R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Review: Australia’s Chelsea Boot

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Are R.M. Williams boots really as good as everyone says? Hugh Jackman wouldn’t lie to you, would he?

In this R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman review, you’ll learn about the leather, sole, sizing, and durability—everything you need to know before buying these boots.

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Review Feature Image/Icon Image source: R.M.Williams

R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman

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Bottom line: With its beautiful yearling leather, unique and stylish shape, and superior comfort in the insole, the R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman is an excellent Chelsea boot. But it comes at a hefty premium, which may be a bit too costly for you if you’re looking for an everyday Chelsea.

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At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Design At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Quality of Materials At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Craftsmanship At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Fit & Sizing At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Value for Money At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon

Pros:

  • The shape and style are completely unique---it balances casual and dressy really well
  • The wholecut yearling leather is phenomenal---rich color, soft texture, but still more durable than calf
  • It’s extremely comfortable, even when wearing for 8+ hours

Cons:

  • Sizing can be difficult to pin down, and it runs a little narrow

Apparently I’m the last person in the world to discover that AC/DC is Australian. 

I brought this up to an Australian friend of mine, and all he had to say was, “to the corner with you.”

So I had no options left. I had to pay my penance. 

To give my respects to the great nation of Australia, and to formally apologize for thinking AC/DC was Irish, I bought a pair of R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Chelsea boots. 

R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Overview

RM Williams Comfort Craftsman on white background 1

As you can likely guess, R.M. Williams is an Australian boot brand that’s been around for over 90 years. They’re wildly popular in Australia (some go as far as to say that every single dude in AUS owns a pair).

The Comfort Craftsman is one of three boots in R.M. Williams’ Craftsman line.

There’s the Craftsman, which is the classic—it’s similar in shape, but has a leather sole, so it’s the dressiest of the three options.

model wearing RM Williams Comfort Craftsman 1

There’s also the Dynamic Flex Craftsman, which has a blended rubber and leather outsole that’s designed to bend more. It also has a removable insole, so it’s the boot I recommend if you need a custom orthotic. 

And then there’s the Comfort Craftsman, which is the brand’s top selling boot. It’s what I consider an “everyday” Chelsea boot: it’s easy to wear all day at work, even if you have a few mile/km walk as part of your commute. The rubber sole is tough, and the insole has a lot of padding for a boot.  

R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman

The R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman is one of the most comfortable boots I own, period. And it’s a wholecut Chelsea made with Yearling leather, so it's classy and sophisticated. 

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Things to Consider Before Buying R.M. Williams Chelsea Boots

yearling leather on RM Williams Comfort Craftsman chelsea boots 1

What are you looking for in a new boot? 

If you want something you can wear pretty much every day, something that looks great in the office but doesn’t leave you with sore feet, then the Comfort Craftsman is one of my top recommendations for a Chelsea.

But if you’re looking for something that’s dressy and you’re only going to wear it once a week for more formal meetings, you may want to consider the standard Craftsman with the leather sole. It’s less comfortable, but the leather sole makes it a more formal choice. 

And you might want to consider boots outside of R.M. Williams—I have two great alternatives to the R.M. Williams toward the bottom of this article, which you may be interested in if the price of the Comfort Craftsman makes you sweat. 

R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Review

First Impression

model sitting wearing RM Williams Comfort Craftsman 1

When I first slipped the R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman on, I was immediately impressed. I picked up the Rum yearling leather option, which is a deep, rich brown. 

I’ve read that the Chestnut has some burgundy and even purple tones, and I noticed that the Rum, too, has a hint of deep purple in it.

Probably my favorite thing about the style of the Comfort Craftsman is the iconic squared toe. 

The toe isn’t so square that it looks like a cowboy boot or anything like that, but it makes for a refined and elegant style. These are a perfect choice for a business casual wardrobe, and the boots can make jeans and a t-shirt look like a million bucks. 

Which are the dressiest R.M. Williams boots?

The dressiest R.M. Williams boots are the standard Craftsman. If you’d like a higher heel, the Yearling boot is also dressy, but with a more bodacious style. 

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I’ve been loving that pretty much any outfit I wear looks refined when I slip these Comfort Craftsmans on. 

Leather Quality and Care

RM Williams Comfort Craftsman leather detail on white background 1

You can find the Comfort Craftsman in several types of leather (including chinchilla, which is awesome if you want a boot made out of Picachu’s), but the most popular and standard is the yearling leather. 

Yearling leather is a fantastic middle ground between calf and steer: it’s tightly grained, so it’s supple and creases gently like calf leather. But it has a little more rugged durability than calf leather so it can take its knocks while pounding the city pavement. 

william barton wearing RM Williams Comfort Craftsman chelsea boots 1

The Comfort Craftsman is a wholecut Chelsea, which means the upper of each boot is crafted from one piece of leather. 

I’d venture to say that the Comfort Craftsman costs what it does because of this type of leather selection. There are no blemishes on either of my boots, which can’t be easy (or cheap) to find in a single piece of leather. 

Folks typically like the wholecut style of Chelsea because it can have a more streamlined, sleek look to it, especially as it breaks in. 

These are my first wholecuts, so I can’t compare to others, but I definitely see the appeal. 

RM Williams Comfort Craftsman while leaning on wall 1

As for care, the leather doesn’t need much attention. R.M. Williams suggests conditioning every 2-4 weeks, which is way too often. The yearling leather is rich and supple, and I think a reconditioning every three months is plenty if you’re wearing these often and want to keep them scuff free.

I conditioned mine early on with Venetian Leather Balm to penetrate deep into the leather and give a good base of protective oils and waxes. 

DaLuca Venetian Imperial Leather Balm
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I’ll likely use Bick 4 whenever I start to accumulate little knicks and scuffs from regular wear—Bick 4 doesn’t penetrate very deeply, nor does it change the color at all, but it’ll bring back the original depth of color well. 

Sole

RM Williams Comfort Craftsman sole on white background 1

The sole is the defining characteristic of the Comfort Craftsman. With 270-degree Goodyear welt construction, the leather welt is attached to a rubber outsole.

The Comfort Craftsman features a synthetic padded insole, a stacked leather heel, and an oil-resistant hardened rubber outsole. 

closeup RM Williams Comfort Craftsman sole while walking 1

Note that the heel cap (or top lift) is a different, softer rubber than the outsole. The outsole balances shock absorption, grip, and durability really well. 

It’s a harder rubber, so most of the comfort actually comes from the insole and the shape of the boot, but I prefer that anyway because it means your boot will last much longer. 

How long do R.M. Williams boots last?

With semi-regular care, and wearing your boots 3-4 times a week, your R.M. Williams should last about two years before you’ll need a new top lift (which is easy and inexpensive to replace). The sole should last between 4-5 years. The leather should last 15-20 years (you can recraft R.M. Williams boots as many times as you’d like).

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There’s a lot of synthetic padding in the heel and throughout the footbed. This definitely makes for a comfortable experience, though synthetic materials never last quite as long as leather insoles. I haven’t heard anyone have issues with durability on this front, but it’s something I’m going to watch for. 

RM Williams Comfort Craftsman sole while wlaking 1

And in the midsole, there’s a fiberglass shank. Fiberglass makes this boot a little lighter, and ensures it won’t set off a metal detector, but you still get all the arch support you would with a steel shank. 

The entire insole and outsole construction add up to a very comfortable boot. The Comfort Craftsman is one of the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn. 

R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman

The R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman is one of the most comfortable boots I own, period. And it’s a wholecut Chelsea made with Yearling leather, so it's classy and sophisticated. 

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Fit and Sizing

closeup front view of RM Williams Comfort Craftsman 1

Getting the fit and sizing correct can be a little tough if you’re shopping with a third party retailer, but I highly recommend going directly through R.M. Williams’ site because they make getting the right size easy, whether you’re in the US, AUS, or in the EU. 

Australian sizing generally is the same as UK sizing, which runs a full size larger than US sizing. 

So I’m normally a size 10 in all my boots. I picked up the size 9 AUS R.M. Williams and they fit really well. 

RM Williams Comfort Craftsman chelsea boot sitting at bench 1

As for widths, the standard Australian width is G. G width is analogous to US D widths. So my R.M. Williams 9G fit me well, and I’m a US 10D. 

R.M. Williams offers a tremendous sizing range from size 2.5 US all the way to 18 US, and they offer in narrow, standard, and wide (F, G, and H widths for Australians—B, D, and E widths for Americans). 

The Comfort Craftsman is quite narrow. I have to wear fairly thin socks to keep my feet from getting tingly in these boots, though the leather has stretched a decent amount and given my feet a little more breathing room. 

closeup RM Williams Comfort Craftsman yearling leather on steps 1

I wear a size 10D in most boots like Red Wing, Thursday, Wolverine, and Grant Stone. I think R.M. Williams is likely closer to sneaker size (where I wear a 10.5). 

While the 9G AUS (10D US) fits me fine, considering the narrow toe box and slim waist of the boot, I probably could’ve gotten a half-size larger (9.5G AUS, or 10.5D US).  

I know these different sizing conventions might seem confusing, but R.M. Williams has made the process very easy on their site. You can choose to order in US sizes, EU sizes, UK sizes, or the R.M. Williams size (AUS size, which is the same as UK). 

As for widths, even if the lettering system is different, it clearly states whether the width is narrow, standard, or wide, so it’s hard to mess up. 

Break-in Period

RM Williams Comfort Craftsman on model 1

Even with thinner socks, I had absolutely no break in period with the Comfort Craftsman. These are good to go for a several mile walk brand new out of the box. 

Between the supple yearling leather and the padded, cushioned insoles, I’ve never felt any soreness while wearing these boots. 

What do Other Reviewers Say?

It says something that these boots have been around for 90 years and are arguably more popular now than ever. 

Reading through the crowdsourced reviews, I found a clear trend: reviewers love the quality and comfort of these boots. And nearly all the negative reviews are due to the buyer picking up the wrong size from a third party retailer, thinking they’re buying US sizing (so their boots are a full size too large). 

Just be careful on the sizing (I really recommend you buy through R.M. Williams’ site to make it much easier), and you’ll likely count yourself among the dozens of other reviewers loving these boots. 

R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Alternatives

Thursday Boot Company Duke

Thursday Duke boots honey suede close up

Chelsea boots are one of my favorite styles, so I’ve bought a ton of them and have done my research. And through that, I’ve determined there’s a category called the “everyday” Chelsea. 

They’re stylish and slim, but comfortable and easy to walk longer distances in. 

The R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman is the nicest and most comfortable I’ve tried in this category, but it’s also the most expensive. 

I really like the Thursday Boot Company Duke as a budget alternative. It has a more rounded toe and less distinctive look compared to the Comfort Craftsman, but it’s also under $200, which makes it much less than half the price. 

The Duke is comfortable and built really well. It doesn’t have the same luxury feel to it as the Comfort Craftsman, but it’s a fantastic alternative if you can’t afford to fork out close to $500 for a pair of boots. 

Thursday Duke

The Duke is Thursday’s first Chelsea boot, and it brings the brand's hallmark construction quality and value for money. This is a fantastic everyday Chelsea.

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Grant Stone Chelsea Boot

Grant Stone Chelsea boot roughout leather detail closeup 1

Grant Stone makes their boots in a traditional manner, with full leather insoles and midsoles. In terms of value-for-money, there are few other brands that are as consistently excellent like Grant Stone.

Their Chelsea boot isn’t necessarily better than the R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman, but I’d say the material and construction quality is the same at a lower price (they run either in the high $200s or low $300s depending on the model you get). 

But the Grant Stone Chelsea isn’t nearly as comfortable and it’s also more rugged looking. I’d wear the R.M. Williams in more dressy situations rather than the Grant Stone. 

If you’re looking for another fantastic Goodyear welted Chelsea, the Grant Stone Chelsea is worth a peek. That said, I own both and I’m glad I do.  

Grant Stone Chelsea Boot

If you’re all about value-for-money and you’re looking for a high end Goodyear welted Chelsea boot for everyday wear, then the Grant Stone Chelsea is the boot for you.

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My Thoughts Overall On the R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman

What I Like

  • I love the style of the Comfort Craftsman: the squared toe box and depth of color in the leather makes for a really classy and sophisticated looking boot.

  • The wholecut yearling leather is amazing. It has the supple, fine grained texture of calf leather, but the durability of steer: a perfect balance.

  • These are some of the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Getting the correct size can be a little difficult (read my sizing instructions). They also run a tad narrow, which can squeeze your feet a little until the leather stretches. 

Who is the Comfort Craftsman for?

The R.M. William Comfort Craftsman is the boot for you if you’re wanting an upscale Chelsea that looks like a nice dress boot, but feels like a sneaker. If you’re in boots for 8+ hours a day or have any walking in your commute, you’ll love how comfortable these boots are.

The Verdict

I can see why every Australian man owns a pair of R.M. Williams boots. My experience with the Comfort Craftsman has been fantastic. 

As someone who does a lot of walking around my city, I appreciate how comfortable these boots are, and how my feet still aren’t sore after wearing them for 10 hours. 

My favorite aspect though is the style. The squared toe and rich wholecut yearling leather look phenomenal. This boot makes any outfit you wear with it. Even when I throw on jeans and a t-shirt—an outfit that takes no effort—if I put these boots on, I look like a style icon. That’s probably an overstatement, but you get the idea. 

While the Comfort Craftsman is quite expensive, I think it’s a worthwhile investment—despite how stylish it is, it has a rugged construction and should last many, many years (good-looking years, too).

R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman

The R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman is one of the most comfortable boots I own, period. And it’s a wholecut Chelsea made with Yearling leather, so it's classy and sophisticated. 

Check Best Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

Are R.M. Williams boots made in China?

R.M. Williams manufactures their boots and clothes in Australia, China, and Southeast Asia.

What is so good about R.M. Williams boots?

The leather is exceptional quality and the comfort is superb for a pair of boots. Plus, the materials used balance style with rugged durability. While they’re expensive, they’ll also last a long time and look great as they age.

What boots does Hugh Jackman wear?

Hugh Jackman is a part owner of R.M. Williams, and he’s often spotted wearing the Comfort Craftsman.

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