Monday, November 30, 2020

THE PERFECT ENGINEER BOOTS FOR CHRISTMAS


Brand: Dapper's  x  Tools Infinity
Model: Lot. 1142SP
Circa: 1940s Style
Color: Natural
Size/Width: 7 - 10 / D
Leather: 3mm European Horsebutt
Hardware: Nickel
Price: $862 +tax

These boots have my undivided attention. They're easily characterized by every buzzword any collector looks for in today's boots -- natural leather, horsebutt, flat toe, long instep strap, sleek profile, vintage profile, brass hardware and the topping on the cake is the realistic price tag of under $1k.

Anyone looking to land what I consider to be a seggsy ass boot, shouldn't hesitate to contact Tools Infinity to see if they've got any sizes available. Apparently, they did a pre-order earlier in the year and some have backed out leaving a small available stock. 

Enough said. I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

www.vintageengineerboots.com

All photos from Tools Infinity Instagram












BECK HORSEHIDE AVIATION JACKET


Brand: Beck
Model: Northeaster Flying Togs 333
Circa: Early 1940s
Color: Brown
Size: Not labeled, but appears to be 38
Measurements:
Chest: 20.5”
Length: 25"
Sleeve: 24"
Leather: Pony-weight Horsehide
Hardware: Brass and Nickel, Talon zippers
Condition: Excellent used with slight stitching and lining issues
Sold For: $2,125.99 / 65 Bids

I originally created this blog to archive things I found interesting and over the years, folks -- to include myself -- have used it as a resource from which to compare prices on vintage clothing items. I've captured information on vintage Beck Engineer Boots several times in the past, but have never posted about their jackets.

Early versions of the Beck 333 jacket come up once or twice a year and they always seam to garner quite a bit of attention, so I thought it would be neat to finally start archiving them. An example from the past year or two even sold for over 4k if I recall correctly. 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

WESTRIDE "BIG CHIEF" ENGINEER BOOTS


Brand: WestRide (Made in Japan) 
Colors: Black
Leather: Front Quarter Horsehide
Hardware: Nickle
Price: ¥ 85,000 ($812.00)

www.vintageengineerboots.com
Photo source: Real Deal Japan


These have similar qualities as other vintage-style boots coming out of the Land of the Rising Sun, but I really like the lower heel on a beefy base. These are sure to look pretty great with wear.





Thursday, November 12, 2020

KEYSTONE SHOE CO. (TWO TONE AND ROUGHOUT)

Brand: Keystone Shoe Co. 
Colors: Nice Brown x Black
Sizes: 5 - 12 D or E 
Leather: Horween 
Insole: Flexible 
Leather Insole 
Hardware: Nickle 
Price: ¥ 58,000 ($552.00) 
Order start date: March 29th 2020
Delivery time: Estimated March 2021

 Order: scip-evo@hukurokuju.com

I introduced my readers to the newest name in the vintage-inspired Engineer Boot subculture last summer when Keystone Shoe Co. announced their 1950s-style boots in black, dark brown and brown Horween. What makes the brand stand out for me is the name, reputation and experience behind it -- Takeshi Okuyama of Fukurokuju. Easily the best in the business with a portfolio that would anyone's head spin. Check out the post here.

www.vintageengineerboots.com

Since that post, they've released three more versions in two tone and roughout (black and tan) and as I scroll through their site I'm reminded of how aesthetically pleasing and classic they've made the profile ... and at under $600, there is nothing not to love about these beauties. The best price in vintage-inspired boots and a world-renowned name in the biz makes these easily one of the best deals.




Brand: Keystone Shoe Co.
Color Tan and Black 
Sizes: 5 - 12, D or E
Leather: Horween Roughout
Insole: Flexible 
Leather Insole 
Hardware: Nickle 
Price: ¥ 58.000 ($552.00)
Order start date: August 1st 2020
Delivery time: Estimated August 2021




Monday, August 31, 2020

JOHN LOFGREN MONKEY BOOTS IN BLACK HORWEEN CXL


I've been searching for the right pair of roofer-style boots for so many years. With not many options to choose from over a decade ago, I was very close to pulling the trigger on a pair of Thorogood Roofer Boots. I decided to hold off since they came across as too much of a bulky modern work boot -- I wanted something with a vintage vibe. They definitely didn't fit the bill.

I found a pair of vintage tall boots online for a great price, but didn't appreciate how dainty they appeared in person. The search continued. 

www.vintageengineerboots.com
 
Leave it to one of the biggest names in today's heritage footwear biz to find the perfect balance of style, heft and functionality without the bulk and unnecessary fluff. 

Get yours at www.JohnLofgren.com


Like butter! I went with my usual John Lofgren boot and shoe size of 7 (all my Japanese-made footwear is size 7 for that matter). To give you an idea of sizing, I wear a 7 in pretty much everything out there. In 7.5 in Mister Freedom Road Champ Boots; however, I wear a 7.5.

They're super versatile with any size cuff ...


... and leg opening. 


That profile!


As I've said many times before, John Lofgren's boots are built like tanks and I like to treat them in the manner which they were designed and  built -- like work boots. I put the Monkey Boots through the grinder almost immediately and they performed wonderfully!


They cleaned up so well and will continue to look better with age. The incredibly pliable Horween CXL has already formed around my foot and have become so comfortable.


The perfect build without the fluff -- no unnecessary and excessive stitching you see on so many other boots.

Thank for yet another great boot, John and Team!!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

MONTGOMERY WARD BLUE BAND ENGINEER BOOTS


I originally posted about Blue Band over ten years ago (here) and am very excited to finally own my very first pair of boots sold by Montgomery Ward.

www.vintageengineerboots.com

What's interesting about these boots is their origin and the fact that the label doesn't advertise the retailer. We all know that Powr House is a Montgomery Ward brand - Such is the same with boots bearing the "Blue Band" label. This is actually a level of quality within a boot or shoe.

Definitions from a 1946 Spring/Summer Montgomery Ward Catalog


They possess all the details -- vamp, buckles and stitching -- that lead me to believe they were produced by Chippewa. Typical "White Labeling?"

*White labeling is when a product or service removes their brand and logo from the end product and instead uses the branding requested by the purchaser.



Subtle Toe Tracks

Thursday, May 7, 2020

DYE YOUR BOOTS (MY PROCESS)


I dyed these Road Champ Boots about 8 years ago while I was stationed on the island of Okinawa and have since received countless inquiries about my process.


What you’ll need:

  • Kiwi Leather Dye
  • Barbasol Shaving Cream
  • Painters Tape
  • Steele Wool (#0)
  • Black shoe polish
  • Cotton cloth (lint free)
  • Tooth Brush (soft bristle)
  • Boot Brush
Why Kiwi Leather Dye? I shipped out to Marine Corps Boot Camp in January 1995 when we were still wearing black leather boots (aka “Cadillac's”). It wasn’t until I reported to my very first duty assignment in Iwakuni, Japan that I learned the art of spit shining my boots (from my roommate, the son of Sergeant Major who taught him when he was a kid) and the process necessary to maintain an inspection-ready shine. A critical part of the process involves filling the pores with the dye in order to create a smooth surface by which to support layers and layers of black polish -- each layer of polish is carefully applied and becomes easier and shinier than the last until a mirror shine is achieved. After each work day, another layer of polish was applied followed by a quick spit shine. These efforts usually went on for about two weeks before the polish started to chip away preventing the effective application of any more. This meant it was time to “break it down” and start from scratch.

*Sometimes when I went too long without maintaining my boots (usually a different pair intended for heavy work), I noticed they would develop a patina. This was an unacceptable site for a Marine back then, but certainly a welcome characteristic in today’s rugged standard. This indicated to me that the tried and true process explained above was just what I was looking for when I set out to dye my Road Champs.

Why Barbasol? Barbasol was, and still is, very inexpensive and harmless way to clean and break down the polish to a new “blank canvas” while preserving the life of the leather.

Why Steele Wool? The #0 grit is rough, yet safe enough to remove factory-applied leather finish/protectant, thus allowing effective application of the Kiwi polish. It’s also used to safely break down the layers of polish.

Painter’s Tape: Used to protect accidental dying of the welt and other unintended leather parts.

Tooth Brush: Used in conjunction with the Barbasol to help thoroughly clean every nook and cranny.


 Step 1: Clean boots -- Using Barbasol and steel wool, follow these instructions (stopping at the point of allowing to dry over night -- DO NOT apply any Pecard products).


Step 2: Protect all areas of the boot with painter’s tape not intended to be dyed.

Step 3: Dye the leather. I applied a few layers, allowing each one to dry first. The process could end here, but the leather will be left with a dull finish.

Step 4: Apply a layer of polish with a cloth wrapped around index finger using circular motions.

Step 5: Buff with a boot brush.

Step 6: Remove tape.

Done.


Note: I don’t recommend using leathercrafting-grade leather dye as it is possible to accidentally dye too many layers, which will prevent patina to develop (think drum-dyed leather). There is no way to over-dye with Kiwi.


Follow these steps and you can achieve an incredibly satisfying patina with natural aging characteristics like i did.