Blind Bully

Blind Bully

Adventures and Gear
  • Preview: Nisolo Emilio Chukka Boot

    Nisolo Emilio Chukka Boot in Brandy by Blind Bully

    Nisolo Emilio Chukka Boot in Brandy (size 9.5). Peru. $178. Purchase.

    Full post coming soon. Initial thoughts are generally positive: beautiful leather, great upper detail with full lining, leather sole is a Blake welt, which isn’t ideal for rainy locales, but is OK for dry climates or fair weather days. The edge of the sole has what appears to be a fake welt for decorative purposes, theoretically riding on the tide of Goodyear and Blake/Rapid’s good perception and style.

    This is deceptive and thus frowned upon, but they do mention it in their product description as an “Added layer of stitching between upper and leather sole for a slightly more rustic look.” I’ve gifted these to a friend, so I’ll report back on wear updates.

    Additional Photos »

    Timberland Coulter Nine Eye Boot

    Timberland Coulter 9 Eye in Rust by Blind Bully 2

    Timberland Coulter 9 Eye in Rust (size 13M). USA. $425. Purchase.

    Review & Photos »

    Eastland, Frye, Woolrich, & Chippewa

    Eastland Frye Woolrich Chippewa by Blind Bully

    From left to right:
    Eastland Monroe Cap Toe Boot in Dark Brown (size 13). USA. $425. Purchase.
    Frye Logan Cap Toe Boot in Cognac (size 12). USA. $428. Purchase.
    Woolrich Yankee in Buckskin (size 13). USA. $300. Purchase.
    Chippewa 6″ Homestead Boot in Copper Caprice (size 12). USA. $267. Purchase.
    Bonobos Premium Denim, Flatiron Dark Rinse, Slim Straight Jeans. USA. $145. Purchase.
     

    Welcome to the second Blind Bully Boot Shoot! After the immense interest in the first Boot Shoot (feat. Alden, Oak Street, Red Wing, Wolverine, and Timberland) and numerous suggestions from readers for future reviews, I couldn’t help but continue down this path. A path that runs through old industry USA, including four solid American brands: Eastland, Frye, Woolrich, and Chippewa. Eastland and Chippewa have been on my list for a while, but I believe the Frye Logan was just released for F/W 2014. While these three brands are well known in the shoe business, the Yankee is part of Woolrich’s debut line of boots, expanding their Made in the USA product offering. These boots were all

    chosen for their Blake/Rapid or Goodyear Welt construction and cap toe style (although obviously the Woolrich Yankee doesn’t quite match, it is the closest they make and I was curious about their new adventure).
    I’m partial to the following: a true goodyear welt for resoling and longevity, cap toes to aesthetically break the length of the shoe (I wear a size 13, but for those that run a size large I ordered down as noted), a method for speedily donning the boots, clean edges (as opposed to broguing), a sole with traction since these are for NYC winter, leather lining for boot longevity & comfort, and made in the USA. Read on for a breakdown of each boot.

    Continue reading »

    Red Wing Iron Ranger

    Red Wing Iron Ranger 8111

    Red Wing Iron Ranger 8111 in Amber Harness (size 12D). USA. $300. Purchase.

    I set out to find a handsome pair of brogue-less, cap toe boots that are made in the USA of veg-tanned leather and finished off with a commando sole. Such a boot is nearly impossible to find (if you’ve found it in a size 12/13 without a six month wait, speak up, unless they are Viberg’s $710 Service Boot, whose price I cannot justify). The Red Wing Iron Ranger was ultimately the closest I could find to my ideal, however it does have a few shortcomings.

    UPDATE [9.24.14] J.Crew has created a Red Wing Iron Ranger x Beckman, basically the Iron Ranger with the Beckman sole. Not sure what Brick Settler leather looks like in person, but the design is right.
    UPDATE [11.06.14] New before/after photos from a maintenance session with Obenauf’s leather preservative. The original laces have also been replaced with a leather set.

    Continue reading »

    Oliberte Mogado Hi

    Oliberte Mogado Hi in Grand Canyon National Park

    Oliberte Mogado Hi in Brown Yellow Pullup (size 46/13). Ethiopia. Purchase: Boots $150, Saddle Soap $4, Leather Preservative $20.

    Constructed in the worlds first Fair Trade Certified Shoe Factory, these Oliberte Mogado Hi’s are socially responsible and helping to shape the future of ethical shoe production. They have a rugged aesthetic, but are very comfortable, with a thin, nearly flat sole and a soft pliable leather upper. After about 2 months of wear I decided to punch a few more lace holes and clean them up in the same method I outlined in How To Clean Desert Boots post using saddle soap and leather preservative. The results can be seen in a side-by-side below.
    I then strapped them on my feet as my sole pair of shoes on a road trip from Austin, TX to San Francisco, CA that included hikes in Big Bend, Grand Canyon

    (shown), and Sequoia National Parks. They were actually great for camping since they can be easily slipped on and off and used as slippers when untied or laced up and day hiked in (I wouldn’t use these for real hiking, as their thin soles don’t have enough support). Through all the abuse they have held up great, looking better with use than they did new, and I’m still wearing them daily. They’re very informal, so probably best used on weekends or in casual office environments.
    Ethical Note: While I have written this post objectively, these shoes were purchased at a discount and I stand to benefit if Oliberte succeeds.

    Continue reading »

    Alden, Oak Street, Red Wing, Wolverine, Timberland

    Alden Oak Street Red Wing Wolverine Timberland

    From left to right:
    Alden for J.Crew Natural Cap Toe Jumper Boot (size 12). USA. $547. Purchase.
    Oak Street Bootmakers Natural Cap Toe Trench Boot (size 13). USA. $426. Purchase.
    Red Wing 9016 Beckman in Cigar Featherstone (size 12). USA. $330. Purchase.
    Wolverine 1000 Mile Rugged Boot in Brown (size 12). USA. $355. Purchase.
    Timberland 6 Inch Zip Earthkeepers Boot in Burnished Tan (size 13). Imported. $170. Purchase.
    Bonobos Premium Denim, Flatiron Dark Rinse, Slim Straight Jeans. USA. $145. Purchase.

    To preface, I’m partial to the following: a true goodyear welt for resoling and longevity, cap toes to aesthetically break the length of the shoe (I wear a Brannock size 13, but for those that run a size large I ordered down as noted above), a method for speedily donning the boots, clean edges on cut leather (as

    opposed to broguing),a sole with traction since these are for NYC winter, leather lining for boot longevity & comfort, and made in the USA. It should also be noted that I’ve updated this post a few times to improve the formatting and better articulate my thoughts.

    Continue reading »

    Clarks Beeswax Desert Boots – How To Clean

    Clarks Desert Boot with Saddle Soap

    Clarks Desert Boot in Bees Wax Cleaned with Saddle Soap. Purchase: Boots $125, Saddle Soap $4, Leather Lotion $9 or Leather Preservative $20.

    I’ve had these boots for a year and have worn them hard; daily in NYC, as well as on short hikes in Austin, TX and Portland, OR. They’re not the ideal hiking boot, but when traveling, they are so light and versatile it’s too easy to wear them to work, the airport, and have them as the only shoe on a trip. During this year of abuse, the only care they’ve received was a new pair of laces after the original pair gave out on my walk to the office. With winter approaching, it was time to clean and restore them before the salt water puddles begin their assault on the dried, porous leather. The technique used here is quite simple and successfully brought my boots back to life. As visible in the photos they were thoroughly scuffed, but after a quick clean are, once again, presentable. Saddle soap was used because of the amount and type of dirt caked onto the shoes and the length of time gone without cleaning. It’s great because it both cleans and oils the leather, similar in concept to a moisturizing soap you’d use on yourself during the dry winter months. However, similar to such soap, it doesn’t always prevent dry skin, and sometimes additional lotions/oils are required. This was certainly the case for me, as these boots have been worn frequently in the rain, which pulls oils from the leather. So in addition to saddle soap, I’ve used Allen Edmonds Leather Lotion to add oils back into the leather and prevent drying or cracking. All it takes is a damp cloth, saddle soap, a dry cloth, leather lotion, and a bit of elbow grease.

    Step 1.
    Remove laces and use a damp cloth to gently wipe off surface debris. Gently, because you don’t want to scratch the surface of the leather with the dirt currently on the shoe. This is the same concept as when you’re washing a car, so

    wipe in a direction where the small scratches that inevitably do occur won’t be noticeable (this is usually parallel with the existing scratches).

    Step 2.
    Thoroughly rinse the cloth of debris and give a good squeeze to return to damp status. Rub the rag in saddle soap and apply a thin film to the leather uppers. The saddle soap is a translucent whitish color, you want to put on enough to let the leather soak up some of the soap, but not so much as to have clumps of the translucent soap visible. It won’t hurt if you over do it, but it’s wasteful. Let it soak in for a few minutes and wipe off any excess along with this second round of surface debris.

    Step 3.
    Apply more saddle soap as needed and buff it into the shoe. This is also the time to scrub away any serious build up of dirt or dye. I’d worn a new pair of dark blue chinos, which deposited dye onto the leather, but with a bit of scrubbing it was possible to remove the blue from the shoe.

    Step 4.
    With your shoe clean and lightly oiled from the saddle soap, it’s time to add the lotion that will condition and penetrate into the leather to maintain the leather’s flexibility and prevent water from being able to soak into the leather. Do this with a clean, dry, cotton cloth. Lightly buff the shoe to a dull sheen, aware that the color will be darker than it was originally.

    Continue reading for update »

    Allen Edmonds Strand

    Allen Edmonds Strand Walnut

    Allen Edmonds Strand Cap-Toe Oxford in Walnut. $325. Purchase locally or online.

    These shoes perfectly combine style, comfort, and versatility. They are equally adept worn with a pair of dark denim jeans to a casual dinner party as with a tailored navy suit to an event in Mies’s Seagram Building. The calfskin leather is soft, adorned with beautiful broguing, and wonderfully comfortable; I’ve easily walked over sixty blocks in them in an evening without even a thought of

    discomfort. All that and they’re even made here in The States with a durable Goodyear welt. I’ll be holding on to these until I wear through the soles, and even then they’re recraftable. I recommend purchasing at your local store to ensure proper fit, both heel-to-ball and length.

    Additional photos »

    Clarks Desert Boot

    Clarkes Desert Boot

    Clarks Desert Boot in Beeswax. $120. Purchase.

    UPDATE 10/28/2013: Just posted new photos and a simple how-to-clean of these, now, one year old boots.

    Additional photos »

    Timberland Earthkeeper 6 Inch Zip Year 3

    Timberland Earthkeepers 6 Inch Zip Year 3

    Resoled, 3 years old, Timberland Earthkeepers 6 Inch Zip Boot in Burnished Tan. $150. Purchase.

    Additional photos »

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