Thursday, June 16, 2016


Forged in today's vintage enthusiast lexicon is the name, "Hometown Jersey." And equally familiar is the name behind these amazing 1940's and 1950's-inspired racing jerseys (and Tees), Jill Smith. In the short span of just over three years, Jill's period-correct custom jerseys are being worn by bikers, rodders, racers, bowlers, business owners, rock n rollers ... guitar geeks and they even bear the names of cities and streets. If you've ever want to represent your local Community Supported Agriculture in style, Jill's got your back. 

Hometown Jersey               Jill's Instagram

Both jerseys are available in sizes XS - XXL

Her quality threads are so popular that she has caught the eye of a small company that has been around for a short one hundred and thirteen years -- some may know them as Harley Davidson®. This latest venture pays homage to the two-tone team jersey worn by Paul Goldsmith from Michigan and a two-tone race jersey from the early 1950's -- knowing what I know of the vintage fit and feel of her jerseys,  I know I need these in my collection. I've been in the market for my next jersey from Jill, but this new release has bought me some time from trying to come up with a design. 

I'm not sure how many Jill was contracted to make for them, but if you're a fan like me I wouldn't half-step on this one. Check out the new design at the HD Museum here.

You might also like TK Smith

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Jillian surprised me with a fantastic wrench key hanger forged by Mr. Josh "Hi-Fi" Sorheim. I paired it with a VEB Leather key wallet I made for myself a few years ago while stationed on Okinawa. This will definitely be a daily driver!  He's the only Cat making them and I'm all about supporting the local small-business folk! Hit up Josh to secure yours today by sending him a DM through his Instagram.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Hey John,

I've been reading the blog for a while now and it's such a great resource. I have a couple of questions as a newbie into the world of engineers, and if you feel they have already been answered please send me a link and I will check it out. I tried a few searches but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.

I recently found a pair of Chippewa 27911 Brown Bombers at the local Goodwill for a few bucks, but in need of a lot of work. There are holes worn through the insoles in the toe area and what looks to be a hole forming in the outside of the toe region as well. Anyways I thought about having them resoled, but I'm not sure they are worth spending that much money on if they are actually damaged. The couple times I have tried wearing them, I can feel the bottom buckle digging into my leg because the material is so worn. Do you think they are a lost cause?

My goal is to get into a solid pair of engineers for under $400. I know you have recommended Red Wings before, but I was wondering also what you thought of the Frye Artisanal Engineer boots. A few pairs have recently gone on eBay for around $300 and I grabbed a 9 in the black only to find they were too tight, and the 10 was gone when I went to re order them. It is still available in brown though, so I 'm still deciding whether or not to pull the trigger. I have another question about these boots. As they have the leather sole, I worry that they will feel to much like dress shoes rather than boots I can really lay into. I would like to use them in casual wear, on and off the street but the leather sole worries me. Would it hold up in a rain storm or in the woods? It seems like a silly question but like I said I can't find an answer. If I had a choice I think I would prefer the rubber lug sole, but these seem to be a really good deal.

If you have other recommendations completely I'm all ears!

Thanks in advance!

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for the e-mail! If you paid a few bucks then that's a pretty nice score! Your local Cobbler could do a resole for under fifty bucks (give or take), but I wouldn't expect anything phenomenal as far as attention to detail compared to someone like Brian Truong (Brian the Bootmaker). As for the buckles digging into your leg, you might be able to mitigate that issue with some MoleSkin on the inside just behind the buckle to see if that helps. Stitching another layer of leather on the inside for a more permanent solution might be the best bet, but unless the thread color blends in with the leather, it might prove to be unsightly -- worth a try, though.

I actually like the look and profile of the Frye Artisanal Engineers, but am not a fan of the buckles or the stitching at the end of the instep strap. I think with a buckle swap to a more traditional square corner buckle, the boots have a lot of potential. Leather soles can be a bit of a concern when it comes to rain. The leather has a propensity to wear away/break down much faster, so I would advise against prolonged exposure to inclement weather and I would definitely avoid taking leather soles in to the woods altogether as the probability of slippage on wet leaves or rocks is tremendously increased. If you're heart set on the boots, your local Cobbler could affix rubber half-soles (even with lugs) for just a few bucks.

I hope this helps!


Friday, June 10, 2016


Brand: Unknown
Circa: 1950's
Color: Black
Size: 7
Length: 11"
Width: 4 1/4"
Soles: Full Composition O'Sullivan
Leather: Oil-Tanned Cowhide (Sorry to burst your bubble, folks -- 99% of vintage boots were NOT Horsehide) Unless boots are clearly marked with the word "Horsehide" be careful when descriptions read:
- "I'm not sure, but these could be Horsehide."
- "Made with Horsehide"
- "They feel like Horsehide" Really??
- "I'm positive these are Horsehide"
- "The original owner said they were Horsehide"
- "Steerhide"
- "Horsehide"
Hardware: Brass
Sold For: Seller accepted offline offer of $300

Nothing spectacular in the way of Vintage Engineer Boots has really come up lately, but these boots are worth mentioning. They were posted late last night and come morning time, someone had clinched 'em with a decent offer of three bills. The seller could have easily squeezed out anywhere between one to two hundred more for them (wayyy more to an overseas buyer), but with a starting bid of $0.99 on a nine-day auction it clearly shows the seller had no idea what he/she had.

The classic 1950's profile, attractive wear and perfect patina is what set these apart from your modern-day big box boots and at three bills, the winner really made out. I could point out two or three big-box brands that have a similar look, but nothing beats an original. I would have offered another bill or two for them (even with the full comp sole) and as I've said before; anything above five bills and we're encroaching on homage boot territory. I've owned countless vintage boots over the past twenty-five years and would sooner pay for another pair of Road Champ, Lofgren or Roll Club Engineers in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Hello John,

        Thanks to your blog I own 3 pairs of Lofgrens, 1 pair of Attractions (Horsebutt) and a pair of black Champs. Thanks for the great info through the years! I noticed the Red Wing 2966 are available in Europe if you're interested and I think they'll ship worldwide,



Photo: Red Wing Amsterdam

A while back, I featured a post on the Red Wing 2966 Engineer Boots (the non-steel toe version of the 9266) and noted they were limited if not already all sold out in Japan. Well, my friends Mendel and Martin notified me they are now available in Europe from two highly respectable and well-known shops -- Red Wing Amsterdam and Red Wing Berlin.

Photo: Red Wing Berlin

 At just around $450.00 / € 399.95, these boots are sure to add some spice to any boot collection. The Amsterdam and Berlin shops ship worldwide, so don't hesitate or you'll miss the boat.

I also wanna thank you for bringing the Red Wing 2966s to my attention -- I just picked up my personal pair and they are a treat. You should definitely consider getting a pair of your own ;)

Monday, June 6, 2016


This day (6 June) in 1944 – World War II: The Battle of Normandy begins. D-Day, code named Operation Overlord, commences with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in France. The allied soldiers quickly break through the Atlantic Wall and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.

Overshadowed in history by Marines who fought World War II's Pacific island battles, fewer than 6,000 Marines participated in the Atlantic, North African and European campaigns. 

Masters of amphibious warfare tactics, Marines served as planners for the North African, Mediterranean and Normandy invasions. 

Shipboard detachments of Marines served throughout the landings in North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Normandy invasion as gun crews aboard battleships and cruisers. A 200-man detachment was normally carried aboard a battleship, and 80 Marines served aboard cruisers to man the secondary batteries of 5-inch guns providing fire for the landing forces. 
During the June 6, 1944, Normandy invasion, Marines, renowned as expert riflemen, played a vital role reminiscent of the days of the sailing Navy when sharpshooters were sent to the fighting tops. Stationed high in the superstructures of the invasion fleet, Marine riflemen exploded floating mines in the path of the ships moving across the English Channel to the beaches of Normandy. 

On Aug. 29, 1944, during the invasion of southern France, Marines from the battleship USS Augusta and the cruiser USS Philadelphia went ashore in Marseilles harbor to accept the surrender of more than 700 Germans who had fortified island garrisons. 
Although few, these proud Marines played a vital role in the Atlantic, African and European campaigns of World War II.

Monday, May 30, 2016


"Memorial Day isn't just about honoring veterans, its honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that's a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibility to serve. It's a continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending it." - Pete Hegseth

Saturday, May 28, 2016


I've been searching high an low for an early pair of overalls, but nothing ever pops up in my size -- they're always ten sizes too large in the waist or about ten inches too short on the inseam. I considered some of the many reproduction brands from Japan, but have been too lazy to go through the proxy process (I use Japan Auction Agency). Then, while cruising the web, I ran across a pair of 1920's LVC Lot.66 on sale at Hudsons Hill for only $175. Through research, I knew these came big, so I snagged the last 28x34 (actual 30" waist). There's still a 34x34 (36" waist?), so I recommend snagging these right up.

Anyway, I just wanted to shed light on this awesome shop. I poked around the entire site and they carry some top shelf pieces ... "goods with a purpose" as they say. Located in Greensboro, North Carolina and quick to ship (I received my order just three days from placing my order), I highly recommend this shop -- Like me, you might find a thing or two not found anywhere else at a price you jsut can't pass up.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Christophe Loiron
"Mister Freedom"
26 May 1978

Yep, you heard right ... 1978. He's that old. Most would guess 1980 ... 1981, but no. He's over the hill alright ;)


Brand: Sears Roebuck and Co.
Model: Wearmaster
Circa: Late 1950’s – mid-1960's
Color: Black
Size: "9"
Length: 11 1/5"
Width: 4"
Soles: Full Composition
Leather: Oil-Tanned Cowhide
Hardware: Brass

Sold by Seller #1: $325.00

Sold by Seller #2: Best offer from $1,500

I haven’t featured any vintage boots lately as the market has been extremely lacking in anything worth noting. My friend Warren is always good about sending me links to boots of interest, so let’s talk about this pair of Sears Wearmasters.  

Advertised by the original auctioneer as dating back to the 1950’s, he/she was definitely in the ball park -- second seller pitched them as “1940’s 50’s.” It’s worth mentioning; however, that at a minimum, they most likely came out during the latter part of the 1950’s and as late as the mid-1960’s. There are just differences, albeit minimal, that set these apart (for me) and defines the line between a two-hundred dollar and a thousand dollar pair of Vintage Engineer Boots. I would definitely pay decent money for a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle over a 1974 model any day -- Same body style, yet things like head and tail lights, sleeker body and other “small” things collectors key in on can make or break the deal. The same thing applies with Engineers. 

The profile is okay, but I don't get that visceral reaction with these like I would with say a pair from the late 1940's or early 1950's.

Notice the unusually large triangle stitching on the upper strap as compared to the narrow vertical rectangle of those found on older models. I’m not the biggest fan of full composition soles. I wouldn’t kick it out of bed, but given the option I’d go half-sole almost all the time. 

It appears the new seller accepted a best offer from the optimistic starting bid of $1,500. For these boots, I wouldn’t pay any more than what the second seller snagged them for. Anything over five bills and you’re just getting into the territory of the many homage boots available today. Don’t get me wrong. I lovez me some vintage leather, but today’s companies are making the decision to go vintage that much more difficult.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Those starched covers!! Circa 1969.


Monday, May 16, 2016


It's been ages since my last giveaway, so I figured it's about that time to thank my loyal readers and fellow Engineer Boot enthusiasts. 

Details below on how to win this handcrafted VEB Leather Trucker Wallet made with Horween CXL Horsehide leather and using only the best materials. As always, my leather pieces are made the old fashioned way -- by hand -- using no machines, fancy templates or leather cutting dies.

Giveaway Rules:
1. Head on over to my Instagram giveaway post here (
2. Must be a follower of my page.
3. Like the post by hitting the ♥.
4. Repost with hashtag #VEBWalletGiveaway, tagging (3) friends.

That's it! Steps 2-4 each count as an entry, so your name can/will be entered multiple times for a greater possibility of winning.

**Giveaway will run through 27 May with the winner announced on Saturday, 28 May 2016.

**Must be 18+ with a U.S. mailing address.






Bogie and Bacall with a Marine Captain, circa 1945.