Monkey magic - the new Solovair x Oliver Spencer monkey boots

Oliver Spencer has teamed up with the Northamptonshire-based shoemaker Solovair to create a new and exclusive monkey boot that pays tribute to the classic style of the 1960s, crafted in a beautifully soft leather and featuring Solovair's iconic Goodyear-welted sole. It comes in a jet black style with contrast stitching and heel tab, as well as a rich dark tan option. 

"I've always loved the ruggedness of the monkey boot, but I wanted to create something a little more polished for the modern wardrobe, hence we worked closely with Solovair to incorporate decorative stitching on the leather upper. The result is an ankle boot that retains all of the toughness of the 1960s original but has a more refined versatility for today's wardrobe." 
Oliver Spencer

 OLIVER SPENCER X SOLOVAIR BROWN LEATHER MONKEY BOOTS

SOLOVAIR X OLIVER SPENCER
BROWN LEATHER MONKEY BOOTS

OLIVER SPENCER X SOLOVAIR BLACK LEATHER MONKEY BOOTS

SOLOVAIR X OLIVER SPENCER
BLACK LEATHER MONKEY BOOTS

The monkey boot's heyday was in the early 60s but it actually originates from Czechoslovakia around the time of World War II. Some accounts erroneously believe the boot was Czech army issue but the military had actually been disbanded at this time since the Nazis had invaded Czechoslovakia a year prior to the official outbreak of the war. Nevertheless, Czech shoemakers such as Bata (which the Communist authorities nationalised in 1945) - who had a huge operation at the time - were making and exporting monkey boots all over the world, many of which ended up in army surplus stores.

They gained subcultural popularity in the 60s thanks to the mod and then skins movements. Monkey boots were significantly cheaper than Doc Martens at the time, which made them very popular with the younger generation, which was probably the death knell for them as what serious mod or skin would be seen in the same boots as his little brother or sister?! In Poland at the same time, the boots were referred to as ‘pionierki’, which is a reference to the Soviet boy scouts they were originally made for, so the audience for monkey boots was a young one Europe-wide. As the 70s rolled in, monkey boots were widely seen as 'girls boots', with the guys fully adopting Doc Martens at this stage, but in '78, one Paul Weller wore a pair on the cover of The Jam album All Mod Cons, and the monkey boot once again started to gain traction.

Today, we just think the monkey boot is an iconic casual style with a rugged, outdoorsy look that fits right into an urban framework. We've elevated it by using premium leather throughout, and rather than the classic tractor sole, we've incorporated Solovair's iconic sole. If you recognise it from Dr. Martens' Air Ware sole then you'd be right - for 35 years Solovair's parent company NPS produced shoes under licence, sold under the name of 'Dr. Martens by Solovair.' 

We think they're a brilliantly versatile boot, easily styled with a pair of jeans or chinos with a couple of roll-ups. The polished leather finish gives them a smart appearance but there's no getting away from the rugged characteristics of that outdoorsy block. From Commie cub scouts to iconic musicians, the monkey boot has enjoyed a diverse history that's about to take another step forward.

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