Ross & Snow Review: Italian-Made Waterproof Boots, Origins, & Full Brand Overview
Ross & Snow Review: Italian-Made Waterproof Boots, Origins, & Full Brand OverviewCharles-Philippe2020-10-09T09:05:51-04:00
Founded in 2017, Ross & Snow is a growing and ambitious footwear brand that produces boots in Italy. Specialising in luxury yet functional waterproof and winter boots, Ross & Snow endeavours to provide its wearers with uncompromising craftsmanship.
In this guide, we will review Ross & Snow in detail so you will learn everything you need to know about their background, best models, and shoe construction processes. For your convenience, we’ll be breaking the review down in the following sections:
Although we’re all quite familiar with the duck boot, it’s rarely regarded as an attractive specimen of footwear design.
Instead, it’s simply a functional boot that can be worn in the snow or other adverse weather conditions. Usually, the boots are cemented together with glue and will last a few seasons before letting in water and falling apart.
However, Ross & Snow have taken this style and stripped it down to its very core before recreating their interpretation of the design from scratch. The result retains the hallmarks of the duck boot while exuding quality craftsmanship and style.
Thanks to a seam-sealed storm welt construction, the boots are fully waterproof and will likely endure the roughest weather conditions possible for many years. Additionally, a rugged rubber heel and Vibram Arctic Grip outsole offers superior traction for snow and icy conditions.
Fit & Comfort
Fully-lined with genuine ultrasoft shearling, the boots are essentially outdoor slippers. While most people will want to wear thick socks with their winter boots, we’d actually recommending the opposite with Ross & Snow.
Given that shearling is naturally moisture-wicking and breathes, they fare best with thin socks or even no socks at all! Furthermore, they’re true to size and provide extra comfort thanks to a well-cushioned footbed.
Value For Money
Admittedly, $500 is a fair bit of money to invest in a pair of duck boots. However, given their superior quality and construction, they’ll effortlessly outlive, cheaper models from other brands.
Meanwhile, they’re incredible stylish thanks to their intuitive use of traditional craftsmanship and materials. Consequently, they outshine even the most creative attempts by other brands who often use synthetic lining rather than genuine and ethically-sourced shearling.
Thanks to a rugged, rustic design, the Riccardo is certainly a head-turner. Indeed, this stunningly burnished boot demands attention and while reminiscent of boots by Red Wings or Carolina, they proudly stand out.
Details such as the cap toe and the contrast leather welt add to its aesthetic charm. Furthermore, it is produced with a calfskin leather lining and has undergone Ross & Snow’s proprietary SuPreen treatment for enhanced weather protection.
Stylistically, the Riccardo is exceedingly versatile and can be worn with many garments in your wardrobe. While it isn’t exactly formal, it could be paired with a suit when the weather is bad. Otherwise, it would look perfect with fitted jeans or even winter clothing.
Fit & Comfort
As it’s Ross & Snow’s signature detail, it features the same ethically-sourced genuine shearling as the Philippe. Needless to say, it’s exceptionally comfortable and provides both warmth and an embracing fit.
Nevertheless, the Riccardo does offer an altogether different experience from the Philippe in that it is crafted entirely from supple leather. While the Philippe braces the fit comfortably in place, the Riccardo offers more flexibility. Over time, it moulds to the feet and eventually feels like a second skin.
When the weather has improved, we like to wear them with the laces loosely tied. As a result, the boots drape nicely to create both a comfortable and stylish look.
Value For Money
At just under $500, the Riccardo positions itself at a similar price point to well-known brands like Allen Edmonds. In terms of construction, the quality is somewhat similar.
However, bear in mind that Ross & Snow’s boots are entirely handcrafted in Italy. Today, Allen Edmonds are made in the Dominican Republic and are then finished in the USA.
Additionally, the Riccardo boots are designed with different functionality in mind. In order to keep it stylish and of high quality, this requires additional costs for Ross & Snow. Therefore, it’s a much more challenging product to make on this budget and offers excellent value for what it provides.
When we first discovered the Matteo penny loafer, we were surprised but quite intrigued too. Ross & Snow market the Matteo as a sneaker, given the large rubber sole. However, the calf-hair penny loafer upper can’t be overlooked.
From a distance, the sneakers look like suede. Yet, upon closer inspection, you quickly notice the fine calf-hair. The sneaker outsole is remarkably casual, and the overall design is quite unorthodox too.
Typically, the penny loafer is a business-casual shoe style that is worn with chinos on a lazy Sunday. Yet, with Ross & Snow’s approach, they have opened up a host of wardrobe opportunities.
Fit & Comfort
Earlier, we referred to both the Riccardo and Philippe as slippers. Yet, it appears that we spoke too soon when considering the Matteo. As a supple slip-on shoe with an authentic shearling lining, the Matteo is the very definition of a slipper!
Nevertheless, it’s also a robust shoe that can take a beating in rough weather thanks to a Vibram Arctic Grip outsole and SuPreen treatment. Therefore, you can comfortably go sockless in the pouring rain yet still enjoy having warm and dry feet. In fact, they’re so cosy that they can be worn without socks!
If you’re heading on a casual night out during the colder months, you’ll quickly realise how these shoes are a godsend!
Value For Money
Although nearly half the price of Ross & Snow’s boots, we do recognise that $267 is a fair sum for a pair of sneakers. However, it’s essential to appreciate the craftsmanship that offers value for this investment.
Indeed, the hybridisation of the penny loafer with a sneaker design exudes Italian craftsmanship with a casual laissez-faire attitude. This cannot have been achieved with inferior materials.
Finally, their versatility and daily use speak volumes about the value of the shoes. We’ve never come across a casual sneaker that retains a sense of dressiness and simultaneously offers both warmth and comfort this way. If you’re looking for something that is founded upon these values, we can’t imagine an alternative.
Ross & Snow History & Background
Meghan & Fred Mossler
Ross & Snow is the brainchild of Meghan and Fred Mossler following their extensive experiences in the footwear industry. Until 2016, Fred Mossler was a high-ranking executive at Zappos. Similarly, Meghan was a senior women’s buyer for the online footwear retailer.
Fred Mossler first started at Nordstrom in 1990 on the shop floor. By 1999, he was a buyer for the California region when Nick Swinmurn contacted him. Along with Tony Hsieh, they launched Zappos, which was then known as ShoeSite.com.
A veritable trailblazer, Zappos was among the first retailers to realise the internet’s potential. Starting in a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, Swinmurn, Hsieh, and Mossler witnessed its unparalleled growth in a very short time.
Mossler remained with the company for over 15 years even when Amazon acquired Zappos in 2009 for $1.2 billion. However, as he and Meghan were passionately working on several other projects, he decided to depart the company in 2016.
Despite having a number of other businesses including a popular Mexican restaurant concept, they soon missed the footwear business. Therefore, with Meghan Mossler as the CEO, they sought to create their brand.
Who Are Ross & Snow?
Ross’s Goose [Left], Snow Goose [Right]
Interestingly, the brand wasn’t named after people at all. Indeed, Ross and Snow are actually different breeds of Canadian geese (or “gooses” to Letterkenny fans).
Upon launching their project, Meghan and Fred Mossler first tested a style through a Betabrand campaign. Initially, they hoped to receive at least 60 orders to prove that their concept was viable.
Ultimately, the shearling boot proved to be so popular that they sold over 800 orders. They had even to halt the campaign as the factories wouldn’t be able to produce so many in the given time-frame.
Following the brand’s unprecedented success on its first outing, Meghan and Fred Messler continued to crowdsource designs through Betabrand. However, they soon called upon Leah Larson and Peter Young from Ugg to helm their future designs.
Ross & Snow’s Vision & Philosophy
After having spent most of their respective albeit parallel careers climbing the so-called “corporate ladder”, Meghan and Fred Mossler sought to create their own brand firmly rooted in their passion for footwear and artisanal values.
Therefore, they pursued the original endeavour of marrying functionality with beauty by merging utilitarian footwear with artisanal Italian craftsmanship. Every style is personally field-tested by Fred and Meghan Mossler to ensure that they meet their criteria and surpass expectations.
By focusing on the shearling concept and these values, they continue in their mission to provide both men and women with premium quality footwear that offers original style and superior craftsmanship.
blending a fashion aesthetic with performance technology and fine craftsmanship, all hand-made in Italy, with a focus on shearling-lined footwear, which also features Vibram ‘Arctic Grip’ soles.
Thanks to Fred and Meghan’s experience in footwear, it’s no surprise that they have an almost comprehensive knowledge of the industry. Therefore, they had access to some of the world’s most exclusive tanneries and factories.
As a result, they partnered with family-owned Italian factories while sourcing leathers from local tanneries around the Florence area. Every material used by Ross & Snow are hand-selected only to include the highest grades of Italian calfskin leathers.
Meanwhile, Ross & Snow use organically-raised and ethically-sourced shearling for all of their boots and shoes. For instance, the Chiara also features a luxurious exposed Toscana Shearling cuff.
How Ross & Snow Boots Are Made
Given Ross & Snow’s values and passion, it’s no surprise that they have embraced heritage Italian factories who use traditional methods. Consequently, all of their shoes are individually bench-made by hand.
Usually, this is simply referred to as “handmade”. However, bench-made shoes, while very close to hand-craftsmanship, still use a few machines for processes like Goodyear welting or Blake stitching. Meanwhile, genuinely handmade shoes don’t use any machinery at all, and every step of the construction is performed by hand.
Nevertheless, bench-making is still a labour-intensive process. Most of the production is still undertaken manually. This is especially the case with Ross & Snow given the techniques required to ensure that the boots offer optimal performance.
In Ross & Snow’s case, most of the shoes feature a Goodyear storm welt. This is one of the most traditional and respected methods, which offers the best natural water resistance.
As mentioned earlier, Ross & Snow is the fruit of marrying fashion and artisanal value with functionality. However, a key ingredient in their formula is the creative use of performance technology to surpass the limitations of traditional craftsmanship.
Performance Technology & Traditional Craftsmanship
In Fall 2020, Ross & Snow will be offering a selection of Goodyear and storm-welted boots. Meanwhile, their current collections are cemented and reinforced by injecting the leather welt into the outsole to provide the best water resistance.
Although people would expect Goodyear welting at this price point, Ross & Snow argue that it wouldn’t provide a satisfactory level of weatherproofing for a genuinely functional boot.
Usually, cemented shoes can’t be resoled. However, Ross & Snow’s artisans reassured us that a reputable cobbler could easily do this. Furthermore, Ross & Snow will be offering their own resoling service in the future.
Additionally, many of their models feature Vibram Arctic outsoles, which offer the market’s best possible traction and waterproofing.
Finally, Ross & Snow produce both waterproof and weatherproof boots. While weatherproof boots are entirely appropriate for rainy conditions, their waterproof boots undergo seam-sealing.
This process usually uses high heat to create an airtight seal so the shoes can be fully submerged in water without leaking. For instance, both the Philippe and the Chiara are seam-sealed to be 100% waterproof.
Similarly, they have developed their own proprietary weatherproofing treatment called SuPreen. This water-based agent is specifically designed for nubuck, suede, and leather to offer additional protection from the elements. SuPreen is used throughout the Riccardo boot as well as the upper shaft of the Phillipe given that this part is made from twin-faced shearling.
Ross & Snow is one of the rare brands that seek to fulfil various wardrobe requirements. Thanks to their high-quality materials and craftsmanship, their boots are both stylish and incredibly functional.
On this occasion, you won’t have to choose between looking stylish or having warm and dry feet. Indeed, it’s a rare treat to be able to enjoy having both! Although only a few years old, their overwhelming success has prompted Ross & Snow to pursue additional garments to complement their boots.
For instance, they have started producing a limited run of cashmere accessories such as robes, scarves, beanies, gloves, and even shearling handbags.
If you want to see more of what Ross & Snow offer, head to their website. Otherwise, consider checking out some of related guides below: