Saint Laurent Wyatt Harness Boots Review
Cowboy boots for men have always had an on-off relationship with the fashion world, regularly treading the thin line between on-trend must-haves which fly off the shelves or a sartorial pariah which is outdated and passé. The Saint Laurent Wyatt Boots are however something of an anomaly, even after many years in the limelight they are still highly coveted. In my latest blog post review, I take a closer look to find out why they are so desirable.
The Wyatt boots have been a staple in the Saint Laurent line up since 2013, shortly after Hedi Slimane took over as creative designer (and subsequently dropped the ‘Yves’ from the name). Once unveiled, the boots caused a storm in the high-end fashion world with fashionistas, bloggers and even celebs queuing up to add them to their wardrobes. Although Hedi has since moved on from the French fashion house, his legacy remains, and the brand has continued to offer the Wyatts in each of their new collections, confirming their tremendous popularity.
I have kept a watchful eye on the Wyatt’s for some time, waiting for the right moment to snag a pair (which turned up quicker than I expected!). By chance, I was offered a customer reward voucher from Farfetch, enabling me to acquire them for a discounted price. Fortunately, they had a pair left in my size in the Light Land colourway, prompting me to make a quick on the spot decision! I have since worn them outside several times, so I feel I am in the right position to discuss their pros and cons in the following review.
Design & Shape
Cowboy boots have been around for well over a century, conceived to be a practical item of clothing, necessary for day to day living in the old west. The world has naturally moved on since then with far fewer people requiring these types of boots for functionality; this is where the fashion industry steps in and showcases this style of shoes to a whole new world of potential fans.
The Saint Laurent Wyatt Boots offer a timeless design, harking back to those romanticised days of the Wild West, as portrayed in many of our favourite movies – The Magnificent Seven, A Fist Full Of Dollars and Unforgiven are three such silver screen classics which can take credit for our fascination with that period of history. The recent TV series reboot of West World has brought this love of cowboys (and their outfits) back into the public eye once more, no doubt adding to their popularity.
From the very first glance, your eyes will acknowledge the boots standout feature – the harness. This section of the shoes is undoubtedly the part which will make it or break it for you when you decide to purchase (although they do offer a Wyatt boot sans-harness). The metal adorned leather buckle is one of the highlights in terms of design, ensuring it stands out from the crowd, that little bit of extra magic which makes them essential over the competition. Beneath the harness sits the zipper, which runs up the length of the shaft, initially quite robust to use, which began to loosen up with time. I’ve always liked the idea of zippered boots, making them much easier to slip on and off.
The toe on the boots exaggerates slightly into a point, rather than the typical rounded or even square shape of many contemporaries, which only helps to illustrate how elegant the shoes are when worn. This sleek look is mostly visible from a side profile to the benefit of onlookers or yourself via a handy mirror or shop window reflection (yes, I am guilty of staring at them with any opportunity that presents itself). Even from a top-down perspective, you can admire their beautiful shape as you strut (be sure to have the ‘Shaft’ theme tune ready on your smartphone).
Another potential deal breaker for me could have been the leg opening, in previous reviews, I have touched upon how significant the width of the shaft opening is on a pair of men’s boots, critically those that are much slimmer offer a far better user experience. Boots created with a shaft which is too wide will undoubtedly cause the wearer untold difficulty, slipping the hems of skinny jeans over the leather will be a never-ending struggle, worse still, trying to keep them in place for the duration of a days wear (continually sliding up and off the boots, begging for continuous re-adjustment). Fortunately, Saint Laurent has done their homework; the opening is flawless, and my skinniest denim fits over without too much trouble and stays put throughout the entire day.
The Wyatts are cowboy boots, so naturally, the heel must honour their ancestor’s traits – high and imposing, adding character and the perfect finishing touch. The colour of the heel is dependant on which boots you purchase, mine in Light Land features a contrasting dark brown against the lighter suede on the main body. The hugely popular nut brown release opts for an almost identical colour palette for both the suede and the heel (the black version is naturally the same for both segments for a seamlessly uniform appearance).
As you can imagine, this type of heel will add some extra height to you when worn (albeit only around 1.5 inches / 4 cm), I typically only wear flat shoes (or those with a tiny heel), so this sudden increase was quite a shock, and I felt like a giant! Incidentally, it will improve your overall pose, delivering a more commanding stance (although it could be so I didn’t fall over – I jest, they never once caused me to doubt my footing!)
The Wyatt boots are available in a variety of colours – various browns and tans (such as the popular nut tan) and also blacks, along with both suede and leather variants. Many are available all year round, whereas others are seasonal – once they are gone, it will be very difficult to obtain them again.
To anyone reading this far, it is fair to say that I have fallen in love with my Wyatt Boots when it comes to their design and shape – top marks which are well and truly justified.
Wearability & Comfort
There is no doubt that the Saint Laurent Wyatt Boots sit comfortably in the cowboy clothing category, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily have to be pigeonholed into that type of outfit; nevertheless, a dedicated western vibe can work well – plaid shirt, stonewash jeans and a large buckled belt (hat is optional, depending on taste).
We are thankfully living in an age when personal style is no longer held back by tradition or what is considered the status quo, as an example western boots can be worn modern with a pair of ripped skinny jeans and a leather jacket or even an aviator coat. During the cooler Autumn and Winter seasons, why not pair the boots up with something classic like a smart overcoat or trench to really mix it up. Alternatively because of their rugged and gritty style, even coordinated with something urban can work well too, like an oversized plain hoodie or T-Shirt (although I would be careful on the colours, I recommend darker or muted hues).
Now it’s time to move on to something critical – comfort; this is often where a big negative can massively outweigh all the positives built up so far, after all, the best-looking shoes in the world don’t cut it if they rip and tear at your skin! I was quite worried about the Wyatts, and with good reason, if you check out my Saint Laurent Off White Court Classic Sneakers Review, you will be introduced to my account of the brand’s beautifully minimalist casual trainers, which unfortunately cause a lot of pain and discomfort (although I still love them and wear them regularly).
The test began when I first stepped outside in the streets; I planned to wear them all day around the town, guaranteeing I get a full picture of how they treated my feet (for better or worse). They suprisingly surpassed my expectations, no major discomfort, just the stability of a well-made boot encasing my feet. Additionally, I wore regular socks for the review, typical length and medium thickness (nothing thin or heavyweight) for an impartial point of view.
As the day progressed, I started to encounter the tell-tale signs of a small amount of rubbing on my feet – the heel and below my little toe, causing my heart to sink. Experience has taught me that this is the beginning of a day full of discomfort, upgrading to pain and finally quite often blood spillage! However, to my amazement, that was all, as suddenly as the pain began, it disappeared just as fast, almost as if it had never happened. I believe this was due to a necessary amount of ‘breaking in’ before it all settled down, I can honestly state that I was relieved, I wanted them to be ok, and my wishes were granted! Admittedly they are nowhere near the luxurious levels of softness attributed to Common Projects Chelsea Boots, but then, I never expected them to be; cowboy boots are an entirely different beast and made to be hardwearing and tough. Another section down, another happy result even in this particularly gruelling section of this menswear review.
I am nearly always a size EU42 / UK8 in designer shoes (sports trainers EU43 / UK9), but for the Saint Laurent Wyatt Boots I took half a size up to a EU42.5 / UK8.5. Fortuitously, I had previously tried on various pairs in the London Flagship store and found the slight increase in size to be a little more roomy, enough to make the difference between a tight and comfortable fit. I could still have taken my standard size (which would have easily worked), but I felt the size up was justified. Be aware, most online retailers only stock full sizes and not halves, the exception being Saint Laurent themselves and also Farfetch (although it is still worth checking out other retailers as this is liable to change).
When it comes to premium footwear, you can always rely on high-quality packaging. Saint Laurent is certainly no slouch in this department, their shoes all come packaged in a thick cardboard box, coated in solid black ink and an unobtrusive logo positioned on the lid which features a flap opening, unlike those with a removable top. The box dimensions are optimal for the contents, not too small as to cause damage and not overly big for them to slide about unnecessarily. Each boot comes complete with a dedicated dust bag, ensuring their safety from their environment as well as each other.
The Saint Laurent Wyatts are expensive boots; there is no way to sugar coat it. You could argue that this is the price you pay for a piece of Hedi Slimane’s design and the French brand’s craftsmanship, this is true but doesn’t detract from the accompanying high price point. However, as with all things, the more you pay, the better the quality (most of the time), boots of this calibre will undoubtedly last you far longer then shoes from the high street, that initial high outlay into an investment piece will ultimately save you money in the long run. Even if you take a magnifying glass to each shoe, you will not encounter a loose thread or a single flaw, something which you can expect from a premium brand.
Whether or not they are worth the asking price, only you can say, but as you are reading this review, then you are already walking down that path to make a purchase. Alternatively, do as I did, play the waiting game for a good discount or sale – it will be far easier to stomach than paying the retail price (even so, I believe they are worth it!)
If it is not already abundantly clear after reading my review, I wholeheartedly give these boots top marks in every category. The Saint Laurent Wyatt Boots are designed beautifully from the Hedi era, zero visible imperfections, remarkably comfortable and will easily complement numerous different outfit ensembles. The only minor hitch is the high RRP, but as previously mentioned, you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t already interested!
Here is a quick look back at the pros –
- Designed with a style which transcends popular trends and fashions.
- Hardwearing, rugged and tough.
- High-quality production values thanks to Italian craftsmanship.
- Paired easily with different outfit styles.
- Available in a variety of colours, along with suede and leather choices.
What do you think of these boots, are they something you would wear or is the cowboy style a big no-no for you? Please share your thoughts on my men’s fashion blog below!