Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Christian approached me while I was still in Afghanistan looking for a reputable cobler to resole his Carolina Engineer Boots.  Naturally, I mentioned Takeshi Okuyma, but as we all know he isn't always the right choice due to location or else we'd all have boots refashioned by him.  Sometimes finding a local cobler and uncovering his/her talent is just as good.  Plus, in this case, it helps out others looking for a local cobler with a reputation for quality work.

Christian has owned his Carolina's now for over six years and found himself having to succomb to his "Fred Flintsone breaks" on numerous occasions while riding his vintage bike with suspect breaks.  Since the boots were nicely molded to fit just right, the only reasonable thing to do was have them resoled.  Enter Ben at Champion Shoe Repair located in Pampano Beach, Florida. 

Ben reassured Christian that as a shoe-builder, not just a shoe repair guy, he'd be able to replicate the soles in the photos taken from my blog. 

Carolina Boots Before

After a two week trip to Champion Shoe Repair.  I think Ben did an outstanding job adding double leather soles and stacked leather heels with Good Year heel caps that are sure to last.  These Engineer Boots have definitely been transformed from everyday mass-produced Carolina Engineer Boots to a period-correct 1950's looking soft-toe pair of Engineer Boots with a highly desireable vintage profile. 

I'm not sure what Christian originally paid for these boots, but I picked up a pair of Carolina Engineer's some years ago for under a bill.  That, along with the $225 for the resole from Ben turns out to be a pretty awesome deal considering these boots could pass for vintage.  There are a lot of people who would pay as much as five bills if not more (this market is sooo unpredictable) for these at auction.

Here's Christian's feedback of Ben and his work - "Very nice guy, and a motorcyclist, he seemed concerned about having the leather soles and possibly slipping and dropping my bike, but the first thing I did was hop on my bike and no trouble at all with the sole.  Sliding around in my kitchen is a different story.   He charged me $225 for the works and he took 2 weeks – exactly what he quoted me.  He even asked me to come to the shop and see the heel to make sure the height was correct before he put the rubber cap on.  He wanted to make sure I was happy with the work.   He lamented the fact that there are so few cobblers around, and hard to find work building shoes because he is a shoe maker, not just a shoe repair guy.  So he told me if I ever wanted a shoe or boot built from scratch, come see him."

If you are in need of a cobler and live in an area without such resources, you may want to contact this shop.

Click on business card to visit Champion Shoe Repair

When he's not riding around on his bike in his awesome new Engineer Boots, Christian Clarke is the lead guitarist/vocals (with Danny Krauss on drums) of the Ft. Lauderdale rock band, The Riot Act.

Thanks for all the helpful information, Christian!


  1. Those look beautiful, and he clearly does great work! It's amazing how big of a difference a sole can make.

  2. Those come very close to being the perfect engineer boot, great job!