In my first few days in Australia, I noticed that some of the men were wearing a style of boot I hadn't seen before: an ankle-high leather boots with elastic sides on the inner and outer ankle portion. As I started paying attention, I realized that essentially ALL of the men were wearing these boots - including people wearing professional suits, construction workers, and people in casual clothes. And now that I've paid more attention, I see variation on these boots for women too - including what seems to be high fashion. These boots are EVERYWHERE, and they have their roots in the Jackaroo / Jillaroo culture of Australia (essentially Australia's cowboys).
During my Fulbright orientation in Canberra, at a session designed to teach us tips and tricks for navigating a new culture, I asked about the boots everyone at the orientation seemed to be wearing. People laughed, one man took off his boot and held it in the air, and several people described the roots of these boots in Australian culture and the different brands. Apparently they last a long time, are easier to waterproof than other types of boots/shoes because there is no tongue/laces, and the sole can be replaced. Instead of calling them "boots" or something, Aussie's call them "RMs," "Bludstones," or "Rossis."
They are truly ubiquitous.
RM Williams (holy expensive!)
Friends stateside schooled me: these are common in other countries too, including in the UK, Canada, Israel, and even the US. Commonly called Chelsea boots. In the US, makers include Frye, Uggs, Clarks, Allen Edmonds, and more.
I might end up coming home with some new boots. 😅
Tess M.S. Neal
Sharing my sabbatical adventure in Australia with my partner and our two young boys. We are staying in Sydney for 4 months on a Fulbright Scholar Award.