The date was October 17, 2019, I was mindlessly scrolling through my instagram feed when I was stopped by a pair of boots I didn’t recognize. A quick tap and lo and behold, a brand I had never heard of! Usually I am excited to find a new brand, but this time I felt shame. As a proud ketchup chip eating, double denim wearing, hockey playing, maple syrup imbibing, red and white blooded Canadian, how was I just hearing of Canada West’s WM Moorby boots for the first time?
Having owned other Goodyear welted, heritage style boots, I was intrigued by the discovery of a Canadian made product that definitely checked a lot of boxes for me. I jumped to the web to see what I could find out.
Canada West is a family run business three generations deep. They have been making safety and western boots in Winnipeg, Manitoba since 1978. Over the years they have added new models and styles to their lineup. In more recent years, the WM Moorby signature series was developed to address the need for a casual lace up boot.
The company website doesn’t provide many details about the product; a picture and three or four bullet points is all you’re going to get. Not really the rabbit hole I was prepared to dive down. One tab that did initiate my expedition was the retailer section. Since Canada West does not sell direct to consumer (apart from the factory outlet in Winnipeg), they rely on a network of retailers across the country. Many of these retailers are also small family run businesses, like Herbert’s Boots where I eventually purchased mine from. Through the retailers page, I located a stockist in my area and went to try on some boots with the plan to purchase if they fit. They did not fit. I left empty handed. That’s a lie, I had a donut in my hand. So, no boots, but not entirely empty handed.
The first store I went to only had a small sampling so I was unable to find a pair in the correct size. Sizing with the Moorby line can be difficult because they run large and are only available in wide widths. Luckily I am an E verging on EE width, so with some persistence and help I was able to dial in my fit.
[Related: The 14 Best Canadian Boot Brands]
WM Moorby Fit & Sizing on the no. 471 last
- EE width, nice fit for wider feet
- Roomy instep
- ½ size down from brannock if you are an E or EE
- Likely a full size down if you are a D width
- Round toe with a medium profile and slight bump
The WM Moorby line comes in E, EE and EEE widths, based on individual models. This means that each model comes in one available width. The E last (805) has an almond shaped toe and is available in 4 models; one service style boot, one postman shoe and two oxfords. The EE last (471) is available in 6 models; all lace up boots with a round toe. The EEE last (9367) is also a round toe but with a higher profile toe box and is available in 6 models; one hiker, one lace to toe, two chukkas, and two Blacksmithesque lace ups.
If we are talking Brannock, I’m a 9E/EE. I also have a high arch and instep, giving me an overall high volume foot. Based on this, I often have to wear true to size E or ½ size down EE. Knowing my fit and based on advice from the fine folks at Herbert’s Boots, I went with a ½ size down in a EE last. I’m writing this during the time of Covid, so this consultation was over the phone but the advice was spot on and these are definitely the best fitting boots in my collection. They have a nice roomy instep and the extra width is perfect for me. If you are a standard width it is likely that you’ll need to go down a full size and avoid the EEE models.
The specific model I purchased is the 2801, a 6” lace up in Pecan Tumbled leather. In addition to a great fit (for wider feet), the Moorby 2801 has some nice details that add to the incredible value.
[Related: The 10 Best Boots for Wide Feet]
Moorby 2801 features
- Vibram 430 outsole
- Built heel with full rubber top lift
- Cork filling
- Steel shank
- 270 degree Goodyear welt
- Sturdy leather with a nice grain (it’s chrome tanned then given a healthy dose of oils and waxes)
- Partially gusseted tongue
- 9 brass eyelets
- Fully leather lined interior
- Brogue detailing and unique back strip
Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up. The outsole is a high quality, industry standard Vibram 430. It provides great grip and is a very comfortable outsole in my opinion. One thing to be aware of, the mini lugs on the 430 collect a lot of dirt and small stones. The heel is a built/stacked heel with a full rubber top lift which looks great and provides a nice contrast to the rugged elements of the boot. It has a 270 degree goodyear welt, making it water resistant and resoleable. The welt stitching is very neatly done and finished with a clear edge dressing.
The cavity between the outsole and insole is filled with cork and has a steel shank embedded for support. I haven’t heard back from the company about the cushioned insole, but I was able to find someone in a forum that received the following information: The insole is a needle punched poron, sandwiched between felt underneath and leather on top, creating an overall thickness of about 6mm. There is also a removable heel cushion for added comfort. I left mine in, and after a couple months of heavy wear, I am happy with how the insole and heel cushion have taken the shape of my foot. I would prefer a full leather insole, but this is not an option with these boots.
The leather for the uppers is sourced from Mexico. I was hoping that the leather would be sourced from Canada or USA to keep things as close to home as possible but for $275CAD I was not surprised at this news, and models are available with leather from America’s Horween Leather Company.
The 2801 model uses a chrome tanned leather called Pecan Tumbled, that is then run through a stuffing process where they pack it with various oils and waxes to make the leather more water resistant and resilient. I will say that the Pecan Tumbled leather is of a high quality and is incredibly sturdy and durable. I have not experienced any loose grain with my boots and can already see some nice creasing and patination that reflects the wear I’ve put on them.
The biggest issue I have with these boots is the tongue. While great care has been taken to design and construct a solid, well made boot, the partially gusseted tongue is a thin, poor quality piece of leather. It seems very out of place when compared to the rest of the components. I tried adding some false tongues to beef things up a bit but it made the instep too snug.
The interior is fully leather lined and extremely comfortable. The break in process was tough due to the solid construction and sturdy leather but the leather lining and great fit helped me get through it. It took a couple of weeks for the forefoot and quarters to break in but I didn’t get any blisters.
Since the boot is fully lined, the heel counter can be placed internally, allowing for a back strip instead of a large heel stay. Canada West took this opportunity to get creative and design a fantastic back strip with a nice curvature and unique dagger shaped stitching. This model also has some nice brogue detailing where the quarter is sewn onto the vamp. These details really help the 2801 stand out from other boots in the Goodyear welted, affordable price point category.
Canada West WM Moorby Care
Canada West recommends using a beeswax based product when caring for the Pecan Tumbled leather. Mink oil will also work but beeswax based products will maintain a good balance between conditioning and providing water resistance. Since I’m keeping things Canadian, I have some Canadian Beeseal ready to go when it’s needed.
Canada West Moorby 2801 Price
A pair of these boots will run you around $275 CAD (approx $225 USD).
The quality you get for this price makes it an incredible value. Definitely the best made in Canada or USA Goodyear welted boot I’ve been able to find at this price.
Canada West Moorby Pros & Cons
- Solid Construction
- Very comfortable
- Goodyear welted
- Great fit for individuals with wider feet
- Water resistant
- Made in Canada
- Unbeatable price
- No D width available
- Hard to find information about the company and product
- Can be difficult to try on in person, especially outside of Canada
- There is no midsole aside from the cork filler
- The tongue is thin and made from a poorer quality leather
I am happy to report that order has been restored and all’s right with the world. Well, all is right with my world at least. I have a pair of Canada West WM Moorby boots that fit well, will last a lifetime, and look great! On top of all that, they ring in at an affordable price so that I have plenty of money left over for back bacon and long underwear.
A big thanks to Canada West for making these solid boots in my home and native land, and thank you to all of you for joining me once again,
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