Generally speaking, I wouldn’t call myself a boot guy. Sure, I have big ugly winter boots, but the only pair I’ve ever bought that could be considered vaguely fashionable are the Doc Martens I picked up about 15 years ago — and those are showing their age.
So, when a small Brooklyn shoe company called Bed|Stü sent me a pair of Riders, part of their Cobbler series, I wasn’t initially sure what I’d think. That is, until I tried them on.
A week later, I’ve worn them every day.
The Rider is a plain-toe boot, handcrafted from distressed, organic leather. Each one looks different and worn-in from day one. I expected I’d have to break in the boot (remembering my painful experience with the Docs), but the Rider was comfortable from the get go, probably due to the cork layer between the insole and outsole that molds to the foot.
The leather is slow-tanned with vegetable dyes, and my pair fits like an old, comfortable baseball glove. It’s not an especially formal boot, so it’s good to wear with jeans. But it’s nice enough, too, that it fits in perfectly at work.
Beyond its rugged good looks, I like Bed|Stü’s story:
“Starting in an old building converted into an office, design studio, and warehouse the brand began with the purpose of creating footwear inspired by the tough and resilient streets of Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. Over the years the company has grown into a diverse, creative, and fiercely independent group of people. People who intentionally don’t have job titles; they just do whatever it takes to get the job done. Boasting a cult following with fans, the brand offers classic styles with attitude. Each piece possesses the craftsmanship that Bed|Stü is known for as well as the diversity and identity of those wearing the product. At Bed|Stü it’s not about where you came from, it’s about where you’ve decided to go. And where we have decided to go is always ahead.”
Bed|Stü’s three lines are available online. The Rider lists at $200, which isn’t inexpensive — but hardly outrageous for a high-end, handmade boot that should last for years and will turn heads while you wear it.