Fab 40: Roots Footwear
It’s one step back in time, two steps forward in fashion for Roots, the iconic Canadian retailer that is, quite literally, returning to its roots by re-launching a collection of outdoorsy chic boots, just in time for winter.
’The shoes and styles that we made back then are in style now,’ says co-founder Michael Budman who, in 1973, opened a humble shoe store with pal Don Green. Business boomed when they expanded into leather bags and jackets while comfy clothing, complete with beaver logo, is now a mainstay for teen campers and reformed hippies alike (to non-Canucks, Roots is most famously associated with the floppy beret-style hats worn by the U.S. Olympic team for the Salt Lake City games in 2002).
The classic desert boot has returned although it’s the knee-high, crepe-soled biker boots that have longtime fans kicking up their heels. Similar to the candy-coloured handbags and vegetable dyed men’s satchels, the leathers come from Italian tanneries but the assembling takes place a short drive from downtown Toronto. Some boots will boast rugged rubber soles that were originally designed for the Canadian military. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for a multitasking metropolitan