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Shoes that look better with age...


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@Broark Here is my Skoob engineers after a really moderate wear. I've had these for a year but the weather here is really not suitable for a year round wear.  I know next to nothing about engineers so can't really comment on construction that much but these were really comfy right from the start and feels good quality and construction.



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I bought them from DC4 and Daniel recommended to size the same as my Red Wing moc toes. So mine are US10 as are the Red Wings I have and they fit really well. I remember them being quite easy to get on but at first getting them off was a little workout. But after some wear it has gotten a lot easier and I wouldn't say it is too difficult. I think that they are shaped so that there a bit more space than some on other engineers (again, no prior experience with engineers) for the mid foot and ankle so I think that helps with getting them on and off.

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Slew of big photo dumps coming…

Starting with the red cherry water buffalo Bounty Hunters












Really good boots in some ways, less so in others.

The tongue isn’t stitched on right at the bottom, so even though I can step in puddles no problem they’re no good in any real amount of rain. Besides that, both boots developed a squeak around six months in. White’s fixed that under warranty, and another six months later they started right back up squeaking again. Haven’t bothered trying to get it fixed this time; I just don’t wear them when I’m gonna be in quiet indoor spaces. Oh well.

With the negatives out of the way: These are extremely comfortable. They feel like leather socks. The water buffalo leather and the goatskin lining are both very supple, and whatever last these are built on fits my foot perfect. I can be on my feet in these for 14+ hours no problem. They’ve taken almost no upkeep—I’ve conditioned them maybe twice and they’ve never felt dry or otherwise unhappy—really low maintenance.

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Frank’s Front Range in tan oiled Latigo













These are my current favorite boots. I’ve only had them for less than a year, and they’re still not fully broken in, but they’re already very comfortable, and I love the look. Just about perfect construction, as far as I can tell—very clean & very functional. Would strongly recommend Frank’s to anyone in the market for PNW boots.

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Russell Art Carter Traveling Sportsman in French calf, courtesy of @illumin8em







These are very, very comfortable as every-day shoes. To anyone who’s never given moccasins a try, I’d strongly recommend it (with the stipulation that you avoid brands like Yuketen that incorporate extra insoles, as this really removes the whole appeal). I tried to show, in the last two photos, how well they’ve molded to the shape of my feet. They’re like good slippers, but for wearing anywhere.

I’ve been underwhelmed by this leather. It’s held up fine, but it always feels a little dry no matter what I do, and it hasn’t taken on much real character over time. That said, with how comfortable they are it’s hard to complain.

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More Russell Mocs, unknown model & unknown leather, stripped and partially redyed by me a few years ago











I think I’ve written about these before at length, so I won’t go into too much detail. I’m really, really pleased with how these have aged. The leather was a black scotch grain, not struck through but dyed pretty thoroughly. I stripped the coating with acetone and bleached the bumps—but not the creases—with wood bleach, then brushed on a few coats of kakishibu by hand. It’s really difficult to get the color to cover through in photos, hence all the weird angles, but they’ve been looking better and better.

Just like the Traveling Sportsman posted above, they’re extremely comfortable. Unlike the Traveling Sportsman, they’re single bottom with no structure, so they’re even lighter weight and flexier, but also less water resistant. They’re about due for a resole.

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JK Superduty S

These are just getting to the point of feeling pretty fully broken in, and they’re extremely comfortable. They’re also lighter weight than any of my other PNW boots, probably due to the single piece sole unit and the lack of screws (by my request). Good as hiking boots. Would definitely recommend.











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Alden 44508C,  quick brush and polish between meetings today, featuring my foot, plus an outdoor pic from a few days ago IMG_5126.thumb.jpeg.7503709304556f90f8208700a23dcecc.jpeg







Edited by HGS
Phone photo upload issues
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  • 1 month later...

Received my pair of Russell Fishing Oxfords last week, these were done in collaboration with Stitchdown.
I now understand why people say that these are some of the most comfortable shoes/boots that they own.

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@JohnM I went with an 11.5 E, they feel like the right size lengthwise although I might’ve been able to get away with the standard width. So half a size down from Brannock for me. Some decent arch support, the soles on this pair are very springy. Was just traveling with them and they held up really well running through the airport.

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@JohnM They run the same as PNW boots, size-wise. No arch support whatsoever; they’re built right into a flat footbed—but they do mold extremely well to the foot over time, way more so than any non-moccasin I’ve tried.

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Various recent boot porn. 


Vintage Chippewa Engineer steel toe 10EE, a but too wide and roomy, looking to sell



Vintage Laredo with cutouts, 9.5d but very narrow, great profile





Vintage Chippewa, both 10D 





Frye Engineer and Chippewa getting some love



Vintage Frye pre polish 



Vintage no name snip toe, my oldest and favorite




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How are PNW boots for super flat and narrow feet? My Brannock is a little over 13 B for one foot and 12 B for the other, and the size difference can be an issue sometimes. Both are nearly completely flat and overpronate as well, although I prefer not to wear my custom-made orthotics since I was born this way and the orthotics feel a bit unnatural.

I'm considering buying a brown or reddish-brown or burgundy boot, and I'm weighing and waffling on my options. I like the concept (business model and commitment to quality) of Frank's boots (Wilshire, Front Range), but the huge arch of the 55 last gives me some concerns. I'm also considering Alden Indys, probably 403 or 405. Indys might blend more seamlessly into the rest of my style, but I do like the ruggedness and history of the PNW boots.

My work environment and lifestyle also make things a little tricky. I now work in an office most of the time, but I still do pop back into lab for some hands-on time and need some substantial shoes for that light industrial setting. Based on where I live too, I find myself spending a lot of outdoors walking and with yard work.

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I’ve heard plenty of success stories of folks w/ low arches trying the 55 last (or similar) and finding it more comfortable than they ever expected—but if wearing orthotics that don’t conform to your natural foot shape feels unnatural to you, it’s not clear why wearing boots built to be shaped like orthotics should be any different

Edited by julian-wolf
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22 hours ago, julian-wolf said:

but if wearing orthotics that don’t conform to your natural foot shape feels unnatural to you, it’s not clear why wearing boots built to be shaped like orthotics should be any different

Thanks! Good point.

I had to give up on the orthotics because they made the back pain that they were supposed to solve even worse. Twenty to thirty miles of hiking across two days in moderate arch Keen hiking boots put my knees in agony too way more than running a similar distance does. So the massive arch 55 lasts probably would not make my feet happy

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