Tuesday, December 16, 2014


There are so many production boots on the market today that pay homage to that bygone era of the 1930's through the 1950's we embrace so dearly ... for the classic American goods. Some are cookie cutter copies of other copies, while some are just down right clever designs that score big with collectors.

Sure, I could list a top ten - there are that many - but I'll pay tribute to the top three boots I feel capture the essence of this relatively simple and classic design. The brains behind these designs are clearly enthusiasts with the idea of creating something unique to an already super saturated market  - let's face it; the market was saturated even in the fifties. Using personal style and imagination, they've managed to create boots that will make collectors 65 years from now pay top dollar for at auction.

Without further delay ... #3


Tomonari Nishizaki and his partners at Attractions weren't screwing around when they set out to create their version of Vintage Engineer Boots. Out of the box, they immediately conjure up images from old department store mail-order catalogs. They kept the design as simple without going over the top tyring to add their own unatractive twist, thereby knockin' this one outta the park.

Montgomery Wards Blue Band grade from 1947

Source: Rocket-57

Clearly using original buckles from one of the best cobblers around, Okuyama (Hukurokuju), I'm left to wonder how much more involvement he has with these boots.

Brand: Attractions
  Lot 268 (Horse Butt) ¥78,000
  Lot 269 (Steerhide) ¥68,000
Sizes: 6-11(D)
Released: August 2014

Prime example of how these boots age. With the defalted, non-celastic toe box, these resemble something pulled from trunk sitting in an attic for over sixty years. This particular pair is Lot 269
#2 John Lofgren & Co. 

While distancing himself from the crowd, John took his boots to the next level by adding Goodyear storm welts. Something I haven't seen any other modern-day boot company tackle - another visually pleasing piece of attention-to-detail.

The heel/sole combination attributes of this footwear style are what really set the conditions of a really good looking pair. This is what frames the rest of the boot. John used a double mid-sole with a perfectly stacked heel capped with 5/8 inches of Vibram, totaling 1 5/8" - not too high and not disappointingly low.
The low rounded (non-steel) toe profile doesn't bear a modern-day "bump" or bulbous look found on lasts used by many of today's companies. John chose to stay consistent with the overall look of his 1950's inspired Engineer Boots and carved out a custom last desired by collectors; round and tapered in both height and width - no cookie cutter, off-the-shelf last here.

Brand: John Lofgren & Co.
Price: ¥107,784 - ¥118,584
Colors: Black (Horween CXL), Brown (Horween CXL), Cognac (Badalassi), Ortensia (Badalassi - sold out), Natural (Horween CXL - coming soon)
Sizes: 6-12
Released: 2012
E-mail: info@speedway-shop.com

It's obvious John put a lot of thought and energy into his boots. Combined with his great customer service, fast shipping and endless production of high-end clothing, this is a brand to keep at the top of your list. If these were ever lost or stolen, I wouldn't hesitate to order another pair.
#1 Mister Freedom® "Road Champ"

The Mister Freedom® Road Champ Boots pay homage to early century Engineers and have proven to be one of the best and unique designs on the market. Without having lost a bit of momentum since their release to the public back in 2009, these bad boys have been copied by many companies, but all have fallen short.

The leather on the entire boot is a thick cowhide that just feels like a high-quality leather. Dark brown in color, there is hint of a lighter brown undertone that slowly begins to appear more and more as the vegetable tanning and custom coloring begins to wear away. Just after a few days of continuous wear, it becomes clear that the soft toe box built around the custom, period-correct last begins to collapse into the desirable flat toe shape.

The thickness of the double leather soles and heels complement the boots just right with original Cat's Paw heels completing the package.

In my opinion, these boots are worth every single penny. When you wear them, you just know you are wearing a high quality, well thought out, custom-made pair of Engineer Boots. They are relatively light and I would not change one single thing on these boots.

Brand: Mister Freedom®
Model: Road Champ $949.95
Sizes: 7-12
Released: 2009

To see some examples of how these boots age, check out an old post entitled, "The Many Faces Of Mister Freedom "Road Champ" Engineer Boots here

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot John, honored to be in this line-up!
    Oh, and mail sent to info@attractions2006.com might not get to mf for a while :-)
    Hope all's swell