Get stamping! Get stomping! Get cleated-sole clomping! Because, while you may draw discreet, covert connotations from its military name, the ‘Commando’ sole is a statement design — developed to turn heads and tackle terrains in equal rubber-ridged measure.
Developed in the 1930s, the ‘Itshide’ Commando sole was the first of its heavy-duty kind — and was adopted by the British Army as a way to keep troops tooled-up and kitted-out for even the most hostile landscapes. Thanks to its thick, knobbly tread and oversized look, the style has fashionably forged its way into the 21st century, and today can be found on all manner of footwear, from loafers to Chelsea boots. Here are some of the best to buy…
Break in a pair of Commando boots
Like a Goodyear-welted match made in hard-wearing heaven, Commando soles and well-built boots are the bread-and-butter of the rugged footwear world. Find a pair that securely attaches these capable cleated treads onto quality leather uppers, and you’ll be lacing up and stepping out in them for years to come.
Take Crockett & Jones, for example. These ‘Snowdon’ boots feature waterproof oak wax-hide uppers and bellows tongues. From Church’s, the ‘McFarlane’ style boasts brogue detailing, natural-finish grain leather and double-speed eyelets for ease. And, for something a little different, Cheaney’s strong spin on the Chelsea boot is the ‘Brecon’, with Veldtschoen construction and full leather lining.
Crockett & Jones ‘Snowdon’ Boots
Church’s ‘McFarlane’ Brogue Boots
Cheaney ‘Brecon’ Chelsea Boots
Bulk up a pair of Derby shoes
Characterised by separate quarters (as opposed to ‘whole cut’ shoes), Derby shoes have long been a mainstay of men’s fashion. But, despite becoming popular among hunters and countrymen in the 1850s, they’ve lost a little of their rough-and-ready, all-terrain talents of late. That is, unless, you seek out the chunky goodness of a Commando-soled option.
Something like Cheaney’s ‘Cairngorm’ design — handcrafted in Northamptonshire and cut from almond grain leather. Or Hackett’s brogued Derby; stepping off Savile Row and into leather-lined, Blake-constructed burliness. Alternatively, Loake offers a plainer option. The ‘Freud’ was developed for the British brand’s ‘Artist Collection’, and was built using a last with a sleek, contemporary silhouette.
Cheaney ‘Cairngorm’ Derby Shoes
Hackett Commando Leather Brogues
Loake ‘Freud’ Derby Shoes
Slip on a pair of long-lasting loafers
These low-slung slip-ons may be seen as summer shoes — but we’ve long championed loafers in our winter wardrobes. Bulk up and fill out your favourite style with a Commando sole, and your loafers won’t only walk you through all four seasons of the year — but they’ll keep you stepping along in style for plenty more months to come.
Grenson’s ‘Jefferson’ design is as striking as it is sturdy; constructed with a butted apron seam and simple saddle. G.H. Bass & Co has reinvented the classic ‘horsebit’ loafer with a hefty Commando sole and rich, burnished brown colour. And Russell & Bromley’s ‘Max’ style is at one hugely chunky and utterly elegant, blending black polished calf leather with a sculptural silhouette.
Grenson ‘Jefferson’ Loafers
G.H. Bass & Co Weejuns 90s ‘Lincoln’ Loafers
Russell & Bromley ‘Max’ Loafer
Want more solid footwear? Introducing the new ‘Boston’ loafer from Gentleman’s Journal x Crockett & Jones…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.