Truman Boot Company Review – Are They Worth Nearly $500?

Truman Boot Company is an Oregon-based brand founded in Pennsylvania by Vince Romano, who named the company after the border collie that adorns all their shoeboxes to this day.

Founded in 2014, Truman don’t offer a huge amount of aesthetically different styles, they have a great reputation for innovative leathers. What’s on offer depends on the season and whatever Romano feels like offering, but we’ve seen everything from moose leather to turquoise suede topping their heavy, functional builds. There’s no other company blending such eye-catching leathers with traditionally rugged, dare-we-say masculine patterns. 

Don’t worry, not all of their leathers are turquoise suede. There are plenty of traditional blacks and browns that include the boot we’re looking at today, which is their most popular: the Java Waxed Flesh. 

Since this is the boot that I’ve found to be the most frequently discussed over on Reddit, I decided to try it out.

The Pros and Cons of Truman Boots

Got somewhere to be? Here’s a quick summary of this review so you can make your decision.


  • Thick leather and robust construction, these are everything-proof boots
  • Completely made in USA
  • Grippy sole
  • Water resistant and easy to resole
  • Rare, innovative leathers
Tough as Nails
Truman Boot Co. Java Waxed Flesh

This very robust boot only gets better with age, plus Truman one of the few companies still making all their footwear in the USA.

Check Best Price More Truman Boots
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.


  • Extremely expensive
  • Can’t be dressed up
  • Takes 6 – 8 weeks to be made and shipped

truman java boot outside

Truman Boot Company First Glance

  • Chunky tank of a boot
  • Classic round toe, forgiving on many foot types
  • Thick, waxed leather
  • Commando sole
  • Stitchdown construction

Truman currently offers three different lasts, meaning three shapes the boots are built on, and this boot is on their 79 last. It’s fairly stout and round at the toe, a far cry from the slimmer, dressier boots popular among the skinny jeansed man.

A meaty boot with a structured toe, it comes with rawhide laces and a chunky Commando sole to add to the rugged aesthetic. “Thick and chunky” are the main words that come to mind when describing the boot overall, particularly the heel counter, which is unusually wide.

While my older pair was made with stitchdown construction, today’s Trumans are made with a 270-degree flat Goodyear welt that allows for easy resoleing and terrific water resistance.

To sum up: the leather is thick, the sole is heavy, and these are just a pair of boots you just want to immediately take outside and abuse. (In a good way.)

truman java waxed flesh counter

Truman Boot Company’s Java Waxed Flesh Leather

  • Waxed roughout leather
  • Exclusive color from Horween
  • Vegetable tanned
  • Very resistant to scratching

This is the Java Waxed Flesh, an exclusive leather for Truman that’s produced by Horween Leather Company. Widely considered America’s best tannery, Horween is based in Chicago and are probably best known to boot lovers as the makers of Chromexcel®, a combination-tanned leather that Truman uses on many of their boots in several colors. 

But this is a vegetable-tanned roughout leather. That means it’s made inside out: the smooth side of the leather is on the inside, the rough side is turned out. Note that this isn’t the same as suede, which is thinner because it’s been split. Roughout is your standard thick leather that’s just been turned over, and it was very common in World War 2 service boots because it’s far harder to scratch and requires next to no leather care. (Who wants to carry Venetian Shoe Cream all over Normandy?) There’s a good case to be made that roughout should be the go-to for hard wearing boots.

There’s a good case to be made that roughout should be the go-to for hard wearing boots.

This leather is made even tougher by coating it in wax, which makes it more water resistant and, if we say so ourselves, cooler looking. Once the wax wears away, you can reapply it using the exact same technique we outlined in our guide to waxing suede. Basically, you heat a bar of Otter Wax and scrape it on.

But many guys love waxed flesh because it’s a challenge: only by wearing the boots hard and long will you wear away the wax and reveal the fuzzy nap beneath. The result is this gorgeous patina you see below — which many guys would consider sacrilege to rewax. Your boots are plenty weatherproof without a fresh layer if you want to wear yout patina with pride.

java waxed flesh boots patina
Image courtesy of Truman Boot Co

Truman’s Commando Sole

  • Commando sole
  • Designed for hiking
  • Not dressy, very grippy
  • Leather midsole and insole
  • Goodyear welt

This is a Commando sole, patented by Vibram and widely considered the classic sole for working or hiking. It’s not remotely formal or dressy, but it’s very grippy and functional.

(Not so fun fact: Italian inventor Vitale Bramante invented this sole after six of his friends died in a climbing accident in the 1930s. He made this sole because he thought they wouldn’t have died if they had grippier shoes.)

After the Commando sole you’ve got a leather midsole and a leather insole with a steel shank sandwiched between them for stability. This is a very popular, old fashioned way of making ultra tough boots — there’s no shock absorbing sneaker foam to be found here.  

As mentioned earlier, my older Trumans are stitchdown but these days they’re made with Goodyear welts, the default construction for quality boots. Ultra water resistant and easy to resole, these boots will be with you, sole after sole, for decades. 

truman boot company counter

Truman Boot Company Sizing & Fit

  • This boot comes in D and EE widths
  • Sizes 7-14
  • Fits roughly true to size
  • Not much of a break in
  • Very large, thick counter

The sizes can change at any time but right now they run from 7 to 14 in D, and EE widths. I’m a tiny bit bigger than 11.5 on a Brannock device (what you measure your feet with in a shoe store) and the 11.5 fit well. 

Note that your sneakers are probably a half size bigger than your true size and most boots are a half size smaller than your true size. I’m a 12 in sneakers and an 11 in Red Wing and Thursday boots. With Truman, I’m 11.5. 

These particular boots are made on the 79 last. Here’s how Truman describes their three men’s lasts:

  • 79: “It has a classic round toe used in the majority of our boot construction. The D (Standard) width last is very forgiving to many foot types.”
  • 20: “A bulkier last with a snug fitting heel. Lots of room in the toe and fore part of the boot (…) Good arch support too.”
  • 55: “A narrow last with an almond-shaped toe, the 55 last has a sleeker, more low-profile aesthetic than our original 79 last.”

On the outdoorsy 79 last, the fit is roomy, making it well. suited for work and movement. Just remember that more voluminous boots like these are awful hard to dress up, even in business casual environments. For that, you could look at their boots made on the 55 last, which you should order a half size larger than the 79.

[Further reading: The Ultimate Guide to How Boots Should Fit]

truman java waxed toecap

Truman Boot Company Price

  • $480

When I bought my pair in 2018, I paid $440. Today it’s $480.

For an American made boot with this level of craftsmanship, it’s pretty damn good value. While they’re no longer made with extra laborious stitchdown construction, the kind of leather and skill (and aesthetic) that goes into these boots isn’t far from a lot of Nicks Boots, which are practically all over $500 and take up to 35 weeks to be made.

For Trumans to be made it takes just 6 to 8 weeks.

Tough as Nails
Truman Boot Co. Java Waxed Flesh

This very robust boot only gets better with age, plus Truman one of the few companies still making all their footwear in the USA.

Check Best Price More Truman Boots
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

truman java waxed flesh sole.jpg

Wrapping Up

These are solid-ass boots. While they’re not super versatile, they look excellent dressed down and are ready for any kind of wear you want to throw at them while being decidedly more aesthetically pleasing than your average work boot. 

They’ll age extremely well, they’ll do great in the yard or with jeans at a bar, the sole is tough as nails and very durable, and the fact that they’re made in America from start to finish is very satisfying — and helps to justify the cost.

The following two tabs change content below.

Nick English

By day: Manhattan-based journalist with reporting experience on four continents, published in Vice, Men's Health, Popular Science, and a bunch of other places.By night: ravenous consumer of anything and everything related to high end men's boots.Stridewise is where I nurture a maniacal obsession with footwear and share my findings. Say hey: [email protected].

26 thoughts on “Truman Boot Company Review – Are They Worth Nearly $500?”

  1. “Truman are happy to take returns”

    debatable. be careful if you say something bad on social media, they may call you out and block you on Instagram.

  2. Hi Nick, Great review! There have been changes made to this boot since you posted your review so I thought I’d post them here in case you wanted to update your review or just leave this as a reference to future readers.

    The Truman Java Waxed Flesh is now made with a 270 degree Storm Goodyear welt.

    The boot has two speed hooks along with five eyelets.

    The Truman Boot Company is now based in Eugene, Oregon, which is cool as I grew up there.

  3. You’re welcome Nick! I’m new to boots and am researching which brand and model I want to purchase as my first pair. Your site has been a big help! One thing I haven’t been able to learn yet anywhere is the relative comfort of boots like this Truman or a White’s MP-Sherman (my favorite so far). I wear dress shoes for work (Cole Haan Oxfords). Is the comfort level of these boots similar to dress shoes?

    • No, these boots are heavier and the leather is thicker. They’re more sturdy than dress shoes and conform more to the shape of your foot, but it takes longer. Less comfy at first, more comfy as they age.

  4. A couple of corrections; Vibram is pronounced VEE-brahm after Vitale Bramani’s Italian name (not Bramante) and they have no patent on the stars and bars sole design. There are many good and not so good soles out there that look identical to the design he originated. If it was a Vibram sole, it would say so, generally with their yellow octagon, which IS patented.

  5. Just got my first Truman Boots, Cognac shrunken bison upland. These are amazing. Beautiful leather, great design and construction. Yes worth the $$$

    • Truman’s had a real interesting evolution since I published this article! I think I’d say they have the most interesting leathers in the biz, at least in the US.

    • The boots are actually $420 now — I just updated the article! Alternatives would be White’s and Nick’s, though they’re all more expensive. Mark Albert might be up your alley, though!

  6. I have been thinking of getting a pair of waxed roughout boots or maybe doing something with my roughout Wescos, so I just looked up the two treatments listed, Bickmore and Smiths, and both say not to use on roughout or suede! Furthermore, I don’t understand why you couldn’t re-wax these boots with some SnoSeal or similar beeswax treatment. It’s irritating that so many of the people you’d think were leather experts, like the boot companies and the boot oil/conditioner/treatment companies don’t seem to know a damn thing more than anyone else.

  7. So I’ve got a philosophy about supporting old school industries and I am a leather maker so I decided to buy a couple of boots from you instead of rm Williams seeing as I’m in Australia to support craft that will be lost. It’s been 14 weeks of waiting and I paid for freight and guess what. I get slugged for $266 for my 2 boots to be released from customs. I’m so pissed off that I don’t even want them anymore. All my friends are laughing and asking why I even bought shoes from you

    • I mean you didn’t buy them from *me* you bought them from Truman! And yes, importing GYW boots from America to Australia is a ghastly expensive proposition, I’m afraid!

  8. I looked at Truman Boots but they do NOT accept returns on EE width boots which I confirmed when speaking to them, so they are a nonstarter for me and I stick with companies which do allow for returns for these widths (White’s, Grant Stone, Allen Edmonds, etc.)

  9. I’m debating on getting a pair of Truman’s in the Noble Ink Rambler but I am skeptical from some of the things I am reading. Wondering if the $460 is worth it or if I should just stick to Grantstone, Parkhurst, and Wolverine 1000 mile boots.

    • They’re definitely better than Wolverines and as for the other brands, I mean Grant Stone and Parkhurst are totally different vibes to Truman. Trumans are chunkier work horse type boots, so it’s a bit like apples and oranges!

  10. It’s impossible to discuss Truman without discussing their often contentious relationship that they can have with their customers. After experiencing some growing pains where the quality of construction took a significant dive, the owner would often personally go on reddit, Instagram, twitter, and other locations to attack his customers personally for voicing their concern with the product (including myself). If bad reviews were posted, they would often only be willing to fix problems with the shoes only if the review was taken down entirely rather than updated (again, this was part of the offer given to me with this particular pair of boots).
    You said some horrible stuff to me you prick
    Over a minor complaint that was easily fixed. I don’t care what kind of leather you use or how well you build your boots.
    Some day you get yours you will talk you middle school no anger management crap on someone and get you ars beat like you deserve

    Stay away from the company it’s more that the product it’s whom making the product. This company is garbage when it comes to good people tgat care about there customers
    Too many other great boot companies out there that have great customer service

  11. Hey Nick, took the plunge and ordered a pair of Truman Java waxed flesh with the 20 last 2 months ago and just got them yesterday. Wow, these are great boots, the toe box and fore foot fit perfectly. There was a little slippage in the heal area but no more than my grant stones when I first got them and I sure it will correct itself after the boots are broken in. I have to say, they were quite comfortable right out the box. Truman boots recommended that I keep the same size as my redwing moc toes 875 (9D) and they were spot on. They are a heavier boot but because the fit was so good, I really didn’t notice it. I can already see that these will now become my go-to boot for jeans and a t-shirt. Sorry Redwing! As for the 20 last, I was afraid the boots might end up looking a little like a clown shoe…well they actually look great, quite manly. I love the extra toe space to wiggle my toes, sort of like my Jim Green African rangers. This has to be one of the best purchases that I made in boots.

    • I thought you said 20 months ago and I was like damn that’s a long lead time. Patrick, I’m delighted you found boots you love, that’s what this is all about. Truman are terrific, I really need to do an update on this review because I know they’ve updated their last. You’ve inspired me to reach out to them and get that ball rolling. Again, congrats on the boots!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.