Update: No longer for sale as I've decided to have Brian give 'em the ol' Role Club touch!
I picked up these amazing Horsehide White's Semi-Dress boots from my buddy, Michael, over a year ago and they're just a hair too big for me. My loss is someone else's gain.
They've been cleaned and conditioned with only the best (at least what I consider the best) leather product on the market -- Pecard Antique Leather Dressing. These boots are rugged and built to last. Here are the particulars:
Leather: Black Horsehide with leather lining
Condition: Excellent Used with MANY years left
Size: Marked 7 1/2D (go off measurements below to be sure)
Length (heel against wall to furthest point forward): 11 3/4"
Width (Widest part of sole at the ball): 4 11/16"
Circa: Post-WWII Rationing
Size: 8 1/2D
Soles/Heels: Leather/Cat's Paw
Leather: Oil-Tanned Cowhide
Sold for: Best offer from $999
Some real nice patina going on here with these Engineers. It's pretty clear that tall boots gain the attention of only a small niche market of collectors, but keep in mind that this was the standard height pre-WWII - War rationing caused the shortening of this type of footwear. This particular pair; however, appears to have been offered post-War Rationing (1946) based on the chunky buckles. Armed with this detail and knowledge of the Pre-1955 labels, I date these around the late 1940's.
I'd have been happy to reel these in for a best offer of about $350-$400
The highly hopeful Horse Butt in brown. When the Attractions Co. Lot.268 Engineer Boots came out, fans quickly asked for a brown version. The cool cats at Attractions listened to their fans and ... Introducing the Lot.444 priced at ¥79,800 or $788.00 (almost 1:1).
Hit up Wataru-San at email@example.com to reserve yours today for an expected delivery at the end of the year.
The RC2307 (left) has a low-profile toe box, which will flatten with wear. The leather is slightly tighter in this area due to the low profile.
The RC1940 last is reminiscent of 1940's / 1950's unstructured bulbous toe box that will ultimately lead to a flat, squarish toe overhanging the welt (especially when the leather welt shrinks and molds when exposed to water)
I threw in a shot of the Woodsman heel as well. Both boots bear the same amount of stacks, but my studded RC1940 only looks taller because of the double leather sole. I asked for this profile to match an original midcentury Chippewa.
Leather becomes extra stiff when dried after being exposed to inclement weather. Depending on the type and amount of chemicals used during the tanning process, leather can develop a stiffness reminiscent of decades-old Horsehide. Chemicals used in Chippewas Cowhide during their "special tanning" process just sixty years ago leaves their hand-selected leather stiff with desired creases and wrinkles leaving collectors to believe they are seeing and feeling Horsehide -- Chippewa never used horse leather on their boots.
I added this information because it's relevant to the amazing Horween Chromexcel Horsehide Brian used these particular boots. This type of leather is tanned with the more-than-normal amount of oils and greases, so it's important to wear them hard and often ... but don't force it. Even with my limited wear, these boots are looking pretty amazing.
I've swapped buckles on a couple of my Engineer Boots in the past and the most recent was done using my custom roller buckles on the Wesco MP toes given to me, for gratis. Following this swap, I received and influx of e-mails requesting a step-by-step tutorial.
In this post, I'll try my best to walk those who are interested through my process.
Two needles - Leather needles are prescribed, but heavier grade fabric needles you may have laying around will work just as well for this small project, especially since the holes already exist. Be sure not to accidentally poke new holes.
Lots of patience
*Nylon, linen and polyester threads are all acceptable choices. Waxing the thread with beesewax or parrafin isn't necessary, but it is supposed to help with long-term durability and allows the needle to ease through the holes. I was once a waxer, but realized that it gives my projects a messy look. I now use an exclusive heavy-duty wound thread from Japan on all my projects.
This photo shows the factory stitching and the bulky, unattractive harness buckles.
Not all buckle retainers have leather that tucks under itself, so carefully unpick the stitching while being mindful not to remove more stitching than necessary. Absolutely do not touch any vamp or heel counter stitching. It's important to take it slow during this process, especially because it is simple to accidentally scratch/cut the leather.
Once the necessary stitching is undone and the area cleaned/cleared of the old thread, replace the buckle and lay the leather back to its original position. It's not necessary to perfectly line up the existing holes at this point as some shifting may occur throughout the process - after each re-stitch - constant realignment will be required. Remember, take it slow and put your patience on.
Thread your needles as shown here. Ensure the top buckle is undone in order to allow for maximum sewing room. Begin your saddle stitching by starting at the existing hole at the corner of the buckle retainer nearest the upper most portion of the heel counter and work your way clockwise.
What's with the flashlight? As you can see, the shaft on these boots are tall and when peering down towards the sewing area, its difficult to see where you're poking through the leather. I dropped the flashlight backwards down the boots to illuminate that area.
The completed instep buckle
You'll be super happy when getting to this point where you don't have to reach too far. The upper buckle retainer is glued together and in place, but I never re-glue it when swapping the buckles.
Unpick from the inside so as not to inadvertently scratch/cut the outer leather.
Congrats to Levi Strauss & Co. for placing the winning bid of$146,744 for a Levi’s brown leather “Cossack” jacket that Albert Einstein wore in the 1930s. The jacket was estimated to sell in the range of $53,120 to $79,680.
Einstein bought the jacket when he became a U.S. citizen, according to Levi Strauss, and was photographed wearing it on various occasions, including in a number of 1938 portraits.
Einstein may have purchased the jacket in 1935 after making his formal application for permanent U.S. residency.
Circa: 1955 - Early 1960's based on the label, but these are cleary come frm the earlier part of this window
Size: 8 1/2C
Length: 10 3/4"
Width: 3 1/2"+
Soles: Composition half sole
Leather: Oil-Tanned Cowhide (Chippewa never used Horsehide for their boots)
Sold for: $400 Buy It Now
My buddy and regular contributor to the VEB Blog, Warren, never fails to inform me of noteworthy auctions I've missed. This one is particularly sweet because of the relatively low Buy It Now price. I'm not sure what the original start price was, but I can only imagine this final price represented an offline offer.
While these aren't super rare -- they're actually quite common, especially when you search Japanese sites -- they're always a treat to see since they represent iconic midcentury Americana. In this exact condition (never mind the detached heel), these would easily fetch $900 - $1,300 at auction in the US and would be offered for much more in the overseas market. In my opinion, a $400 - $800 price range is pretty accurate in today's age of homage boots, the likes of Mister Freedom, John Lofgren and customized Role Clubs ... but of course there are those die-hard collectors out there that NEED to have their vintage. I've had my share of vintage and super Vintage Engineer Boots over the last two decades and have come to learn that I'd much rather have a pair of new homage boots and create my own history.
In the early 2000's, there were at least five amazing pairs I owned that were quite rare (unfortunately, I never thought to take pictures of them) -- to a pair of these exact Chippewas -- and then, of course, there were the extinct Glow-in-the-Dark boots. Common to all of these is the fact I've gotten rid of each and every pair. While it's a great feeling to possess some of the coolest vintage boots, I've never felt too comfortable wearing them for concern of causing too much damage. This is why I'm a advocate for today's homage boots -- choose your favorite pair, wear them without too much concern, develop the character specific to your movements and create your own history.