In 1901, an Order-in-Council was issued stating that all members of the Force would be required to wear the brown Strathcona-style boot. This particular style of riding boot had been designed by the Slater Shoe Company of Montreal for Strathcona's Horse, a military unit that served in the South African War.
Prior to 1901, commissioned officers were permitted to purchase their own black boots privately, whereas other ranks were issued a brown knee boot. It was felt the variations did not contribute to a uniform look which the Force wanted to project.
After the major uniform changes in 1901, all riding boots were brown, and black ankle boots were kept only for dress occasions. Throughout the years, though many patterns and fits have been tested for increased comfort and wear, the style of the Strathcona boot has remained relatively unchanged.