Imagine walking into an authorized R.M. Williams store and seeing an R.M. Williams boot with a price tag of more than $400. But that won’t be news to you, right? You already know the brand’s shoes and other products are expensive. But do you know why?
Why are so many people willing to pay top dollar for R.M. Williams boots, belts, and jeans?
When you seek out an answer to this question, you’ll be surprised to learn that even though you may know the brand, you know little about its products – including its dress boot, leather boots, and well-made shoes – and why they are among the best on the market.
In this article, we will explore some major reasons for the high price points of R.M. Williams clothing and footwear, why they are so popular, and whether they are worth the high price.
Let’s get to it!
1. Brand History
It’s a good idea to start with a brief history of the R.M. Williams brand to learn about its humble beginnings and progress over the years to where it is today – a highly celebrated international footwear and clothing company.
After being taught how to work leather items by horseman Dollar Mick, Reginald Murray (R.M.) Williams founded the R.M. Williams footwear and clothing company in 1932.
RM Williams Women’s Boots from the Official Website
R.M. began by making and selling saddles, which enabled him to start a small shop in his father’s shed at 5 Percy Street in Prospect (a suburb of Adelaide), South Australia, in 1934.
R.M. made several leather items, but his greatest success was in riding boots, which he crafted out of a single piece of leather. The company also made hats and clothes, including the slim-fit Stockman’s Narrow Cut jeans.
R.M. Williams sold the company in 1988, paving the way for expansion to a global brand that was consistent with his vision. The brand has changed hands a few other times since then and is now owned by Andrew and Nicola Forrest.
2. Why Is R.M. Williams So Expensive?
There are several reasons why R.M. Williams products are highly-priced. This is a brand that makes highly durable leather items like boots and belts, as well as clothing pieces like hats, denim jeans, shirts, and moleskin jeans.
The durability of the company’s boots, for example, is placed at 15-20 years per pair! Some customers and loyalists of the R.M. Williams brand acknowledge that they have used their R.M. Williams boots for as many as 17 years, and they are still in good shape!
For most customers, buying multiple R.M. Williams boots isn’t about the ones they already own being damaged, but about wanting to own yet another durable boot in a different color.
The durability of R.M. Williams footwear is because of the use of a single piece of leather that is passed through a rigorous blocking process at high temperature, a process that only leather of the highest quality and finest grain can withstand.
Using only one piece of leather ensures that the boots have fewer weak points or fault lines, thus boosting their longevity. Since there are fewer seams, the boots are also highly water-resistant and weather-resistant.
R.M. Williams Lady Yearling Boot from the Official Website
Now, a highly durable and weather-resistant boot that lasts up to two decades even with high levels of misuse is a boot many people would pay top dollar for, even if it means saving up for several months.
R.M. Williams even says that you can’t wear out their boots, and this is evident since many customers say they put their boots through a lot of misuses yet they remain intact for years, requiring only minimal maintenance.
Another thing that makes R.M. Williams so expensive is that its products are handcrafted, which takes a long time but ensures that the final product is of the highest quality.
The company’s production process is also highly detailed, with each item passing through several hands from the point of choosing the leather to the time the R.M. Williams Master Craftsman personally signs each pair of boots.
For example, each pair of RM boots passes through 80 pairs of hands through different stations such as selecting the leather, clicking, blocking, and twin needle stitching.
Other steps in the detailed process include inserting and pressing tugs, stitching tugs, hand lasting, hand burnishing, sole stitching, sole staining, and applying the iconic Longhorn logo and Master Craftsman’s signature.
A product crafted by hand through such a detailed process is bound to be expensive, not just because of the time it takes to complete, but also because it ends up as a high-quality item.
3. Why Is R.M. Williams So Popular?
Now that you know why R.M. Williams products, especially the boots, are so expensive, let’s look at what makes them so popular.
The popularity of R.M. Williams footwear, clothes, and accessories is attributable to factors such as high quality, product longevity, high levels of comfort, versatility, and ease of maintenance.
Take the company’s ever-famous boots, for instance. The company uses yearling or calf leather of high quality and fine grains, which ensures that each boot lasts a long time even with frequent use.
R.M. Williams has remained true to the ideas of its founder and has continued to make boots out of a single leather piece. It remains one of the few companies that still make footwear out of one single piece of leather.
The company’s handcrafted belts, many of which are made of high-quality kangaroo leather, also last a long time. R.M. Williams says these belts are so strong they can even be used to tow a car!
Handcrafted leather items are bound to last a long time, as are handcrafted denim jeans, hats, and moleskin jeans.
R.M. Williams makes many highly comfortable boots, not just the famous Craftsman line. The boots are easy to break in.
Some aspects that go into ensuring high comfort levels in many of their designs include a padded heel lining, comfort soles, fewer seams, non-slip soles, moderate heel height, and good arch support.
R.M. Williams boots are highly versatile, and you can wear them for any occasion. Pair them with any business or casual clothing, from suits to shorts to jeans to floral dresses and skirts.
Another aspect that makes RM boots popular is that they are easy to maintain with simple regular cleaning and the usual leather treatment practices. The boots are even resoleable, and you can send them to the company when you need them resoled.
4. Are R.M. Williams Products Worth the Money?
A product crafted by hand to last for a long time is worth the money.
The exclusive craftsmanship R.M. Williams applies ensures each item is highly durable, meaning you don’t have to keep going back to the shops to buy new items when the old ones wear out.
For instance, a good RM boot may cost you upward of $500, but it will last a long time, during which you would have purchased and worn out several pairs from a low-quality brand.
5. Is R.M. Williams a Luxury Brand?
R.M. Williams is a luxury brand in the sense that its items are of high quality. Some of the most famous people known to wear RMW boots include Hugh Jackman and Bill Clinton.
However, the company’s products are highly celebrated across all walks of life, and people even save up for months just to own a pair. The company’s boots are often considered the national boot of Australia, towering high over other Australian boot brands.
6. What Is So Good About R.M. Williams Boots?
R.M. Williams boots are known to take a short time to soften and conform to your feet. R.M. Williams caters to all sizes with various boot widths, including H wide boots and X extra wide boots. The best way to determine if a boot is good for you is to walk into a store and try on some boots.
Other key aspects that make RMW boots so good include the use of high-quality leather, handcrafting for finesse, weatherproofing, and versatility.
7. Is R.M. Williams a Good Brand?
Several factors go into determining whether a brand is good.
R.M. Williams is a good brand because it produces high-quality products that last a long time, which makes them worth the money.
When you buy an RMW product, you are actually making an investment because you won’t need to buy a similar item anytime soon.
Only a few brands globally have remained true to their roots and maintained high levels of quality in their products.
R.M. Williams may have changed hands several times, but it remains true to the founder’s vision and principles for high-quality and durable products.
The products may come at a high price, but you can always be assured that each R.M. Williams item you invest in is worth your money for its longevity, high quality, and excellent product performance.