As a Canadian boot-wearer, lusting over White’s, Nicks, Wesco, and other American bootmakers on Instagram is a dangerous and often costly endeavor. Even Indonesian boots come with added costs — after the exchange rate and the added $50-60 shipping costs, we are often subject to $50+ extra in duty charges no matter where the boot comes from.
It pays, then, to look within our own borders in an attempt to find the best boots that are made in Canada.
Below are some examples of Canadian boot makers that are more than worth a try, regardless of which side of the 49th parallel you call home.
1. Boulet Boots
Founded in 1933 in St. Tite, Quebec, as the St-Tite Shoe Company, Boulet was soon awarded a contract through the Department of National defense to make boots for the Armed Forces. The brand expanded their manufacturing in the 60’s to become the first Canadian company to specialize in Western boots. The Boulet family has continued to expand production, with the 4th generation joining the company in the 2010’s. The company now employs over 200 people producing over 200,000 pairs annually.
While they offer primary Western boots, they do have a casual line as well. Their 8900 series boots feature full grain uppers, leather lining, Goodyear welts, stacked leather heels, and a variety of Vibram outsoles, all for under $300 CAD. Their Hillbilly Golden Leather above patinas beautifully and looks great with jeans or business casual outfits.
2. Canada West
Family owned and operated since 1978, Canada West Boots manufactures a variety of footwear out of their Winnipeg, MB based factory. In addition to The WM Moorby Signature Series, which features their heritage lineup, they also offer work, Western and biker boots.
Their WM Moorby boots use Vibram soles and imported leathers, and they come in roomy E to EEE widths depending on the last. The Moorby 2817 is essentially a Northern Iron Ranger, with cap toe, speed hooks and Vibram 430 sole and comes in at $320 CAD (100 less than the IR).
Dayton boots began in 1946 and was quickly heralded as the best made logging boot in the country. In the 1960’s they began using the Goodyear welt in addition to their hand nailed boots. To this day, Dayton is renowned for their tough construction and lifetime warranty.
Their Service Boot is based on a Canadian Military Design and is offered in D through EEE widths, as well as made-to-order widths. They also offer a Parade Brogue boot that features a toe cap and kiltie, giving it an elegant and refined look. Their website also makes a point to add,
We refuse to use leatherboard, cardboard, plastic, fabric/synthetic liners or foam or gel fillers.
Though not necessarily an outlier in the heritage footwear sphere, it’s nice to hear.
Unfortunately, Dayton recently had to close their factory store and limit production due to staffing issues. Dayton is an iconic Canadian brand and we hope that they can return to their previous levels of success.
Edwin Viberg immigrated to Canada from Sweden and began making shoes for logging camps out of his leather goods shop in Shellbrook Saskatchewan at the age of 21. In 1949 when the logging camps headed further West Edwin followed suit and continued to make shoes. Edwin suffered a stroke that forced him into retired, and in the 80s he handed the reigns over to his son Glen.
Viberg soon began gaining a stronghold in the Japanese fashion scene that sought out American made workwear. In 2007, Edwin’s grandson Brett formally joined the company and was instrumental in developing and refining the Viberg Service Boot, based off boot that had been out of production for over 40 years.
Today the Viberg Service Boot is a grail amongst many boot enthusiasts, and at over $700, an unnecessary extravagance by others. Available in an array of lasts, toe structures and leathers, including Horween Chromexcel and Shell Cordovan.
Look out for their seasonal drops, including single-piece Shell Cordovan loafers/slippers and Italian style hiking boots.
The Best Canadian Winter Boots
Yes! Canada makes winter (read: ugly) boots, too.
It gets cold in Canada. Who knew? And unfortunately there comes a time during the dead of winter when your Goodyear welted boots with leather liners just won’t do the trick. It’s time to pull on your wool socks and lace up your winter boots. Here are some Canadian-made alternatives to Timberland and Sorel.
[Related: The Best Winter Boots for Men That Actually Look Good]
100% Canadian Made has been a promise made by Anfibio since their inception in 1968. Anfibio boots are the Canadian equivalent of Timberland boots–not ugly persay, but purpose built for warmth and comfort. They feature microfibre, wool and shearling linings, along with full grain leather uppers.
The Nordik comes in at $430 CAD and has a rolldown shearling collar and gusseted tongue for better waterproofing. The boots have glued down commando soles, not uncommon in snow boots, so resoling might be an issue.
Pajar boots begin in Montreal in 1963. While the majority of their production has moved overseas, The Canadian Heritage Collection is still made in Montreal. Their bestselling winter boot, the Alex G, is 6-inch ankle boot with a Leather and nubuck upper. Lined with Shearling sheepskin, many of the brand’s heritage offerings will keep your toes toasty through the harsh winters — some even have outsoles with a retractable ice gripping spike system that is designed to help grip in icy conditions, but not destroy your floors.
Canada faces many of the same production and labour issues that have affected the United States: a shortage of skilled labour and rising costs have caused many brands to send production elsewhere. I encourage all of our readers to consider patronizing some of these Canadian brands and help keep our iconic brands alive.
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