There is a story with these boots, so I will split this review in two - first about the boots, then about how I came into getting them.
There is a reason why the Derbies are the most popular style in the Solovair boot range by a mile. Sadly, most people never go up any further than eight eyelets - if that applies to you, you really ought to try something taller, you will realize you have missed out on something, I think I can fairly promise you that. Comfort, fit and finish are the usual Solovair standard, or in other words - excellent.
The burgundy rub-off leather is a world of its own, hard to discribe, best to be seen. It looks smart, elegant and goes well with the Derby style boots, you know, it has a very distinctive shine to it that will look different in several different lights, whereas black is just that, black. If you are currently wearing blacks, give burgundy rub-off a thought, you may not regret it. You may regret having waited for so long - remember folks: Black is the most overrated colour in menswear of all times, and maybe our ladies may agree, too.
Now the story behind me getting the boots - a story that involves Solovair customer service very prominently and writing this is a big thank you to their dedication and going out of their way.
I had ordered and duly recieved a pair of loafers, also burgundy rub-off. They looked terrific, but they didn't fit me at all. So I asked would it be possible to return and part-exchange them. Seeing that it was my mistake for ordering the wrong size or style, there was no obligation on their part to help me out. Yet they did, which was even more generous as I asked for a replacement not with the same shoe - i.e. tassel loafers in a different size - but wanted some 11-eyelet derbies instead. Of course I was prepared to pay the difference in price, but that is beside the point. You would expect a customer to do that, wouldn't you?
They agreed to do that for me - and shipping to and from Germany doesn't come cheap either, so that was more than just fair, it was generous. What I had done, things get even better, was that, filling in the form, I left things vague, stating I was happy to take either Derbies or Astronauts in either burgundy rub off, or oxblood, as long as they were 11-eyelets.
Would you believe it, they even took the trouble to ring me. Yes, ring me as in spend money on overseas phone calls! Asking for clarification which boots I preferred as they could supply both. I can think of many a company just taking the first pair that falls into their hands, wrap it up, paste the dispatch label on it and send it off - after all, I didn't specify any further so I would have to be happy with whatever I got. Which I would have been of course. But I was over the moon to be offered the choice - and I only wish I could do more than daydream about a holiday in the UK including a visit to the shop and the factory tour. Would love to take my boots back to where they were made. Covid will eventually be reined in, so that we can travel with certain precautions, I hope.
Bottom line, many, many thanks for outstanding customer service to the Solovair team.