Local Boot maker is embracing the clunky footwear trend.

Photography by Thomas Benjamin.

Kansas City’s cooler fall and winter temperatures make it the perfect backdrop for the buckle- and lace-up leather footwear that’s recently been seen clomping down the catwalk.

Many of the 2023 couture cold-weather runway looks paid tribute to Vivienne Westwood, a legendary fashion designer who passed away last December. Westwood’s fashion design and aesthetics are largely credited with making modern punk and new wave fashion mainstream. While we admit the women’s punk leather boot came into vogue a decade ago, in the 2010s, this time around it’s more polished, contemporary with a masculine twist on the old fav. This new take brings a tougher, rougher edge to many feminine looks as well as a bit of an androgynous or gender-neutral twist.

One local boot maker bringing this aesthetic to the local KC scene is Thomas Benjamin, who makes shoes in the old-world cobbler style—completely handmade and made to order. Benjamin’s focus is on keeping with traditional craftsmanship while combining it with today’s fashion trends.

Benjamin’s studded combat boots paired with feminine floral maxi dresses give the classic look some edge while laced or distressed boots take inspiration from menswear. Fashionistas everywhere are pairing laced or buckled boots with contrasting looks, such as a faux fur coat or rich silk dress.

Thomas Benjamin’s boots can be found at thethomasbenjamin.com

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