I am going to kick myself for giving away this secret. Because I’ve been enjoying my cheap R.M. Williams boots for years.
The iconic boots have been kicking around the Australian outback since 1932. In recent years they’ve become a cult fashion item, thanks in part to those very limited edition gold boots that were a massive hit on Instagram — and still are.
And now we’ve got every second political trotting into Parliament House in a pair of R.M. Williams boots, and the likes of Hugh Jackman and the Hemsworth brothers fronting advertising campaigns.
The biggest selling point of the boots is that they’re very well made — and last a lifetime. Each boot is made from a single piece of leather, and you can even get custom-made boots if you have specific requirements. But that all doesn’t come cheap — R.M. Williams boots start at $595 a pair.
So how do you find a bargain?
The bootmakers at R.M. Williams set such a high standard that if any of the boots don’t make muster, they don’t make it to the shop floor. Instead, they end up at one of the company’s factory outlets. And that’s where you can find a real bargain — with a bit of luck and patience because you never know what’s going to be in stock.
I stumbled upon this utopia years ago during a visit to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, where the R.M. Williams stand (in amongst the Clydesdales, of course) has a whole range of seconds items on sale.
I got my boots (which I absolutely flog every winter) for under $200 a pair. In my case, both pairs were listed as seconds because they didn’t fit the custom order exactly. In other cases, sometimes the leather has slight damage or scuff marks, and that’s why they’re sold at a heavy discount.
This secret stash isn’t just in Sydney — R.M. Williams also has factory outlets in South Australia (home of the company), Victoria and Queensland, all with heavily discounted boots.
Hot tip: if you wear them to the bone, like I do, you can easily get them repaired at any R.M. Williams store.
I’ve had these black beauties resoled twice now. They get sent back to Adelaide where the bookmakers fit a brand new sole and heel, and when they come back you don’t even have to break the boots in because they’re already a comfy fit from years of wear.
Maybe just keep this secret sale between you and me, yeah?
This article has been updated since its original publish date.