Rockport boots are known for their quality, durability and style, but do you know what to look out for when buying them?
Part 1) Not all Rockports are created equal....
Originally Rockport boots were made in Portugal, using high quality materials and high quality production methods. It's why they cost almost £160 to buy in shops! These boots would stand up to a lot of abuse and last years and years. However, in the last couple of years Rockport made a few changes to cut costs.
- Firstly, they started glueing the soles onto their boots, rather than stitching as had been used previously. While this isn't a major problem, it does mean they lost a bit of durability. If you are buying the black and silver or black and gold boots, look out for the line round the sole. If it goes all the way round the front, the soles are glued on. Alternatively, ask the seller the model number from the tongue. If it starts APM it is the later boots, if it starts M then it is the stronger older ones.
- Second, all boots sold in the last couple of years have been produced in China. This has affected the quality considerably. The leather loses shape, creases and discolours much easier than the Portugal ones, and the stitching and other production is noticeably lower in standard (for example it is quite often possible to see glue marks round the sole and stitching that hasn't been finished at the ends). This has reduced the boots to little more than branded high street goods, no better in quality than something from a much cheaper retailer. While the style is still more or less the same, don't expect them to last you years.
Overall, I would recommend paying a good price for original, Portugal ones with the stitched on soles. They are rare now and if you can get an almost new pair it is worth bidding high. The glued sole Portugal ones are still solid boots, so I would still suggest going to a reasonable price. However, the ones made in China are poor and really do not do justice to more than bids of 20 or 30 pounds.
Part 2) Not all Rockports are Rockports!
At their peak of popularity, Rockport boots were copied and faked quite widely. While it is much less common to come across pairs now, they do still turn up from time to time. A good indicator is the name, if they don't say Rockport on them then they aren't Rockport! Rockford and similar are low cost copies. Unfortunately, a lot of fakes do have Rockport badges and can be harder to spot. One indicator is having a silver metal tag on the side of a plain pair of boots. Rockport normally only produces boots with metal tags on the side when a contrast colour is used, such as the silver/gold lines on black/brown boots and darker tan or green lines on tan or brown boots. It can be very hard to tell, so if you aren't sure, try asking the seller if they still have the receipt. Failing that, ask how much they paid for them. Portugal made Rockports, with stitched on soles used to sell for £155-£185, the glued on soles Portugal ones sold for £125-£160 and the China made ones for £120-£130.
If in doubt with any of the above, please contact me, as I can spot genuine and fake ones, as well as tell the difference between Portugal and China ones.