Saturday, March 21, 2020


Hey! I have a question for you on the Mister Freedom Campus Jacket. After owning a couple of different types, which color/material would you recommend? Which one do you find yourself wearing the most?
Hair-on-Hide and black Baloo

Thanks for the question! It really depends on how much time and patience one has to dedicate toward owning the natural Campus Jacket (only up until it reaches the owner's desired tan level). I love a good leather project and really enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor, so this jacket is the ultimate feel-good project. While it requires time and patience to get through the sun-tanning process without taking short cuts (like soaking it in water to "age" it and prematurely applying conditioner to speed up color darkening) the results are tremendously satisfying. Using the steps I document on this blog, I've achieved results that far surpass my expectations. This jacket, like the Stallion Campus, gets better and better with every day of use.

Taken today, 21 March 2020

That wonderful Indigo dye transfer

The appeal of the Stallion Campus for me is the black surface dye that reveals the natural color with normal wear over time, displaying a beautiful patina. Who doesn't love a good "tea core" leather number?! The bonus is how incredibly well the stacked arm creases hold their shape - likely due to the combination of the dye over the untreated leather*. I've owned mine for over five months now and I'm just amazed every time I wear it. The simple yet classic design of the Campus along with a brand that's respected around the globe is a win in my book.

Taken today, 21 March 2020

That wonderful Indigo dye transfer

I naturally find myself wearing the newest one, but since the Stallion ages so well I like to grab the natural balance out the wear.

Let's not forget about the rest of these beauties!

So there you have it. If someone wants to add a bit of color to their wardrobe along with a fun, satisfying project then the natural Campus is the way to go. If someone is looking for a Campus ready to go outta the box (they're both ready to go outta the box, but the natural requires a little more attention), then I'd go with the Stallion. There's no going wrong either way. Honestly, with the limited-time sale they have going on right now (March 2020 - Until they are able to open the HQ building once again) I'd most certainly take advantage and quickly snag one up at 30% off. Regular retail price is on point, but 30% off?! Oof!! These sales don't happen often.

*I've surface dyed cowhide leather and am very familiar with how it becomes stiff when dried. Add folds and bends in high stress areas like the arm and you've got a recipe for GREAT stacks and creases that hold their shape.

Hair-on-Hide Campus - In store purchase

Sunday, March 8, 2020

My Journey with the Mister Freedom® Stallion Campus Jacket

I’m just amazed by the ease at which the Stallion Campus Jacket develops that highly desired lived-in look. I’ve worn this jacket almost every day for several months and not only does it look lived-in, the leather is softening up and forming to me like a glove with the arm creases are here to stay.

I’ve purchased horsehide jackets at almost triple the price specifically to obtain the look this jacket is giving off — I’m beginning to think horsehide jackets are overrated (The insanely over-inflated-priced ones ... I won’t stop buying them, but they just have to be unique among all the cookie cutter jackets saturating the market). This jacket is a testament to the quality and style associated with a brand that has proven itself in this industry for so, so many years.

Day 3 with my New Campus Stallion Campus Jacket
Day 3

Chest: 19 1/2"
Shoulder: 16 1/2"
Back: 22.5"
Sleeve: 24"

Day 3

I wear a vintage size 36 in leather jackets and pretty much a 36 in all Mister Freedom jackets (although, I went with a 34 with the Lot 64 Ranch Blouse "Okinawa"Edition" and Baloo Jackets for a classic fit)

Day 3

Day 5

Day 8

This jacket downright proves that Horsehide isn’t the only leather with striking aging characteristics.

Join me and other Stallion owners as we take part in a friendly Stallion patina competition with LOTS of prizes.

•Only patina resulting from natural wear.
•No dying or tinting of exposed “tea core” in an effort to cause the color to appear more prominent.
•No artificial means to give the appearance of hardened wear. This includes, but not limited to, sandpaper, burnishing tools, etc.
•No forced means of accentuating creases or folds.
•No soaking in water (it’s pretty obvious) — Normal exposure to the elements is acceptable.

*Just wear it and let the magic happen. At a yet-to-be-determined time, a winner will be selected.

Day 14

Day 17

Day 31

Day 50

Day 54

Day 72

No two hides are alike and each panel may feature variations in texture along with natural imperfections.

Day 79

Day 91

Day 126

Day 129 - Like a glove!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

This just in ...

One inch wide belts for women or men’s slacks. Made in the USA using Horween leather. 

E- mail: for your custom belts

Sunday, January 19, 2020


I'm finally getting around to unboxing a lot of my gear for the VEB Studio from our big move and am running across a lot of 2019 stock of belts that I'm putting up for sale.

**All prices include US shipping. Overseas customers, will be invoiced for additional shipping charges**
Leather: Horween CXL
Color: Black
Size: 36 No. of Holes: 7
Price: $85 shipped within the US

Leather: Horween CXL
Color: Brown
Size: 32 / No. of Holes: 7
Price: $85 shipped within the US

Leather: Horween CXL
Color: Natural
Size: 30 No. of Holes: 5
Price: $85 shipped within the US

Leather: Horween CXL
Color: Navy
Size: 34 / No. of Holes: 7

Leather: Veg Tanned Cowhide
Color top to bottom: Mahogany, quite a bit of sun tanning, some sun tanning, non-sun tanned
Size top to bottom: 





No. of Holes: 5, 7, 5, 5
Price each: $50 shipped within the US

Monday, December 16, 2019


Hi John, really enjoy your blog.

I'm a about to get a pair of these but notice yours look more like waxed roughout? Did you wax them and do you have a post where you show the steps and method to do it?

I like the way they look but would be worried about doing it on a brand new pair that cost that much!



Thanks for the note! I did wax them in my own way. It’s quite simple to be honest. I do recommend wearing them out of the box as long as possible before applying any type of products.

I wore mine pretty hard and when the roughout showed enough wear (after about six months), I knew it was time to treat it.


This is the boot care kit I use on my Marine Corps Desert Boots and since I've become very familiar with the products, I decided to stick with it.

As much as I liked the denim rub off, I decided to remove as much of it as possible using the eraser provided in the kit--I wanted a clean canvas in order to achieve the best results. I used the metal side of the brush to clean any dirt and dust left by the eraser, going with the grain of the flesh.

I then used the Cleaner to clean and condition the leather. allow to dry for at least an hour (I let it dry over night).

Using my favorite leather conditioner, Pecard Antique Leather Dressing, I evenly applied a liberal amount of the product over the entire boot, not forgetting about the tongue, welt and sole edges. 

I used a heat gun to melt the dressing into the flesh, being mindful not to stay in one area for too long in order to avoid burning the leather.

I even used Pecard to wax the laces. I allowed them to dry as much as possible before replacing them onto the boots. 

The boots will lighten up over time and depending on the length of exposure to various weather conditions, they may require periodic waxing.

Check out John's footwear lineup on his Rakuten page. They offer hassle-free worldwide shipping and often ship faster than local shops in your respective country.

Check out the Lofgren family of Instagram pages ...

Sunday, October 20, 2019


Hey Dude,

I hope you're well, sorry for messaging you directly; nevertheless, I wondered if you had any suggestions for boots treatment. I've got a pair of Red Wing Engineers Boots, that due to non-use need softening and I wondered what you use to keep your boots looking so good and comfy. I'm vegetarian and would prefer something not animal based, what would you suggest?


Hey Nick, 

I'm a huge fan of Pecard leather care products. I use the Boot and Shoe Care Oil along with Antique Leather Dressing. Neither products contain animal fat, tallow, mink oil, lanolin, or neatsfoot oil.
I use Barbasol shave cream to clean my boots. It's not abrasive and safe for all leather colors and it's inexpensive -- back in the 1990s, it was perfect for a young Marine who broke dozens of layers of black boot polish every week or two -- and it just yields the best results. It provided a perfect blank canvas to reapply fresh polish for a perfect spit shine. 

My cleaning process goes as follows:

Unbuckle all straps and brush off any dirt. 

Apply a generous amount of the shave cream over the entire surface of the boot. Massage the cream into the leather using your hand followed by a soft brush -- toothbrush is perfect for the job -- to clean using a circular motion. Ensure the welt and seams are not ignored. 

Allow to air dry over night or place in front of a fan for half the time.

I squeeze / pour a decent amount of Boot and Shoe Care Oil into a small container and apply generously onto the surface, welt, creases, seams, strap using my fingers. Since it's an oil, the absorption time is minimal. I may add a second layer depending on how dry I feel the leather to be.

Allow to air dry over night or place in front of a fan for half the time.

You can essentially stop at this point and feel confident the boot are being preserved and protected from the elements, but I like to add Antique Leather Dressing.

I apply a fairly thin layer of Antique Leather Dressing with my fingers as I would the Boot and Shoe Care Oil and allow the leather to absorb it over night (or sometimes two). 

Use a boot brush to buff away excess dressing. 

Done. This process isn't necessary again for a long time unless the boots are put through some grueling work or exposed to the sun for a long period of time. 

I hope this helps.