Heritage and craftsmanship
Since 1932, R.M.Williams has been fitting the feet of the world over, producing boots of outstanding handcrafted quality that exude authenticity and deliver comfort and classic Australian style. R.M.Willams' commitment to sourcing the world's finest leathers and premium materials - and placing them in the hands of the country's best craftspeople - ensures our boots are nothing but the best.
Behind every pair of boots are a pair of hands. 80 pairs in fact. Here, we’d like to introduce you to a few members of the R.M.Williams family so that when you pull on your boots, you’ll know it’s an investment, not a purchase. And we’ll know we didn’t just make a boot, we crafted one.
Station 1: selecting the leather
Choosing the right piece of leather
Our Craftsman boots are handcrafted from fine grain leather that’s tough enough to make a long-lasting pair of boots, but soft and supple enough to guarantee comfort and durability. Each hide is carefully examined for premium quality and natural character, and that’s something that can’t be done by a machine.
‘We carefully select and assess every hide for premium quality. You want to see some natural character and light. It needs to be soft and tough enough to make a pair of our iconic boots.’
Kosta, 26 years at RMW
Step 7: clicking
Each boot starts as a single piece of the finest quality leather before 80 sets of hands shape it into an Australian icon. Our craftsmen and women cut out the unique shape using a sharp steel-blade and exceptional precision.
‘Clicking is a critical process as our boots are handcrafted from one piece of the finest quality leather. With a single click, our boot’s iconic and timeless design begins to take shape.’
Danny, 22 years at RMW
Station 8: blocking
The shape defining moment
The subtle ridge that runs down the centre shaft of every Craftsman boot is a characteristic hallmark of the blocking process. Created when the leather is clamped in a set of heated jaws to form the curved boot shape, it’s also a visual sign of quality.
‘No one blocks the way we do. Our blocking process puts quite a lot of stress on the leather, so we only use premium material that will maintain its strength and natural character.’
Eddie, 7 years at RMW
Station 18: twin needle stitch
Strength and character
Twin needle stitching secures the distinctive side elastics that adds character and mould to your foot for the ultimate fit. This is the only visible line on the boot, and it’s crafted with a steady hand and an eye for perfection. The heavy-duty elastic used in our Craftsman boots is made especially for R.M.Williams boots.
‘Twin needle stitching gives the upper its distinctive design. It adds strength and character to the boot, and it’s the only visible line, so it needs to be extremely precise.’
Cassie, 8 years at RMW
Station 26: inserting and pressing tugs
The iconic embroidered tugs have been a distinctive feature of R.M.Williams boots since the beginning, allowing our boots to be easily pulled onto the foot. We hand press them securely into position at the front and back of the ankle before they are stitched into place.
‘R.M.Williams tugs are our trademark identity. They’re an iconic feature of our boots that have been crafted with purpose, adding character and all-important wearability.’
Allison, 3 years at RMW
Station 28: stitching of tugs
There’s only one way to pull on a pair of Craftsmans – by slipping your finger through the loops of the signature woven tugs. The tugs are crafted with purpose to evenly spread the strain and maintain the boot’s iconic shape. Firmly stitched between the leather upper and lining, they finish off the single seam that closes the heel ready for soling.
‘The stitching from the back tugs down to the heel encloses the single piece of leather and forms a visible backbone adding strength and durability.’
Shirley, 21 years at RMW
Station 42: hand lasting
Made to last
While every Craftsman has the classic chisel toe, hand lasting over the instep and through the waist helps to achieve the correct level of tension for the right size and fit. Our lasters work by feel, harnessing the supple qualities of the leather to mould it into shape.
‘There’s a real connection between the craftsman and the boot. It’s the hands that shape the boot that makes the difference.’
Frank, 6.5 years at RMW
Hand burnishing brings out the true characteristics of leather, creating boots that are as unique as the landscape that helped to shape them. It takes patience and skill, and our artisans have been taught by Italy’s finest how to patiently buff and polish the hide in order to coax out the rich colours.
‘The Burnished Collection adds to the artisan quality of our handcrafted boots. Burnishing is a form of art, and I feel proud to be a craftswoman continuing this precious skill in Australia.’
Cherie, 12 years at RMW
Station 53: sole stitching
Boots with sole
Quality soles sewn with a leather welt strip are the foundation of our Craftsman boots. The traditional construction method is also the critical design feature that allows well-worn boots to be returned to new in our workshop.
‘The stitches around the sole give the boot extra character and a classier, more polished look. Stitching it’s a precise skill with only a few of us trained to use those machines, which makes the boots even more special.’
Kieren, 7 years at RMW
Station 66: sole staining
The smooth skin of the leather sole is finely sanded before the signature red gum stain is applied by hand. A spray of lacquer adds shine, and the entire surface is polished until it glows like the red earth of the Australian landscape.
‘The paint on the sole is unique; it reflects the red earth of the Australian outback and marks the beginning of your own journey.’
Luke, 3 years at RMW
Signing of Signature Craftsman
Signature of style
Every leather sole is stamped in gold with our cursive script and iconic Longhorn logo. The Signature Craftsman made from the finest French veal calf leather goes an extra step with a fine brass plaque and the personal signature of the R.M.Williams Master Craftsman - our most senior boot maker. It’s the ultimate seal of approval.
‘In this workshop, we work with the natural character of the leather. Human hands are the best tools we have, and we don’t make boots; we craft them. I feel privileged every single time I get to sign a pair of R.M.Williams boots.’
Steve, Master Craftsman, 27 years at RMW
Station 68: socking and quality control
The last details
Once a leather heel sock is fixed inside, the entire boot is cleaned, buffed, polished and finished to the highest standard before its final inspection. We’re confident that your boots will stand up to the ultimate test; your test of time.
‘The craftsmen and women in this workshop feel a strong connection to the leather, which is based on a perfectly orchestrated combination of carefully run processes and great skills.’
Vanessa, 20 years at RMW