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Brogan shoes, often just called brogans, are ankle-high boots or shoes that were popular during the 18th and 19th century, particularly among soldiers. They are made to withstand wear and tear, and are often used as work boots. Choosing the best brogan shoes entails choosing ones that are made of genuine leather or a similarly durable material; they should fit properly and feel comfortable on your feet for long periods of time.
The term "brogan" is a Gaelic word that means “little shoe.” Brogan shoes were commonly worn in the American Revolutionary War and the American Civil War. Many of the brogan shoes sold today are replicas of the Model 1859 Jefferson, a popular shoe among soldiers during the Civil war. The Jefferson had a square toe and four eyelets, and typically came with leather laces.
If you want brogans that are made to be historically accurate, stores that sell Civil War products or other styles of clothing from the 18th and 19th century are usually your best bet. In addition to the popular Jefferson model, other models of brogan shoes are usually available, many made with additions that give them historical accuracy, such as pegged bottoms or all leather components. If you purchase a replica made of all leather, buying metal heel plates is advisable, as the leather bottoms can be slippery.
Modern brogan shoes are more varied in style; the term is often loosely applied to any shoe or boot that is ankle high. Typically, the best modern versions are still made of leather, although they can be made from other materials, such as nylon. Most modern brogans at least slightly resemble the historically accurate models, but may come with rubber soles and cloth laces. Shoe stores that sell leather boots and shoes are the best place to look, although you may find shoes or boots called brogans in other types of shoe stores.
When choosing the best brogan shoes, it’s important to try them on if you can, particularly if you are purchasing a replica. Many replicas may fit a bit differently and are a bit smaller than a regular shoe or boot, so it’s a good idea to try a shoe that is a half size larger than you normally wear. If you purchase your brogan shoes online, ensure the store has a return policy in case the shoes don’t fit properly.