Monday, February 1, 2016


Don Everly
1 February 1937

In 1961 Don and Phil were called upon to fulfill their military service obligations. They decided to enlist in the Marine Reserves and left the world of stardom to endure the rigors of basic training. To this day the Everly Brothers consider their training as Marines to be a pivotal positive experience in their formative years.

While in the Corps during the first half of 1962, they had a Top Ten hit with "Crying In the Rain," but their military commitment restricted them from capitalizing with club dates and tours.

On February 13, 1962, Don in his Marine dress uniform married movie starlet, Venetia Stevenson, in the chapel at Camp Pendleton, California. Five days later while still honeymooning in New York City, the boys made an appearance on CBS-TV's The Ed Sullivan Show in their dress uniforms. Don and Phil were released from the Marines on May 24, 1962. Three weeks earlier Warner Brothers issued "That's Old Fashion (That's the Way Love Should Be)" which became their second Top Ten single in a row.

Source: Bill and Sue

Sunday, January 31, 2016


Brand: Unknown
Circa: Late 1950's / 1960's
Color: Black
Size: Unmarked, but measures like a size 8 - 8 1/2
Length: 11 1/2”
Width: 4 1/4"
Sole: Full composition Cat's Paw
Leather: Cowhide
Hardware: Nickel
Sold For: Best Offer from $299.99

It's interesting to observe what folks consider a deal. These were up for $299.99 BIN or best offer yet they went unsold for a couple of days while other completely misrepresented vintage boots of lesser quality and characteristics sell for eight ... nine bills.

With relatively minor flaws, these were the PERFECT candidates for a trip to Role Club headquarters -- flat toe box, "toe tracks," perfectly-aged oil-tanned Cowhide (minor surface cracking) and an ideal overall profile. Brian could easily replace the missing gussets, darn the left backstay and add a new set of Bridgestones. I would have gladly paid the three bills for these and been very content ... until the next good deal came along.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016


I just received my custom Wesco "Boss" boots. The craftsmanship, materials and build quality are second to none.

These are the specs:
-Burgundy Domain leather
-Vibram 705
-Double midsole
-Motor Patrol Toe
-extrude instep strap
-Double Khaki stitching sole/welt
*custom solid brass Wesco 1990 roller buckles on order


Darren, Those are phenomenal, congrats!

These are the types of informative e-mails collectors really enjoy. Wear 'em in good health!


Friday, January 22, 2016


Jean "Django" Reinhardt
23 January 1910 – 16 May 1953

Monday, January 18, 2016


Also known as the "Career Jammer" ... at least during my younger years.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Jillian is our interior designer and has decided some vintage pieces don't fit into the room they were intended for. Not pictured is another Moss Lamp spinner with double shades. If interested, please leave a comment on Jillian's Instagram.
1950's Carlo Of Hollywood (51" x 33")

Super rare midcentury Moss Lamp with spinning figurine

Midcentury Reglor of California underwater beauty


Dear John,

I hope you are well! I want to ask two questions regarding engineer boots. I've been following your Instagram for a while and decided to solve the problem that I can't find a pair of engineer boots that fit my feet.

First, I want to learn how to wear engineer boots. I've already purchased three pairs of engineer boots, two of which Wesco and the other Viberg. However, I found them all unfit. I found that the strap on my instep seemed decorative and it couldn't prevent the heel from dropping. The size is good because I wear a pair of Wesco lace-up packer in the same size perfectly. My feet fit the inside length of my Boss boots, too. How to deal with this problem? Should I buy I pair of engineer boots in a smaller size and wear it in the way that I wear loafers?

Second, I am going to make a pair of boots with Brian. Role Club seems the only choice for me to get a pair of boots that fit my feet. I want to consult you about the style of the heels. I am 173cm high. Is it proper to have a low heel like the one of Viberg's service boots? Do you have some suggestions? I don't like a very high heel because it will make me too high, which is weird.

Thanks for reading my letter. I hope my poor English doesn't bother you so much. Hope you and your blog are well in the coming year!


Hello Simon, 

Thank you for the e-mail!

Heel slippage is a common characteristic of Engineer Boots; however, extreme slippage should be considered unacceptable, especially with custom-made boots. Having said that, I almost always have to punch another hole or two to the instep strap of all my modern homage boots regardless of them being custom sized or not. When ordering Role Clubs, you'll be required to provide custom measurements and mine fit like a charm ... with minimal heel slippage. Again, you'll never run into a pair of Engineers that lack any type of slippage. Also, it is not uncommon to have to undo the instep strap in order to wear or remove the boots for the purpose of reduced heel slippage.

I answered the heel height question for Sam just a couple of weeks ago and since you are shorter than him, I don't think heel height should pose any issues. You and I are about the same height and I went with the full stacked Woodsman heel. Like I told Sam, "It completes the whole package" and I couldn't be any happier with them.

I hope this helps.


Friday, January 15, 2016


Had a good time hanging out at Paramount Ranch during a photo shoot by Steph Fowler of Steph Fowler Photography.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Hi John, 

I am ordering my Role Clubs and had a question about the liner in the toe box. I'm trying to decide between having no liner for a more deflated toe box or go with the liner and letting it break in. What's your opinion on this, did you get your Role Clubs with liner or without?

Thanks for you help and expertise. This is my first pair of engineer boots so I want to get it right.

Thanks again,
The flattened toe box today

Hi Robert,

 Congrats on the decision to order Brian's boots, man! Liner or no liner, the result will always be a flat toe box. In theory, the option to go with no liner will yield the best result, but the size of ones toes will ultimately determine how flat the box remains. Sure they'll "deflate" when not worn, but shove a foot with boot socks back in there and you quickly learn the flatness threshold. The thin leather liner, in my opinion, is that insurance your toes won't ultimately wear a hole through this high stress point after just five years of hard use.

My boots the day they arrived

Totally hypocritical of me since the next pair I'm currently working with Brian on will not have lining -- my first pair of his boots have it and I still get a highly desirable flat toes -- but having worn boots for the better half of twenty-six years, I know what I'm getting myself into (Engineers were made with and without lining in the good ol' days). For someone new to the Engineer Boot world like you, I recommend getting the liner. You won't be disappointed.


Thank you so much! I'll go with the liner. I'll get my boots around August and I'll be ordering one of your belts around then too.



Mechanized fire power.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Dear John,

I hope you are well and Happy New Year. I wished to ask your opinion regarding the boots I am going to have made with Brian. I came across Role Club on Instagram and was very impressed with what I saw and decided that, even though they will be my first pair of Engineer Boots, these are the boots for me. I am an apprentice English Bespoke tailor and I think that is partly what drew me to Brian as opposed to other companies. My question is regarding the heel hight, I am 6ft 2in and was wondering if the full stacked heal will be too much or is it simply a personal judgment call? I do want a boot with as close to in detail, as possible, to a 40’s/50’s boot does that mean the full heel? I am passionate collector and wearer of vintage and repro clothing and am therefore enjoy the authentic details.

Many thanks in advance and I very much enjoy reading your blog and your proposal to your wife was an absolute highlight of the Rebel Beat movie.

Take Care,


Greetings and Happy New Year! 

Good choice of boots. For someone on the fence with the heel shape and height, Brian is the guy to custom-build a pair of boots that suit your specific needs. You can't go wrong with either a short or full stacked heel as these profiles were both offered during that golden era of boots. 

Here's a low stacked and blocked heel that is consistent with early 1940's heel profiles

If adding to your height isn't a concern, then I would recommend going all out with a full stack -- it just completes the package for me.

Full stack

If you're on the fence, then you may want to consider removing a stack/lift or two

Single stack removed

It's a pleasure to share my knowledge and experiences on the blog and I'm honored that so many people find the information useful. 

Marriage proposal at Rudolpho's in Los Angeles

Ha! I'm so glad that special moment was captured on film. And to have it archived on Rebel Beat is such a treat.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Happy new year, best wishes for this 2016!!

Thank you so much for publishing your knowledge so that we can learn about engineer boots. I just ordered a pair from Logfren of the badalassi leather and am on the wait list for a pair of black Road Champs, I don't know how I'll manage to be patient. 

Anyways, I have a question for you, I've seen that you have recommended several boot cobblers for resoling, etc. I have a pair of boots (not engineers, not vintage) that I purchased a while ago and loved for many years. They then needed resoling and I didn't know much about the process at the time. So one day I come back home and they had been resoled as a surprise. I was very happy about it, except later on I found out I didn't really like the quality of the resole and walking on them feels a bit off now. They are a pair of martin margiela boots and had a thin leather sole. Do you think any of the cobblers you mention would be able to re-resole them so that I can use them again? 

Thank you so much!!


My Chippewa Engineer Boots re-soled by Role Club


Happy New Year to you!! I'm glad you enjoy the blog.

Wow! You are definitely on the fast track to a nice collection of Engineer Boots there. Congrats! 

Well, wasn't that a nice gesture to have your boots repaired. There are tons of repair shops out there, but there are only a few out there I would trust to do the job right. Any of the listed shops on my blog should do okay depending on the level of work you want done to your boots, however, there are only two on that list I've personally had experience with - Hukurokuju and Role Club. If in your position, I'd choose Brian at Role Club as Okuyama is located in Japan and a lot of people find it difficult to wrap their head around sending anything overseas for repair. 

Brian is a super nice guy and his attention to detail is second to none. He definitely has my business as long as he's around.

I hope this helps. 


Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Another addition to my list of jackets to buy. The Barrigner coat is a sweet piece of gear.

Monday, January 4, 2016


Hi, John

I'm writing this email to ask you what I can do to fix a cut in my left BUCO boots as its shown in the pic attached. Although the cut don't seem too deep now because  I managed to cover it with Johnsons black shoe oil, yet I'd like to repair this open wound further.

I'm looking forward to your replies.


A big fan of your VEB blog

Hi CJ, 

Bummer about the cut. Not to worry, though, there is an easy fix for it. 

Back when we still wore leather combat boots (aka "Cadillac's") it was difficult to maintain our spit shines while working around equipment and a lot of the time we ended up with deep gouges and scrapes on our boots by the end of the day. Rather than risk being "corrected" by anyone of higher rank for not being squared away, we quickly learned how to repair these uniform discrepancies. 

Here's what you'll need:

GLUE- Back then (over twenty years ago), Crazy Glue was my bonding liquid of choice, but after working with leather for so many years I learned that Elmer's (yes, school glue) works wonders as a leather bonding agent. There's also glue marketed specifically for leather work. 

 - Because yours is a straight forward cut and not a gouge with a flap, I'd personally use Crazy Glue. 

POINTY OBJECT (fine point) - A sewing needle or bamboo skewer point to carefully apply the glue.

SANDPAPER (fine grit) - 1200 grit should do the job

LEATHER DYE (black) 



- To avoid accidentally applying too much glue on the leather, you'll want to squeeze some onto a piece of paper or cardboard. 

- Using the needle or skewer, dab the tip and carefully apply it along length of the cut. Don't worry about overfilling the cut - you just don't want glue to drip anywhere outside of it. If this occurs, use a damp paper towel to wipe it right off. 

- Once the glue is completely dry, use the sandpaper to even out the glue. Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel and let dry. 

- At this point, use a Q-Tip to carefully apply leather dye along the length of the cut, allow to dry. You can polish the boots to even everything out, or leave it as-is if you already have a nice patina.

This is a procedure I've done many times over the years, so I know it works. 

Hope this helps.