Tuesday, June 11, 2013


There's no doubt vintage Chippewa Engineer Boots are some of the best out there with a look so classic that collectors are willing to dish out good money to own a pair. Brando wore them in The Wild One and Dean rocked them on Rebel, so it's only natural for a collector to want to be part of such an iconic past.

Chippewa recently announced the release of their "Archival" collection and based on the few below photographs that have made their way onto the pages of the world wide web, this collector is left wondering, "Haven't I seen this model before? Oh wait. This is their current model 97863 that they've merely upgraded with Horween leather, an early-style label and recycled buckles used on their Real McCoy's Chippewa line. They surely can't be trying to pass these off as their "early" model now could they?" It's true, folks.

With an endless library of archived material, and perhaps actual patterns, at their fingertips, the folks at Chippewa have fallen short of the finish line with their "premium" collection of Vintage Engineer Boots.

Model 97863 (right)

This tall pair considered to be a replica of (more like "inspired by" with noticeable shortfalls from the original) one of Chippewa's oldest known styles - definitely not the first of its kind as other companies have beat them to the punch - will meet only a narrow niche market looking for tall Engineer Boots. I've archived some amazingly true vintage and rare 17" Engineer Boots on this blog that have sold for close to nothing, so these won't be flying off the shelf without the help of an earthquake.  For those hard pressed for tall Chippewa's, the 27908 soft toe model can be obtained for a mere two bills, new.

With a scheduled release rumored to be sometime early fall I predict that the curious will spend their hard-earned money for a pair and a lot will quickly find their way at online auctions or online forums paving the way for the not-so-curious to be able to pick up a used pair at a reduced cost. Not all is lost, though. Their line of laced workboots look promising.

I really expected much more from this company.  Oh well, back to the drawing board ...

Brands/Models worth considering instead:
Chippewa - 27863 (steel toe) 97863 (non-steel toe)
Frye "Brando" / "Rand"
Lofgren & Co.
Mister Freedom "Road Champ"
The Real McCoy's Buco
Toys McCoy Beck
Red Wing model 2268 (online auctions)
WESCO "Boss"
White's "Nomad"

...and countless more.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more. The Chippewa engineers have long since fallen behind brands like Wesco, White's and Nick's in looks, due to their cheap heel and almost non-existent vamp/.heel counter interface, and to think they could just put a slightly taller heel and different leather on these and call them "original" is truly laughable.