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There is something tricky when purchasing a pair of Urban Shepherd Boots, even more so than other brands: sizing. Before getting the Country Boots, I got a hold of others who had a pair of Urban Shepherds already to inquire about how they determined which size was right for them. Usually I am a size 9 in boots and a 9.5 true-to-size, so I was fairly certain that a 9 would probably be the way to go. But I am glad I asked around! After many discussions with other customers, I had a variety of answers: "stay true-to-size, go with your Red Wing size, size up two sizes"... Quite confusing to say the least! I finally went with my standard 9 boot size.
Thankfully, getting the sizing right is the only real issue I have with my Country Boots. I love the red stitching (very well done) as it is quite attractive and unique. As a bonus, the threading is also waxed down to help keep loose threads at a minimum, something I have noticed to be an issue for some other boot brands at this price point. The anti-rust brass hardware is a personal favorite for me over nickel and the inclusion of cream, tan, and red laces makes it fun to try out different color combinations. I was thinking about getting some Pisgah Range LTD laces as I like to do the wrap-around-the-ankle look but the eyelets are a tad to small for regular boot laces. No matter, as the included laces are of really good quality (something that I cannot say about many other boots).
As for use, these have become my favorite boots at the moment. My love for natural leather boots has had me doing a heavy rotation of these, my John Doe Russet Horsehide Boots, and my Natural Chromexcel Delaware Boots by Parkhurst Brand. The Country Boots in particular are my go to in nasty weather as rain and moisture run right off of it. Scratches and scuffs easily buff out of the waxed leather and the more I wear them, the unique character of the boots begin to come alive. It is not an even patina, certain spots darken quicker (unlike my John Doe Shoe Boots that have been darkening fairly evenly) where there has been pressure, particularly around the vamp and tongue. The heel counter is another spot where the leather has started to darkened. For me, this characteristic of the leather can tell quite a story after many wears. Which is one of the reasons I have really gotten into natural leather.
A polarizing opinion about these boots will be the design. The cap toe has almost a trapezoid like shape and is quite short compared to my Red Wing Iron Rangers. Although not as bulbous, it is certainly not a dress boot. That might be off putting to some people and that's okay, one of the reasons I really love these boots is that they are quite unique. When most brands seem to be heading for that sleeker toe cap, hybrid dress/work boot style, Urban Shepherd Boots stay true to their roots and produce heirloom footwear that pays homage to the Portuguese workers and farmers. I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings for both these boots, and the brand.