Handcrafted field Boots

March 30, 2017

About three years back ago. When a group of Japanese shoemakers visited me – one of them asked, whether I would like a bespoke pair of dress shoes. I told them half jokingly, they would be wasted as they really wouldn’t get much mileage. I would much prefer serious work boots that can past off as dress shoes.

Over lunch I started to sketch out the rough outlines of what I believed would be the ideal leather work boot that can even masquerade as a pair of formal dress shoes – the color has to be dark brown. As I never ever wear black for formal shoes – the leather should be full grain single scalp shoulder hide for the toe box and vamp construction extending along two thirds of the length of the shoe right to the shank….very unusual and rarely ever done for a boot.

As I deliberately wanted the clean lines to create a passable dress shoe design. There should be with no visible stitching to facilitate waterproofing except maybe for the welting.

I shared with my friends. One of the problems I frequently encounter is the hassle of having to change from dress to work boots during field inspections.

With this design since the lines of the boot is relatively clean and uncluttered….it could very well just get away looking like a rather chunky pair of dress shoes maybe like Dr Martens – if I let the helm of my trousers cover the lacing.

Only unlike Dr Martens that’s really only good for nothing except ambling around Malls and flat city pavements…these are very serious work boots.

All the stitching should be at least doubled and in certain regions such as the rear erectors even tripled for extra lateral stiffness, durability and waterproofing just like my Tricker’s and the shape of the heel erectors should be dramatically cut in, sloped in such a way where the heel sits snug and is always cradled to prevent heel slip and unnecessary movement – this is jugular in good work boots.

The leather on the rear erectors should be thick saddle grade for maximum stiffness and support for long treks….the lacing and tongue shaft should be slender, super soft, baby lamb skin and constructed without any bulging supplementary lining in the lithe likeness of a neck of a giraffe or woman’s dress boots so that when I let the helm of my trousers drop over them…they don’t catch and everyone notices I am wearing field boots.

Threading should be unusually configured in alpinist fashion with a dress heel appearance – but the threads should have a strong functional emphasis on downhill descents in wet hiking or rocky conditions.

After finishing, I looked at them all expectantly. Some sighed. Others shook their heads as if expressing – it cannot be done…too many design contradictions. Others who were inclined to remain polite remarked, they had no such experience in handcrafting such unorthodox work cum dress boots.

The matter was forgotten…..

Recently I received a package from Japan. Inside was a pair of very handsome dark brown boots – not even so much as a note….a mysterious pair of boots from an anonymous shoe maker.

Judging from the expectional level of detailing, last shape and choice of leathers definitely handcrafted by someone who has a remarkable set of skills in fashioning and constructing formal dress shoes….pretty good first attempt at cross dressing a boot.

Fits like a glove.

Just like James Bond.

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