Sunday, October 20, 2019

READER MAIL - BOOT TREATMENT (VEGAN OPTION)


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?

Cheers,
Nick

www.vintageengineerboots.com

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.

Cheers,
John

Saturday, October 12, 2019

READER MAIL - MAINTAINING THE CAMPUS LEATHER JACKET


Hi there, 

Love your page and all the Mister Freedom pieces! May I ask what's your suggestion to maintain the Mister Freedom Campus Leather Jacket?

www.vintageengineerboots.com

Hi Eric, 

Thank you for the kind words!

Allow the jacket to sit in the sun whenever it's not being worn. 
Refrain from introducing the jacket to any conditioning products until you reach the desired degree of sun tanning. Products will significantly increase the amount of time it will take for the jacket to develop a rich dark tone and it's not guaranteed the jacket will reach its full dark potential.

Along the way it will be a dirt/mark magnet and will develop water spotting, but wiping the area down with a lightly damp cloth will easily "erase" the marks.

Once the jacket is sun tanned to the desired level -- or shows no sign of getting any darker -- wipe down with a damp cloth, air dry and apply a liberal amount of leather conditioner. Allow the leather to absorb the conditioner for a couple of days and then wipe clean with an old cotton t-shirt or cloth.

Mister Freedom Campus Jackets

The jacket will be supple and still slightly damp from the conditioner -- this is the best time to wear the jacket and re-establish any of the arm creases. Hang to air dry for another day.

The jacket will not need any conditioner for months if not years. The occasional wiping from a damp microfiber towel is all you'll need ... or leave it as-is to develop that desired patina.

*You can check out my Campus Journey and process here

Cheers!
John

Monday, October 7, 2019

READER MAIL -- NARROW BOOT SHAFT


Dear sir,

First I would like to thank you for your great work. I am an avid reader and a big fan of your blog. I am faced with a decision and would like to hear your assessment. It's about a pair of Attractions lot.444 engineer boots that I want to order. I already own two pairs of John Lofgren engineer boots with which I am very happy. As I have taken it from your website, the sizes are identical, but what worries me is the shaft. Is this much narrower than the John Lofgren boots? At the beginning I had some difficulty in getting into the boots, which has improved significantly over time. I would be very grateful if you could help me on the matter.

Best regards from Germany,

Stephan

www.vintageengineerboots.com

Hello Stephan,

Thank you for your email! The shafts are quite similar on both the John Lofgren and Attractions Lot.444 Engineer Boots. Over time, depending of the level of wear, the soft and supple attributes of Horween's CXL leather really begin to take shape causing the shaft to slouch beautifully. The horse butt leather used on the Lot. 444 is quite stiff and will pretty much remain that way with very minimal slouch giving you that perpetual stove piped shaft.

I hope this helps.

Cheers!
John

Saturday, October 5, 2019

READER MAIL -- JOHN LOFGREN SIZING


Good afternoon,

I hope your day is going well. I really enjoy reading your blog and had a question for you.

I recently found a pair of John Lofgren engineer boots, new with box for 600 dollars!

Although this appears like an amazing deal, I want to ensure that sizing works for me.

I am a size 10 in sneakers and own 3 pairs of red wing Pecos and am a 9.5 in those. In my iron rangers I am a size 9.

The Lofgrens I have my eyes on are a size 9.5! What would you advice/suggestions be on the sizing for lofgren engineer boots?

Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Jake

www.vintageengineerboots.com

Hi Jake,

I wear a size 8 in athletic sneakers and a 7 across the board with converse style sneakers (regardless of brand and country of origin). I wear a 7 in RW Pecos as well as Iron Rangers ... as well as on all John Lofgren boots. Having said that, It boils down to how much wiggle room you're working with between your Pecos and Iron Rangers -- I think folks tend to prefer different levels of wiggle room between their slip-ons and lace-ups.

Based on your information -- and if the Pecos are ideally sized -- and since the shape of the toe box/taper on the Pecos are similar to that of John Lofgren's boots, I think the 9.5 will be close to what you're looking for.

I hope this helps.

Best,
John

Saturday, September 28, 2019

READER MAIL - JOHN LOFGREN M-43 SERVICE BOOTS


Hi John,

Hope you are doing well.


I've been checking your posts on Instagram and also viewed your blog. You have some nice boots and clothes. I wanted to ask you about roughout boots and you seem to have Lofgrens M-43 Service Shoes. I've been looking for a WWII roughout boot or boondocker for some while but there aren't many really available which actually are based on the original design.


Also I'm not sure how is the quality with repro manufacturers like ATF and WWII Impressions and they seem to be always out of stock. If I'm looking for this style boot and good quality, would you still recommend the John Lofgrens M-43 Service Shoes? Would you say they are somewhat close to the original WWII boots that were issued in the later stages of the war?


Thank you in advance!

Best regards,
Jukka
Finland

www.vintageengineerboots.com

Hi Jukka, 

Thanks for the e-mail. I was on the lookout for WWII Boondockers since I joined the US Marines back in the mid-1990s and I periodically checked in on ATF and WWII Impressions for their footwear selection, but was always turned off by the fact they were always out of stock in my size ... and I could never figure out their sizing. I even ran across originals here and there, but was concerned about the durability. Lucky for me John Lofgren released his own version!

As far as his M-43s being close to originals -- John didn't just take an original design of a highly-desired vintage boot and create a carbon copy. That would be too boring. Like his Engineers, these bear that original Lofgren twist which is a characteristic I really love about his designs.


I’m clearly a fan of John’s work, therefore, I may sound somewhat biased. But when you come across a brand that consistently puts out incredible pieces covering a wide variety of styles within the window of early Americana fashion, this creature of habit will continue to be a loyal customer. 

Easily my favorite roughout boots in today’s market, the M-43 Service Shoes are everything one would expect to come out of the Lofgren camp — high quality, heavy-duty, expertly crafted and full of comfort.


Not only are the boots rugged, but they manage to go with almost everything in my closet from denim to cords and everything in between.

I've been a huge fan of John's work since his early days and now the heritage brand ranks among the best in the business. It only made sense to choose the roughout boots from a family of footwear that speaks to the brilliance, craftsmanship and passion behind the man and his brand.

Cheers!
John

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 Instagram pages ...

Friday, September 13, 2019

MISTER FREEDOM® “STALLION” CAMPUS JACKET


Year after year, for as long as I’ve been a fan, there’s been a steady flow of original, well-thought-out rugged designs comin’ outta the red brick building at 7161 Beverly Blvd. And year after year, knowin’ damn well I don’t wear a fraction of the clothing in my closet since I’m in uniform most of my days, I have to remind myself to be very judicious with which item(s) I choose to purchase from each collection — Sometimes I stick to the plan and sometimes I splurge.


www.vintageengineerboots.com

What doesn’t fall within any rule is the Campus Jacket and this new “Stallion” is a callin’ my name! The brown core or “Tea Core” means this jacket will age beautifully! You done well, Christophe. You done well.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

DR. SOLE ORIGINALS


I put a lot of consideration into who I would trust with my next major boot repair since I haven’t had much luck with anyone Stateside. With Takeshi Okuyama of Fukurokuju/Hukurokuju as my highly respected go-to, I feel it’s time to venture out and get some first-hand experience with other OCONUS shops that have been big blips on my radar. The intent is to be able to provide some feedback and touch points to my readers considering the leap.




It turns out a contributor to one of my Blog posts from over seven years ago is a master craftsman, so I’ll be seeking his skills for this next project since there’s already an established connection.

I can’t wait to see what kind of magic he comes up with.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

READER MAIL - JOHN LOFGREN / ATTRACTIONS CO.


Hi, I follow you on Instagram and appreciate your style. Quick question if I may: how do your attractions fit compared to your lofgrens? I have lofgren donkey punchers m-43s and engineer boots and would like to get some attractions lot 444. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. Best. Scott

www.VintageEngineerBoots.com


Hey Scott,

Nice Lofgren collection you have there! For me, Lofgren and Attractions Co. fit exactly the same. I wear a size seven across the board with all my Made-In-Japan boots — not too tight, but just enough wiggle room 👌

Cheers!

John 





Sunday, June 16, 2019

KEYSTONE SHOE CO.


Brand: Keystone Shoe Co.
Colors: Black, Dark Brown, Brown
Sizes: 5 - 12 D or E
Leather: Horween
Insole: Flexible Leather Insole
Hardware: Nickle
Price: ¥ 58,000 ($535.00)

Order: scip-evo@hukurokuju.com

Most of today's best Engineer Boots come from Japan! Released this past March with an estimated 3-6 month build, Keystone is such a welcome addition to a market saturated with an incredibly vast selection of unimaginative heritage Engineer Boots.

www.vintageengineerboots.com




Those who have followed my blog long enough know I'm a huge fan of Takeshi Okuyama's work and to know that he has dipped his feet into the new boot market with this collaboration, makes these attractive boots even more appealing.


These will undoubtedly last ten lifetimes seeing as they are coming out of the Fukurokuju camp. Add to this the mind-blowingly low price along with the striking overall profile and you have entry-level, intermediate level, and top level boots wrapped up in one amazing boot package -- you won't need another pair of  boots ... until The Top Three come out with another must-have, of course =)


I'd recommend Keystone to anyone looking to get into Engineer Boots.







Channeled and flexible insoles for ultimate comfort and durability

Sunday, June 2, 2019

NOT HORSEHIDE: SEARS WEARMASTER ENGINEER BOOTS


I've owned and researched Vintage Engineer Boots for several decades now and can tell you that Sears Roebuck & Co. never sold boots made with horsehide leather. Some Split Cowhide (like the below Sears Wearmaster) look really attractive and sell for big bucks even without erroneous claims of "collectible" leather. Collectors obviously pay what they feel an item is worth, but I would caution against paying that premium usually associated with certain buzz words. Unless a vintage item is clearly marked "Horsehide," always assume it's made with cowhide.

I've mentioned time and time again that "Knowledge is Power" and by doing a little bit of research here, one could save a lot of money that could certainly be used towards something more valuable--I personally do research using information I've archived on this blog.

There's quite a bit of empirical data on this blog that should assist potential buyers in making an informed buying decision. I don't believe sellers purposely mislead potential buyers. Like anyone else, we do research based on past sales and try to make that correlation - if it looks like another pair of boots that sold for good money, then it may very well sell for the same thing, right? It behooves any collector to be smart on the subject - and the main reason why I've archived so many types of boots on this blog over the years - in order to ensure the right choice is being made.

www.vintageengineerboots.com
1951

Monday, May 27, 2019

THIS JUST IN ...


Here are some VEB Leather belts I recently crafted. To purchase any of these belts or discuss a custom order belt (or other VEB Leather custom piece), hit me up at VEBLeather@gmail.com.

www.vintageengineerboots.com
Black Horween CXL, Size34

Brown Horween Dublin, Size 32

SOLD Black Horween CXL, Size 32

SOLD Brown Horween CXL, Size 32

Plain Natural Horween CXL, Size 30

 Plain Black Horween Dublin, Size 34

MEMORIAL DAY 2019


Thank you too all the brave women and men of our Armed Forces who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

www.vintageengineerboots.com
Okinawa, 1945

Saturday, May 11, 2019

SEARS GOLD BOND SHORTY ENGINEER BOOTS


Brand: Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Model: 4171
Circa: Early 1950s (receipt dated 1951)
Color: Brown
Size: 10D
Measurements:
Length: 11 1/2"
Width: 4"
Soles: Composition by BF Goodrich
Heels: Leather
Leather: Unknown
Hardware: Brass
Sold For: $530 / 6 Bids

I've always been a fan of these shorty motorcycle boots and owned a couple pair -- vintage and heritage -- over the years and this is one great find in NOSIB condition with the "Pistol Chain" accessory.

www.vintageengineerboots.com

It's quite unusual to find these (in any condition) at such a big size and I feel they sold for just the right amount. I'd have bid a max of six bills ... and in usual fashion, would probably never really wear them. 


"Pistol Chain" 50c pair