Gear Review: Chippewa Women's 8" Tan Renegade Lacer Boots

These beauties aren't in my normal footwear
comfort zone, but they sure are beauties!
Chippewa boots have been around for a good, long while, specifically since 1901. The Wisconsin-born company believes in building boots with "uncompromising quality and standard," and to create footwear that is "the finest made, most reliable, authentic and rich in heritage luxuries."

Though Chippewa was founded under the premise of creating work boots "built to honor the guts and determination of the loggers and engineers who paved the way, built the roads, and constructed our buildings," the company also carries styles that are anything but.

With respect to non-hiking footwear, I typically steer clear of styles I'm not sure how to wear, choose comfort over style, and am generally price sensitive. When the Chippewa team offered to send me a complimentary pair of their Women's 8" Tan Renegade Lacer boots to try, I knew I'd be stepping out of my comfort zone. After putting them through their paces this month, though, I'm inclined to start trying to be a little bolder with my footwear choices.

Fit and Comfort

As soon as I opened the box, the smell of fresh leather wafted into the air. One look at the Renegade Lacer boots and it was clear to me they're nothing like any other pair of boots I've tried. The craftsmanship and attention to detail were obvious.

There isn't much in the way of cushioning,
but the boots soften the longer they're worn.
They were initially incredibly stiff and the inside of the boot doesn't have any extra lining or material. I immediately knew I was in for a long break-in period. The first time I wore them, I put on a thick pair of Smartwool socks and went out for a 30 minute stroll.

The vamp, which I learned is the part of the shoe between the toe box and the laces, dug in to the top of my foot as the boots bent, but otherwise, the first wear was comfortable after I got the lacing just right.

Though the grain covered insoles provide lightweight cushion and support, I was glad to have a cushy pair of socks on for added comfort and insulation. They softened over a few more outings, but I still wouldn't be comfortable wearing thinner socks with them.

I'm a generally a women's size 10 shoe, and the Renegade Lacer boots are ever so slightly too long, which could explain some of the initial discomfort during the break-in period.

The width is perfect for my narrower feet, and the laces help compensate for the fact that my feet slide backward and forward due to the length of the boots. If you're in between sizes and investing in a pair of these, I'd suggest going with the smaller size. I'd also change out the waxed cotton laces to make it easier to tie the shoes; I found the laces extremely stiff.

Style and Best Uses

The Renegade Lacer boots have a classic vintage look and feel with a distressed leather tan leather exterior. They'll fit in whether you're walking around town or wandering a dirt road, though I wouldn't recommend wearing them hiking because of the leather outsole.

Over 100 years of craftsmanship behind these babies! But the distressed look of the outsole came from general wear.
The more I wore them, the more distressed the exterior looked; new bends and cracks appeared in the leather, and I like seeing the changes; it made them feel more like mine, forming around my feet. I mostly wore them with jeans around town, but if you're the type comfortable pairing boots with dresses, that's an option too.

Overall, the Renegade Lacer boots are beautiful, and functional, but be prepared for a long break-in period and be aware of the price tag and what comes with it. The $297.95 retail price shocked me; the most expensive pair of boots I've ever purchased were my first backpacking boots, and even though they were full leather boots, they were still under $200. That price tag gets you a stylish, functional pair of boots handcrafted in the United States with imported materials using one of the oldest, most labor intensive shoe construction methods - goodyear welting.

Though I received a complimentary pair of boots, all opinions expressed here are my own. Also, as a note, there are affiliate links in this post, and I'll receive a commission for purchases made. What does stepping out of your footwear comfort zone look like to you? Are you always function over form, or does how a pair of kicks looks influence your decision? We'd love to hear from you!