White’s Packer Review: The Legacy Boot Lives On

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

White’s is one of the hallowed Pacific Northwest boot brands that still make boots the old-fashioned way. But does that mean they’re worth it?

In this White’s Boots review, I’m diving deep with the Packer legacy boot to see if it’s really worth the high price tag.

Review Feature Image/Icon Image Source: Whites Boots

The White’s Packer

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Bottom line: The White’s Packer is a tough and rugged boot that’s maybe a little too beefy for my needs. But I still love it. If you need a boot that’ll last through years of tough work, the Packer is a fantastic choice. If you’re looking for something more for everyday casual wear, I would stick with White’s casual line.

Ratings:

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:

  • Iron leather through the insole and midsole makes for a boot that will last a long time
  • The sharp packer-style heel is unique and a great option for certain types of work---I also like how it looks
  • Impeccable stitchdown construction with excellent quality materials

Cons:

  • The break in takes a while due to the entire insole and midsole being stiff leather, but that’s also why this boot is so durable
  • I bought this boot for casual purposes, and reflecting on my experience, it’s almost too much boot for that---for working situations it’d be amazing

I’ll take any chance I can get to buy a new pair of boots from a brand I’ve been hearing a lot about.

So when I got my house and knew I had a lot of projects that needed doing, I picked up a work boot I knew would be up to the task:

The White’s Packer.

Honestly, it was probably overkill. 

If I could go back, I don’t think I’d get it again. 

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a bunch of great aspects to this boot—let me dive into the details and show you what I mean. 

White’s Packer Boot Overview

Whites Packer boots on ground

The White’s Packer boot is part of White’s legacy line—basically, these are heritage-style boots with rich histories designed for specific jobs. 

The design is one part logger boot and another part western boot. Originally, they’re made for those who would load up horses and ride through rugged terrain to bring goods and supplies from one place to the next.

That’s why you see that steep cuban heel and the more pointed toe box—the shape makes it easy to slip into a stirrup and hook in. 

Where are White’s boots made?

White’s Boots are handmade in Spokane, Washington. Originally, they were made for wildland firefighters and foresters, and while White’s still makes work boots, they’ve also used that same craftsmanship and material quality to create a line of casual boots.

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The White’s Packer is a fully gusseted boot made with double-row stitchdown construction, a leather stacked heel, a Vibram V-bar outsole (also known as the Tigam 700), has five eyelets and five speedhooks, and is an absolute tank. 

White’s Packer Boots

The White’s Packer is a tough and rugged boot that’s maybe a little too beefy for my needs. But I still love it.

If you need a boot that’ll last through years of tough work, the Packer is a fantastic choice. If you’re looking for something more for everyday casual wear, I would stick with White’s casual line.

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Things to Consider Before Buying White’s Boots

Whites Packer leather breaking in

I was mainly interested in seeing just how tough a pair of White’s Boots were. So in getting the Packer, my idea was that I’d get something I liked the look of, but could still experience the ruggedness of White’s work boots

In hindsight, this is probably too much boot for me. 

This isn’t a knock against White’s—they specifically built this boot for work—but I’ve found that when I’m mowing the lawn, it’s a bit unreasonable to throw on these beasts (though I still do it anyway). 

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After seeing White’s more casual line, like the MP-Sherman or the Perry, I think those boots would’ve been more appropriate for my day-to-day. And that’s because I mainly wear boots casually. 

So if you’re considering picking up a pair of White’s, I can definitely say I recommend the brand, but I suggest that if you’re looking for a casual boot, stick with their casual line. Of course, if you’re looking for a work boot, then you’ll love how durable and heavyweight the Packer is. 

White’s Boots Packer Review

First Impression

whites packer flatlay

The Packer has the look of an old-school work boot—I’m a sucker for the Cuban heel because of the unique and distinctive style. 

The legacy Packer only comes in one leather option at the moment, which is a Seidel 6oz brown. It’s decked out with a logger-style kiltie and leather laces. 

When I picked the boot up out of the box, I was surprised at how heavy these beasts are. Each boot weighs 2lbs 14oz, which is basically 3lbs per boot. Compare that to the 1lb 13oz Red Wing Iron Ranger, and you get a sense for how much boot is stuffed in this boot. 

Whites Packer boot walking on log

The White’s Packer is almost twice as heavy as the Red Wing Iron Ranger.

And the Iron Ranger isn’t a dainty boot. 

The toe box is fairly narrow toward the end—that’s partially due to the purpose of the boot—the almond shaped toe makes it easier to slip into stirrups. I’d say these are a great option if you’re looking for a durable riding boot because of the heel and toe shape. 

White’s Packer Boots

The White’s Packer is a tough and rugged boot that’s maybe a little too beefy for my needs. But I still love it.

If you need a boot that’ll last through years of tough work, the Packer is a fantastic choice. If you’re looking for something more for everyday casual wear, I would stick with White’s casual line.

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

Leather Quality and Care

Whites Packer profile view with heel

I couldn’t find any information on the leather on White’s website, so I reached out to them directly and they told me the Packer uses leather from Seidel. After doing a bit more digging, it’s Seidel’s basic 6oz brown leather. 

This is a full grain vegetable-tanned leather and it’s a little stiff out of the box. White’s uses a lot of Horween leathers as well—many of their most popular boots use a Horween waxed flesh or Chromexcel.

But I’m loving the Seidel leather. It has a flat, matte appearance and texture, and the crease-marks are tightly packed, which speaks to the quality of the leather. 

White’s wasn’t skimping on the amount of leather either—this is a thick hide and one that took a bit of time to break in. There’s no lining in this boot, though the collar is reinforced with a thinner piece of leather.

Whites Packer walking side profile

As for care, I’m keeping it simple with my boots—just a little leather balm probably once or twice per year to keep them fresh. Lately, if my boot is made with a pull up leather like Chromexcel, I’ve been skipping the conditioning. 

But this Seidel leather will benefit from being re-conditioned every so often. I’ll avoid mink oil or any sort of boot oil that would darken the leather. If you’re working in your boots, you may want the heavy waterproofing benefits of Huberd’s Shoe Grease or mink oil, but for casual wear, there’s no need. 

Huberd's Shoe Grease
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Sole

Whites Packer vibram sole detail

The outsole is the Vibram Tigam 700, better known as the V-bar outsole. I also got this outsole for my Nick’s Americana boots, and I found that the Vibram V-bar is slightly stiffer and has a bit less traction when you compare it to the Vibram 430 mini-lug.

If I’m honest, I can’t really tell a practical difference when I’m wearing it, but that’s what one experienced cobbler explained to me and I trust them. 

In any case, Vibram makes a fantastic outsole and I’m happy with the V-bar. 

The entire insole and midsole are leather, including a wedge of leather along the arch for greater arch support as well as a leather shank. 

whites packer flatlay with sole detail

There are several benefits to a leather shank (a lot of folks claim they use leather shanks because the boots are meant to be used by firefighters and steel would get too hot). I think the real benefit to a leather shank is that the shank will break in with the rest of the boot over time.

A pair of White’s boots should last at least five years (of course, there are many pairs out there that are over 20 years old). After that many years, the leather of the insole will break in, and could potentially lead to a hot spot if the steel shank was just poking through the insole. 

With a leather shank, that’ll break in as well, so your boots will continue getting more and more comfortable as time goes on. 

That aspect isn’t talked about a lot but that’s because boots aren’t built to last that long. Unless you’re talking about White’s or Nick’s or Vibergs. 

There’s no cork filler—this bad boy is all leather, and it’s surprisingly comfortable. 

Fit and Sizing

Whites Packer kiltie and laces

I’m a 10.5D on the Brannock device and I picked up a 10D in the Packer. They fit me really well.

I was pretty surprised when I first put them on—the arch support is borderline outrageous. No other boot I’ve worn has the same amount of arch support, with the exception of my Nick’s Americana

I’m still a bit torn on whether I think this is actually comfortable, but I can see this being a knee and back saver if you’ve struggled with flat feet and you work in active rugged conditions five days a week. 

For a casual boot, it’s a bit extreme. But for a work boot you’re willing to break in, I think the amount of arch support can make a massive difference in your comfort. 

Break-in Period

Whites Packer boot walking on log

I haven’t fully broken these boots in, but I’ve put in some serious hours. It probably took about 10 hours of wearing them before I felt I could wear them for several hours. 

It was probably the toughest break in I’ve had, second only to my Nick’s. 

I didn’t have any issues with blisters, but it was more just general soreness. Like the boot was shaping my foot rather than the other way around.

How do I break in White’s Boots?

The best way to break in boots is just by wearing them. You can spray the outside of wool socks with water and wear your boots for an hour or two and then let them rest for 24 hours if you’re desperate to break in the leather.

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White’s Packer Boots

The White’s Packer is a tough and rugged boot that’s maybe a little too beefy for my needs. But I still love it.

If you need a boot that’ll last through years of tough work, the Packer is a fantastic choice. If you’re looking for something more for everyday casual wear, I would stick with White’s casual line.

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

What do Other Reviewers Say?

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Like the other Pacific Northwest boot brands, White’s has a cult following and deservedly so. I know I was initially shocked at the price these boots can reach ($600 for a boot?). But reviews online for White’s almost never have any twinge of regret in their tone. 

Some swear by White’s and that’s all they wear. I’m not that devoted, but I’ve enjoyed my experience with the Packer so far. 

White’s Packer Alternatives 

Nick’s Packer

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If I had to get another Packer boot, I’d probably go with the Nick’s Packer over the White’s Packer, and there are a few reasons. 

First is price: the Nick’s Packer is about $100 less at the time of writing, and I know Nick’s is good on quality.

Second is that I like how much customizability there is with Nick’s. At the time of writing, there are 29 different leather options you can choose from to build your boots. I also like that the shaft of the Nick’s is 10” compared to the White’s 8”. 

So you can really get exactly the kind of boot you want and you can do so while saving a bit of money. To me, it’s a win-win. 

Nick’s Packer Boots

The Packer is a workhorse giving you comfort and support all day long for tough, demanding jobs. 

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White’s MP Sherman

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I recommended the Nick’s Packer if I had to get another Packer. But I don’t, and I think it’s too much of a work boot for what I actually need. 

Instead, if I had it all back, I’d get the White’s MP Sherman

It’s more of a casual cap toe service boot, and the details are a little lighter. That’s not to say that the MP-Sherman isn’t a tank—it is, but it’s built for casual wear and not built to take on the toughest possible conditions. 

I always thought that more durability would be better until I realized that wearing three pound work boots to the coffee shop is a bit over the top. 

White’s MP Sherman Boots

Modeled after American infantry boots during WWII, this boot supplies the durability of its light armored namesake with a modified White’s upper and a cap-toe design found on traditional field boots.

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My Thoughts Overall On White’s Boots Packer

What I Like

  • The thick iron leather through the insole and midsole makes for a boot that will last a long time.

  • The sharp packer-style heel is unique and a great option for certain types of work—I also like how it looks.

  • White’s features impeccable stitchdown construction with excellent quality materials.

What I Don’t Like

  • The break in takes a while due to the entire insole and midsole being stiff leather, but that’s also why this boot is so durable.

  • I bought this boot for casual purposes, and reflecting on my experience, it’s almost too much boot for that—for working situations it’d be amazing.

Who is White’s Boots for?

White’s work boots are excellent if you want a durable work boot that can last you several years without breaking down. And their casual boots are at the top end of construction and materials.

The Verdict

I like the White’s Packer a lot, but it’s too much boot for me personally. 

That says more about me than it does White’s or this specific boot. 

The Packer is awesome—thick 6oz Seidel leather, pure leather insole and midsole, sturdy stitchdown construction, durable Vibram V-bar outsole. It might be the most durable boot in my collection. 

But for a casual boot, it’s a bit heavy and impractical for me. 

I think if you’re looking for a Packer work boot, you’ll likely get a better value from the Nick’s Packer boot

And if you’re more like me and looking for something casual, I’ll steer you toward the White’s MP-Sherman service boot

White’s Packer Boots

The White’s Packer is a tough and rugged boot that’s maybe a little too beefy for my needs. But I still love it.

If you need a boot that’ll last through years of tough work, the Packer is a fantastic choice. If you’re looking for something more for everyday casual wear, I would stick with White’s casual line.

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

FAQs

Are White’s boots heavy?

Yes, White’s boots are relatively heavy. I’m a size 10, and my Packer boots weigh three pounds each (total of six pounds for the pair). That’s almost twice the weight of my Red Wing Iron Rangers.

Are White’s boots still made in America?

Yes, all White’s boots are still made in Spokane, Washington, where the brand was born.

Do White’s boots stretch out?

White’s boots will stretch a little as you wear them, but if they’re feeling too snug on your feet now, you’re better off exchanging them for the next size up. While all leather boots will loosen and stretch a little as they break in, it’s rarely noticeable enough to warrant a different size.

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