwerp Six, which brought together six Belgian fashion designers: Dries van Noten, Ann Demelmeister, Dirk van Saen, Walter van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yi. Fashion houses Gucci and Prada also joined the ranks of the pioneers, but presented more feminine versions of the famous model.

They wore rough boots with everything. Especially with short leather skirts, long lingerie-style dresses, flannel shirts, ripped tees, low-rise jeans, and any other piece that fits in with grunge, street style, and minimalism. Such images could often be seen on Britney Spears, Kate Moss, Madonna, Gwen Stefani and the Spice Girls.


How rough boots came back into fashion

In the 2000s, sales of rough boots began to fall, as subcultures were the main buyers. A decade later, manufacturing brands decided to expand their audience. The underlined versatility of rough boots has been noticed again, and today they can be safely attributed to the must-have list. Many global brands, including Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, Saint Laurent, Celine, Chloé and Lanvin, exploit them with might and main on the catwalks. Celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Rihanna, Agyness Dean and Miley Cyrus wear them to any event and just for a walk.

When choosing rough boots, first of all, you need to focus on quality. Shoes must be made of genuine leather, only in this case it can last more than one season. You can find a matching pair on the R.M.Williams website. For the manufacture of boots, the company uses only natural materials and natural dyes that do not irritate the skin and do not make the feet sweat profusely. They do not deform and easily take the shape of the foot, so you can walk in such shoes for hours and not feel tired.

Why are we extremely lucky with this trend?


  1. Such shoes are very comfortable, subject to the right selection: the right size, suitable fullness and quality of materials.
  2. Rough women’s boots are good for any age – it doesn’t matter if you choose a pair for yourself or, for example, a mother or a teenage child.
  3. They are appropriate in most cases: a walk, a date, a party, and even the office. The main thing is that the image as a whole corresponds to the situation.
  4. Boots masterfully fit into various styles, you do not have to update your wardrobe for them. Moreover, they are able to perform two opposite functions: to be an accent in the image or, conversely, to organically and gently complement an already established bow.
  5. And this, to our happiness, is a long-term trend. This means that the thing will definitely remain relevant in the near future. You can safely invest in such a pair, because many of these trends are becoming classics.


Rough boots in a women’s wardrobe


A fashionable pair will perfectly complement your everyday look: your favorite jeans with a T-shirt and a sweater, informal trousers with a hoodie or a midi-length jersey dress with a denim jacket. The combination of comfortable things with rough boots will give the output a practical and at the same time stylish look. By the way, boots can be worn with another trendy item – a shirt with patch pockets.


Romantic look

We are already used to wearing flowy dresses with sneakers, now we are learning to combine them with massive boots. There are many fears about such a mix, but we are sure that it is not only fashionable, but also feminine. Rough boots will visually make you smaller, so light dresses and flying skirts will look much more tender.


New classic

If you are tired of office monotony, dilute formal suits with massive boots. However, it is worth considering the nuances:

At work, it is more appropriate to wear shoes with thin soles with a minimum number of decorative elements.

The color scheme should also be restrained. Take a closer look at the models in black, gray, brown or beige.

To balance the volume of the upper and lower parts of the bow, a jacket “from the male shoulder” will help. 

There is another unexpected but relevant combination: rough boots and Bermuda shorts, but this option is possible if your dress code allows some liberties.


Sport chic

This style involves a mix of sports items with something catchy and trendy. For example, you can make an outlook from a sports suit, leather jackets and those very rough women’s boots. As an option: pair massive shoes with a tennis skirt and a voluminous hoodie. Pay attention to models of boots with decorative elements – this is appropriate in sport chic.



Choosing this style as the basis of the image, you can forget about asceticism. A whole arsenal of details is used: rivets, straps, zippers, buckles, spikes and even contrast lacing. A fashionable pair can be on a super-thick or “tractor” sole. In order to make a grunge look, it is not necessary to combine boots with a biker jacket, you can put on leather joggers and wrap a voluminous dark scarf around your neck.


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