Style & Appearance
Firstly, the Breakaway boots are certainly very eye-catching indeed. With their sleek and streamlined design, they’re not your typical rugged blucher boots. Furthermore, the addition of a balmoral toe cap renders them rather dressy.
Meanwhile, the Italian calfskin leather uppers are very supple and smooth to the touch. Its shade of cognac is very attractive with a dark burnished finish on the toe cap.
Although I chose the cognac colour, there are also black and honey tan options too. I felt that these weren’t just more to my taste but they’d also be more versatile for everyday use.
Unlike the majority of boots that we’ve reviewed, the rubber soles are quite thin with a full-grain leather midsole. Some shoe snobs may gasp and pop their monocles to learn that Wolf & Shepherd use a cemented construction.
However, this is a hybridised version that also some Blake welting. This was a conscious decision on Wolf & Shepherd’s part as their design endeavours to emulate the ergonomics of running shoes. A cemented construction not only makes the shoe more lightweight but flexible too.
Personally, I wasn’t particular enamoured by the sole’s design that tended to get wedged with the occasional pebble. Nevertheless, I came to realise that their appearance was more practical than aesthetic. They offered excellent traction on slippery surfaces as you’ll learn later.
Fit & Comfort
Regardless of their appearance, it was both the comfort and fit that I was keen to discover the most. As mentioned above, I often get sore feet after standing or walking some distances in dress shoes.
Furthermore, my foot arches tend to be on the low side. While I’m far from having flat feet, I may have a tendency to overpronate. Therefore, I was looking for shoes with cushion, support for my arches and heels.
Wolf & Shepherd Sizing
At first, the Breakaway boots were slightly on the tight side. For context, my feet are 42 EU and tend to be somewhere between 9 to 9.5 US with a very regular width. I opted for the 9.5 US Breakaway boots so I could wear them with thicker socks during the winter.
Although they were fine in terms of length, they ran a touch narrow when first worn. However, the supple leather does give a lot. Having now worn them for more-or-less 8 hours in total, the leather uppers have already broken in nicely the fit is akin to slippers!
Admittedly, I was a little sceptical when I first heard about Wolf & Shepherd and their wild claims. Yet after wearing these over the course of the last few days, I stand duly corrected!
However, I didn’t experience their benefits when I first wore them. As mentioned above, they were a little tight and the leather up the quarters were somewhat stiff. Additionally, the memory foam footbed seemed nice enough but nothing spectacular.
After about an hour or so, I suddenly became aware that there had been a change. Firstly, the uppers and quarters had become more flexible and gently wrapped around my feet.
Meanwhile, the memory foam had already adjusted to my foot shape. The cushion cradled the contours of my feet and I felt the rich and comforting support on my foot arches. Furthermore, I could feel that my heels sank nicely into the cushion with every step yet were safely locked in place to prevent pronation.
I could happily describe the experience as walking on clouds but I don’t want to sound too hyperbolic. Nevertheless, I was quite reluctant to take them off once back indoors.
These Boots Are Made For Walking
Impressed with the first few hours of wear, I thought I’d really put these boots to the test.
Therefore, I thought I’d take the brand name as literally as I could and took them out for an early-morning walk with my dogs. Surely, I would start to feel foot fatigue after an intense trip into the woods!
Although they’re generally well behaved, my dogs are quite energetic and tend to pull pretty hard when walking.
Between my jackrabbiting Beagle that thinks that she’s a hound on a hunt and my grizzly Swiss shepherd who has the strength of a cart horse, an hour-long walk tends to leave me exhausted.
Usually I wear my Salomon Speedcross trail sneakers for this as their lugged soles and OrthoLite footbeds hold up well against the 60-minute tug-of-war. Yet sometimes I’ll sport my Allen Edmonds Strandmoks if I fancy a little elegance out in the French countryside instead.
Interestingly, the Wolf & Shepherd Breakaway boots effortlessly outperformed the Strandmok and easily rivalled the Speedcross. Their cushion ensured excellent comfort while the EVA heel provided solid shock absorption.
Meanwhile, the tall quarters and padded tongue provided support that I wouldn’t have with either shoes. It was also here that I truly appreciated the traction offered by the rubber Phoenix TECH Outsoles.
Dress Code & Formality
While I did indeed enjoy wearing these boots when out running errands or walking the dogs, they’re far from casual footwear. Although they did look fine in jeans, they didn’t really look their very best.
Being far from bulk like the average blucher boot, their slim design renders them rather dressy. This is reinforced by the smooth full-grain Italian calfskin that is quite formal in appearance.
Firstly, I’d argue that the cognac is by far the most versatile between the three leather colours. Meanwhile, the tan is inheritance more casual while the black is going to be the most formal. Therefore, choosing the colour will have an effect on the resulting formality of these boots.
Generally speaking, I would say that the Breakaway boots would be appropriate business casual wear at the very minimum. Similarly, the balmoral cap toe is an additional detail that decidedly firmly raises their formality. Therefore, the Wolf & Shepherd boots would be best adapted for business professional attire.
Not all workplaces are at ease with their personnel wearing boots. However, these are quite the exception in that they’re very sleek and formally designed. Nevertheless, they may still be hard to wear in more conservative workplaces.
Yet, for most of us, these would be absolutely fine. As such, they’d look excellent with a brown or dark green suit. As I was walking the dogs through the forest, I couldn’t help but notice how well the cognac suited the emerging golden colours of autumn.
In fact, these would be ideal for the upcoming tweed season of the winter months!
Presentation & Value For Money
The Wolf & Shepherd come in a textured matte black box with understated gold lettering with the brand on the lid. In the box’s lower corner, you’ll find the brand’s slogan, Dressed to Perform, in the same gold lettering.
The boots are delivered with two large shoe backs. On the outside, they have a sleek microfibre texture that seems to offer some dust resistance while the interior is a plushy velvet.
Given that they’re boots, they’re not delivered with shoe horns. Aside from the bags and some protective foam, the only accompanying object is an introductory card. On one side, they welcome the new owner to the Wolf Pack while the reverse gives a helpful guide on first wearing and looking after the shoes.
As mentioned earlier, I was somewhat sceptical with Wolf & Shepherd’s rise to fame. Consequently, I initially found the costly retail price for cement (and Blake welt) construction shoes hard to swallow.
However, having actually tried the boots for myself, I have come to understand the hype. While they are indeed expensive boots at $395 through the Wolf & Shepherd website, I believe that they’re well worth it.
Not only do they look great but their comfort was nothing short of a revelation. As far as the construction goes, yes, they are indeed cemented soles with a Blake welt hybrid. However, the boots exude the premium quality that matches the asking price.
Furthermore, Wolf & Shepherd offers its own recrafting service, which will provide your shoes or boots with a much longer lifespan. As such, you’re also investing into the brand for the long haul and not just a single purchase.
Having suffered with sore feet after long hours of standing or walking, I had almost come to accept it as a price for my lifestyle. However, Wolf & Shepherd haven’t come short of their promise for veritably comfortably dress shoes.
The Wolf & Shepherd Breakaway boots are impressive. They exude both the style and quality of traditionally premium dress boots yet have seamlessly integrated new technologies to create ergonomic and orthotic footwear.
Whether you’ve had similar experiences to me or simply want stylish yet comfortable footwear, I recommend that you at least give Wolf & Shepherd a chance.