Initial Impressions, Stitched Footwear, White's Boots

White’s MP: Out of the Box


  • Price: $589
  • Pros: Built Like a Tank, Completely Rebuildable
  • Cons: Some Questionable Stitching, Not Cheap



White's MP-55 Cinnamon Waxed Flesh
White’s MP-55 in Cinnamon Waxed Flesh

Historically, White’s Boots doesn’t really like to change the way they do things. While some others in the Pacific Northwest, most notably Viberg, have very distinct lifestyle and work lines, White’s makes almost all of their boots to the same standards on the same lines. The difference this makes can probably be seen most clearly on this pair: The White’s MP Service Boot.

Depending on how you determine the founding of White’s Boots, they are one of the oldest shoemakers in the US. In fact, boots with the name “White’s” on them go back to before the Civil War – 1853 to be exact. They have operated in Virginia, Idaho, and Washington State, where they are based today in the city of Spokane.

When the Americana craze hit the men’s fashion world White’s saw that they needed to create something to capture it. A boot company without a “service boot”-style boot was going to be left behind. The MP was designed to give White’s an offering in this category.

That raises the question though: how does a fashion-oriented boot from a company that prioritizes toughness over looks stack up?


White's MP
White’s MP-55

First, because White’s are so customizable, it probably makes sense to do a quick run down on this boot’s options. This pair of White’s MPs one was built off an MP-Sherman base. This means a cap toe and a traditional round heel counter. I opted for the lugged half-sole, cinnamon waxed flesh leather, no speed hooks, no stamping or logo pressed in, unstructured toe, and a change from the MP last to the 55 last. This last change is often referred to as the “MP-55.”


Before we get into the specifics – this boot has something that I’ve never seen before in a shoe. Maybe this says more about my photography skills than the boot itself, but it is extremely unphotogenic. I’ve seen it in my photos, and I’ve seen it in other reviews online. It looks stubby, almost like a shoe for a child. It just does not photograph well outside of a few promo shots.

This is a shame, because in real life this isn’t the case. It certainly isn’t sleek by any means, but they don’t stand out as worse than any other service boots I’ve come across.


White's MP Backstay
Backstay; Note the Amount of Stitching

Starting up front, the shoe features a quad-stitched captoe which is sewn on even and straight. While that doesn’t sound like much, this is actually the very first captoe boot I’ve ever owned where this has been the case. And that includes a pair of Alden’s PCT shell boots.

Moving further back, the shoe doesn’t lack when it comes to stitching. The shaft is held to the vamp by another 4 rows of stitching, the heelcap and backstay by three, and everywhere else at lease one row of stitching on either side. Based on other reviews, I was expecting this stitching to be spotty at best. However, I was pretty happy with what I saw. There were a few minor flaws here and there, but nothing you’d notice from more than a few inches out.

While there are a few items that are not perfect – the eyelets tend to wander around a bit as they move up the boot – the only real area of the upper where I have any complaints is where the vamp meets the tongue. The U-shaped stitching here means that at several pieces of leather stacked on top of one another. Six, actually. When you use the thickness of leather White’s does, this can create a kind-of ugly bulge at the midfoot.


Speaking of the tongue, the MP has a partially gusseted tongue. In other words, it is attached partway up the shaft, but detached at the very top. The top of the tongue itself is very wide and tall. Not quite large enough that you need to fold it over on itself when laced up, but some might want to.

Interior and Accessories:

White's Boots Lining
White’s Unlined; Still Partially Lined

Inside, the first thing that stands out to me is that, because these boots are unlined, the majority of the interior is actually natural Horween Chromexcel. The material is getting harder and harder to find. I almost feel a bit bad having it on the inside of my boot. The only area where you don’t see this on the shaft is a bit of waxed flesh added to the collar for comfort, and the backside of the tongue.

When it comes to White’s and their overbuilt nature, unlined doesn’t really mean unlined. The front half of the boot still comes with a very thick cow-hide liner. A brown heel pad runs about ¾ the length of the boot, with a white leather footbed finishing out the shoe.

All that stitching from the exterior of the upper can be seen here as well. Honestly, they should give you a new pair of you manage to rip off one of these panels because I’m not sure how it would even be possible.

Included with the boot were a pair of rawhide laces, which are included in the pictures, as well as a pair of brown cotton laces. Both are just a bit thicker than I’ve seen on other Pacific Northwest bootmakers.


Mid- and Outsole:

White's Leather Midsole
1 Inch Thick Midsole/Outsole

While the uppers are built tough, the midsole is on a whole new level. From welt to bottom of the outsole near the ball of the foot is nearly 1 inch thick!

We will hit some of the benefits in the materials section, but I think it’s fair to point out some of the drawbacks. Most obvious, the stitching of the welt is pretty bad. In fact, it’s the most uneven of any higher-end shoe I’ve ever owned. Even from several feet out you can tell that the stitches are nowhere near a straight line.

Cinnamon Waxed Flesh
Waxed Flesh Leather and Welt

That being said, the welt isn’t all bad. One thing that I absolutely love is that White’s uses the same material as the upper for the welt. This gives an impression somewhere between a normal goodyear welted shoe and a stitchdown one. While I wouldn’t want it on a pair of oxfords, it’s a great look here.

Beneath the welt, the multiple layers of thick leather show that this isn’t your everyday boot. Finally, the outsole is a half-sole. In other words, it has a commando lug pattern on the heel and under the ball of your foot, and a leather section in between. The stitching here is better than the welt, but far from perfect.

Fit & Comfort:


Half Sole
White’s Half Sole

As someone who has wider feet, especially in the ball and toes, I felt it was worth switching over to the 55 last from the normal White’s MP last. I have to say I’m glad I did.


In the first few seconds I put them on they felt slightly too tight. Thankfully, within a minute or two my feet compressed into the footbed and now they feel just about perfect. If I was going to nitpick on sizing, I would move these over to a combination last (a last where the heel is built more narrowly than the ball and toe). The heel is a bit loose and it makes the boot feel less secure. It isn’t a coincidence that almost every other major brand uses combination lasts.

I measure between a 11.5E and 12D on a brannock device, and took these in an 11.5E. To see the sizing of all the shoes we have reviewed, click here. If you’re unsure of sizing, reaching out either to Baker’s, where I got mine, or to White’s directly should result in great guidance.


MP Lining
Waxed Flesh Around Collar; Natural Chromexcel Inside

When it comes to comfort, there are two sides to this boot – especially in the 55 last. Unlike most companies that use a thick layer of cork and often an EVA foam pad under the heel, White’s relies entirely on layers of leather for comfort – though there is a small amount of cork used as a filler. This makes them extremely supportive, but at the expense of shock protection. I think the rubber outsole is really carrying the majority of the weight in impact mitigation.

Speaking of supportive, these are built on the 55 last – part of the “Arch-Ease” line. In short, this means the boot has a strong arch support built into it. And, of course, it’s filled entirely with leather. If you have not had a chance to experience the White’s yet, the best correlation I can think of is getting a new pair of Birkenstocks. Of course, while the Birks will compress in a couple of days, you’ll be feeling that high arch for much longer in the Whites.

Personally, I love this. I find it much more comfortable. That being said, I could see why someone would describe this as standing on a ladder all day.



White's Leather
Leather on Leather on Leather on…

So far, pretty much every time I’ve used “overbuilt” it hasn’t been in a good light. That’s about to change. Before we jump into the materials themselves, let’s look at something else. Here are a few different shoes we’ve reviewed, and the weight of a single shoe/boot.

As a pair, these boots weigh nearly 5.5 pounds or 2.5 kilos!

As for the materials themselves, starting with the upper, every exterior panel on this boot is made up of thick-cut Horween Cinnamon Waxed Flesh Leather. Horween makes this by taking a piece of leather on it’s way to being chromexcel and coating it with wax on the roughout side, creating a slightly cracked appearance. While thicker leather will naturally have more variation, most spots on this boot are more than 2 mm thick. Inside, you have the smooth side of the chromexcel, mated with a thick, tan cowhide up front.

No Logo
No Logo Reminder for the Shoemakers

In the midsole, White’s uses multiple layers of thick vegetable tanned leather. In fact, they don’t even use a steel shank, instead opting for a leather here as well – which makes that weight even more impressive. I’m not quite sure what a cow did to the owners of White’s, but it’s pretty clear they are looking for some revenge.

Handstiched construction is what holds all of this leather together. While there are a few differences, from a 30,000-foot view this just means a goodyear welt-style construction but done by hand instead of on a machine.


Ease of Care:

White's Welt Stitching
Waxed Flesh Leather; Uneven Welt Stitching

With shoes built as tough as these are, most care will be voluntary. Waxed flesh in particular needs a different type of maintenance. By design, waxed flesh will lose some of the wax over time. This allows some of the rough out to peak through. If you want to reset the aging and reapply the wax, I’d suggest using Venetian Shoe Cream (what Horween uses) and a Dauber Brush. Otherwise, no real conditioning is needed.

The handmade nature of the White’s MP also comes with a double-edged sword here. Starting with the good, these boots can be brought back from just about any state. You can wear them in a fire, swimming in the ocean, or just about anything else and White’s team can disassemble them piece by piece to get them back to wearable.

On the other hand, because the difference between a normal goodyear welted shoe, you’ll have much fewer options if you simply want to replace a worn out sole. This, of course, means you should expect to pay a little bit more for a resole compared to what you might on a generic pair of shoes.


White's Boots Forest
I Swear, These Don’t Look Like Toddler Shoes in Real Life

The White’s MP is not a cheap pair of boots. With an MSRP of $589.95, you’ll be paying a pretty penny for a pair. It isn’t impossible to find them on sale, but the discounts typically max out at 15%.

That being said, it is possible to luck out and get a pair for less. Especially if your patient and willing to give up the ability to customize. The best deals are found on White’s eBay account. What they have on there can be hit or miss, but at the time of writing they actually have a pair of MPs in brown waxed flesh for $369, and a bunch in shell cordovan for $750 or $850 depending on options.

Another area to look is Baker’s Final Few. The deals here typically are not quite as good (right now the MPs they have are $415), but it’s worth taking a look.


White's interior stitching
Just as Much Stitching Inside

While it’s true that these boots are expensive, it’s hard to argue with their value. These are an incredibly well built pair of boots. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume they will last for decades using them in hard wear.

When looking at their direct competitors, there isn’t much in it when it comes to pricing. Nick’s has the urban drifter, which come in slightly higher at $609. WesCo has the Hendrick, which come in slightly lower at $579.95. Truman Boots offers a significant drop in price, even if we at 100wears have not had the best luck with their boots. Figure on paying between $400 and $500 for a pair.

If you’re shopping mostly on price, Alden’s Indy Boot falls into this price point as well, starting at $579, even if it doesn’t directly compare based on style. I feel I should also mention Viberg’s Service Boots which run between $670 and $710 depending on leather, but can often be found for around $500 during black Friday.

Ultimately, the White’s MP fall in the middle of the pack on price.

Wrap Up:

White's MP Service Boot
White’s MP Service Boot

It’s clear there are several options in a similar price point to the White’s MP. That being said, I don’t think any other pair of boots threads the needle between “built like a tank” and “fit in with a normal guy’s wardrobe” the this pair does. Sure, Nick’s can build an amazing boot, but I’m not sure the average person could pull them off with jeans and a t-shirt in downtown Baltimore. On the other hand, Viberg’s influence on American men’s fashion is undeniable, but with slimmer lasts, higher prices, and less robust construction, many wouldn’t be comfortable wearing them in truly harsh conditions.

When suggesting a pair of boots, there are a few that have been the “correct” answer for many years. Do you want a classic design and impeccable construction? Get an Alden Indy. Do you want a boot that is both affordable and long lasting? Get a Redwing Iron Ranger.

I think the White’s MP justifies being one of these perennial answers. Next time someone asks you for a boot that is just at home target shooting on a farm as it is shooting the breeze at Target in the ‘burbs, consider suggesting the White’s MP.

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