It’s been a few years since I made myself a hiking boot. (I gave the last pair to a lifelong friend with the same size feet.) It’s been even longer since I first got the pig suede I wanted to use for them. I really liked the sage green color when I saw it at the Footwear Materials show here in Portland. With some time on my hands during the pandemic, I had no more excuses to put this off.
The pig suede quarters are made by Wolverine – the tannery and brand perhaps best known for the Caterpillar (CAT) brand boots in a striking yellow suede. They treat their leather with a water resisting silicone. It’s flexible and seemed like a good choice for a hiking boot shaft.
The vamp and outside counter are Italian cordovan. The boots are hand sewn using double-stitch welted construction. The hidden feature is a basalt fiber footplate between the leather insole and leather midsole. It’s intended to put a little spring in my step. Basalt fiber is much safer to work with than carbon fiber, but the strength and function is the same. The footplate is quite stiff in the heel/shank section where the fabric is more compressed and flexible in the forefoot where the fabric is thinner.
A not so hidden, but maybe not so obvious feature, is the lack of back seams on either the upper quarters or the liner quarters. Why not? Finally, it is finished with a Vibram Montagna outsole.
This deep brown derby boot was made for a client who wanted a hard wearing all weather boot with a very low heel. The upper leather is a German chrome free synthetic tan, with vegetable tanned lining, components, insole and midsole. Brass eyelets. Welted construction and Vibram Oxford Gumlite outsole.
This derby shoe was made for instructional purposes. Plain old black upper leather with a pebble grain, basic lines with English quarters. The construction is welted and hand sewn to a vegetable tanned leather outsole. Natural finish leather heels. Straight outsole stitch on the welt. Depending on what you wear it with and your mood, I think it could be considered casual or formal.
Derby design with French quarters. Welted construction, Italian vegetable tanned brown leather vamp and blue quarters. Leather insole and midsole. Vibram Gumlite outsole for a little extra cushion. Casual or formal? I think it’s right on the edge. The rubber sole and the more rounded curve of the toe suggests it’s more casual than formal.
Upper is blue and brown vegetable tanned leather with an iridescent finish. Welted construction, leather midsole and Vibram Gumlite sole. My client wanted a design reminiscent of the Eurasian Kingfisher, a bird with dominant blue coloring and accents of orange brown on the chest and tail. In addition to the kingfisher colors, this design features a sweeping wing of blue as the vamp approaches the back strap.
The vegetable tanned cow upper is also fully lined with vegetable tanned cow for extra durability. Welted construction stitched to the midsole using a braided stitch. A Vibram Gumlite unit sole is attached on over the mid-sole.