Thorogood Boots 1892 Tomahawk – $284

The story of Thorogood Boots starts with Albert Weinbrenner, the son of a German immigrant and cobbler. Albert began his apprenticeship at age 13 working for his father. By his early 20s, in his spare time, Albert was designing work boots specifically for the working men of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1892, at the age of 27, Albert started his own cobbler business with partner Joseph Pfeifer.

Weinbrenner and Pfeifer quickly became known for their “jobber” boot. Today Weinbrenner Shoe Company is still based in Wisconsin and employs over three hundred people in the local area. Many of the boots they produce are sold under the Thorogood brand. Today we will be checking out the Tomahawk Boots in Loden Green.



Thorogood has become a staple in the workwear industry, but several years ago they debuted their 1892 Wisconsin Collection aimed for the casual wearer who wants the durability of a work boot.

The Tomahawk Boots were debuted in mid-2016 as part of this 1892 Collection, which was introduced as a throwback to some of the original work boots designed for the hardworking outdoorsmen of turn-of-the-century Wisconsin.

Each boot from the 1892 Collection is made with Horween’s Chromexcel Leather, constructed with a goodyear welt and nitrile cork sole. Each series is inspired by a different “jobber”: farmers, roofers, trappers, and more. We’ve reviewed two other boots from the 1892 Collection: the Dodgevilles and the Portage CXL Roofer Boots.


The Tomahawk uppers are built with Horween’s Chromexcel leather in their Loden green color. This is a beautiful pull-up leather that still allows you to see some of the natural textures of the leather. (You can read a bit more about Chromexcel leather in our interview with Horween here.) Because CXL leather has a high oil and wax content, it scuffs and scratches easily. These marks are easily buffed out if you prefer, but I love the patina that Chromexcel gains with age.

The boots are Goodyear welted onto a Vibram sole. They have a very long lace bed and come up well above the ankles, tapering upward. I occasionally fold the tops down depending on what I’m wearing, and usually stop lacing them at the second peg.

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The Tomahawk boots are considerably simpler than the rest of the boots in the 1892 Wisconsin Collection. They have a plain toe and the only embellishments are the double and triple stitching on the panels of the upper. The boots are unlined and thus show some undyed leather along the seams of the quarter and the counter. There’s a rectangular tag on the tongue that matches this color, which adds to the vintage look of the boots.

The Tomahawks are made on a men’s #60 last and have a thick rubber sole. However, their simpler design lends itself well to a crossover boot as Thorogood does not make any casual boots on a women’s last. There are sizes available from 5-14, so it’s likely that a female wearer could find the right size. They do run a little on the larger side; I would say about half a size big. I usually wear a size 9.5-10 and got the size 9, which fits well even with thick socks.

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These boots definitely take some time to break in, as the thick, unlined leather needs some time to soften and form to your foot. I started out by wearing them for an hour or two around the house, and slowly worked my way up to a full day’s wear. Don’t expect to immediately wear them out for a whole day, or the back of your foot will regret it!

The Thorogood 1892 Tomahawk Boots are an excellent choice for both men and women, especially if you’re looking for something a little different than the usual brown boot. They’re American-made with some of the best leather around, and very reasonably priced at $284. These are boots that will last you a decade or more and are easily repairable. Check them out on the Thorogood website or purchase them online.

Danner Mountain Pass Boots – $350

The Danner Mountain Pass Boots, made with Horween’s Rio Latigo Leather.


Bootmaker Charles Danner founded the Danner Boot Manufacturing Company in 1932, well into the depths of the Great Depression. When Danner discovered the booming logging trade in the Pacific Northwest in 1936, he moved his company to Portland, Oregon, where outdoorsman quickly began to appreciate the quality and durability of his boots, particularly their Shipyard Boot. The company continued to grow, and in the 1960s began to produce hiking boots that quickly became beloved in the outdoor community. Danner is now a global brand, and continues to produce about a third of their footwear line in Portland, Oregon. The product line now includes outdoor, work, and casual footwear for men and women.


The Mountain Pass uppers are made with Horween’s Rio Latigo leather, a full-grain, combination-tanned leather that is finished with pigment-free aniline dye that allows the natural texture of the leather to come through. You can see with these boots that they have a very natural color with a waxy finish. This full-grain leather is very hardy and keeps a uniform color.

The boot is lined with water-repellant Dri-Lex fabric and fastened onto an ever-trusty Vibram outsole. They have  The shoe is constructed with a stitch down method, which means that the leather of the upper is turned outwards and stitched and cemented to the outsole. This allows the shoe to be lighter and more flexible, though not perfectly waterproof, but the boots’ lining and finish do a great job of keeping your feet dry and protected.



When deciding on a pair of Danner boots, there are a few important things to consider. The Mountain Pass boots are a modernized version of the Mountain Light line that was debuted in the 1970s, and there are several important differences that potential buyers should be aware of. One factor that must be taken into consideration is the shank construction. The Mountain Pass has a bi-fit board construction instead of the fiberglass shank built into Danner’s older Mountain Light line. This means that these Mountain Pass boots (the subject of this review) cannot be resoled. However, the Mountain Pass boots are significantly lighter (about 25%!) and more flexible than the Mountain Light line. The Mountain Pass boots also have a padded collar for ankle comfort, while the Mountain Light Boots have a lower ankle with little padding.

The Mountain Pass line are extremely strong and durable boots, but once they are worn through, you will have to buy a new pair. This is definitely something to consider and it absolutely comes down to your boot weight preference and how much you plan to use your boots each season.


These boots are very reminiscent of classic 1970s hiking boots, with their lace-to-toe construction, metal eyelets, and solid leather uppers. Of course, these days it’s almost impossible to mention Danner boots without bringing up the 2014 film Wild, which depicted hiker Cheryl Strayed hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995 in her trusty, red-laced Danner Mountain Lights. While these boots certainly experienced a resurgence in popualrity because of this movie, they have been a classic among backpackers for more than three decades.

The Mountain Pass boots are absolutely constructed with hikers in mind, but this look has been co-opted by Portlanders, Seattleites and other outdoorsy Pacific Northwesters who now wear them on a daily basis. The wide, braided-lace toe has become a popular look, so these boots can perform double duty as hiking boots as well as casual footwear in unpredictable Northwest weather.


The Danner Mountain Pass boots are a lightweight, modern update on the classic hiking boot. Made in the USA with gorgeous Horween leather, these boots will be the perfect companion and reasonably priced.

Timberland Boot Company Wodehouse Captoe Oxfords – $289

When I think of Timberland, I almost always picture the classic 6-Inch boots, or a pair of hiking boots. But I’ve recently been able to see quite a bit of their product line, which includes almost every conceivable type of shoe for men, women and kids. Their most impressive collection, however, is known as the Timberland Boot Company, which was launched about a decade ago. This line is focused on craftsmanship, using Horween leather and higher quality materials. We’re taking a look at Wodehouse Captoe Oxfords from the Timberland Boot Company line.

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Timberland can trace its roots all the way back to 1920s Boston, where Nathan Schwartz began his career as an apprentice stitcher. Schwartz and his family grew the company and, in the 1950s introduced an innovative injection-molding technique that allowed them to waterproof their boots. In 1973, they introduced the “Timberland” brand, and the rest is history. Timberland is now a huge clothing and footwear brand that operates stores worldwide. Their company headquarters are in Stratham, New Hampshire.

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The Wodehouse Oxfords are made with a waxy full grain leather from Horween, welted onto a leather sole. The sole is reinforced with rubber panels at the heel and toe for traction. The inside is lined with a molded leather insole that is removable.

The shoe has a classic oxford construction with rustic details to make them unique. The vamp is made of thick strips that are attached with contrasting stitching with matching cotton laces. There are extra panels sewn along some of the seams to give it an old-fashioned, patchwork appearance.

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The Wodehouse Oxfords have a very old-world feel to them, with waxy, marbled leather, textured details, and leather soles.  They’re available in Burnished Dark Brown, Burnished Black, and Dark Russet Full-Grain (which is this pair).

These shoes are extremely comfortable out of the box. I like that you can wear them with semi-formal attire as well as a pair of jeans. The leather is soft, the sole is extremely durable, I have no complaints about these shoes. The soft leather scratches easily, but also buffs out easily. Even so, the marks add character to the leather and any minor scuffs do not compromise the shoe’s integrity.



The Timberland Boot Company Wodehouse Cap Toe Oxfords are a unique choice in the world of oxfords. The full grain leather will hold up well, and don’t require a ton of care. If you’re looking for a quality all around duty oxford and one that elicits a slightly different look than the bevy of traditional oxfords that are out there, I encourage you to consider the Wodehouse Captoe Oxfords. They’re well made, durable, and will get better with time and use.

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Soft Star Hawthorne Chukka Boots Review — $190

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The name chukka comes from the Hindi word chukker, meaning a circle or turn. This word was used in polo to mark periods of play. But polo players wear riding boots, right? Yes. The fact is, it’s unclear how this style of boot got its name, but some speculate that off-duty polo players might’ve worn something comfortable like the chukka boot while strolling town (which happens to be another connotation of the word chukker—e.g., to walk a casual loop).

But I was on the lookout for an unconventional style of chukka boot. I wanted a zero-drop version, the kind that doesn’t have any rise beneath the heel. I won’t get into the why here (there’s plenty already published if you’re the curious sort), but I will tell you what I found: Soft Star’s Hawthorne Chukka Boots.

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About Soft Star

Tim and Jeanie Oliver founded Soft Star 30 years ago. The company made shoes with a soft structure for kids, to allow for more natural foot development and growth. As they had success with those initial products, they began to expand into adult footwear. They attribute a spike in their success to the publishing of Born to Run in 2009—when so many people started looking for a minimalist running shoe. Their latest product is an adult fashion boot, which I’ll tell you about.

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The structure is like that of a traditional chukka boot. It’s ankle high, and open laced (which means the vamp, the part that covers the toe, is underneath the quarters, which the laces are attached to). This open lacing creates a distinct shape: a straight line comes to a point at the bottom of the laces and then curves back toward the heel and down. This simple structure gives the boot lot of character.

And speaking of simple, this is an unlined shoe, meaning there’s only one thin layer of leather over your feet, with no extra padding or lining. This adds to the comfort factor and reduces the weight and bulk. But it also means the boots don’t have the typical body and form of other shoes. This boils down to a simple functional fact: you can’t wear them unlaced. (They’re about my only shoes that I lace up.) But even laced, they feel great. They’re made of a soft, flexible leather, almost like a slipper.

The laces have no metal eyelets, just three holes punched in the leather. Again, an exceptionally simple style that impacts form and function.

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They’re way comfortable—this is one aspect I’m particularly excited to talk about.

The insole has a rubber bottom to keep it from slipping, and it’s suede on top, which is soft against your foot.

The soles are fairly thick and give you great padding when walking on concrete and other unforgiving surfaces. They’re not bad for just standing in either, almost like you’re on a firm yoga mat.

The leather upper stretches slightly, so you might end up wanting a size smaller than you’d otherwise expect. I, however, actually fit my foot into a pair two sizes down from what I settled on in the end. So it’s a matter of whether you can stand a tight feel while the boots stretch to fit your foot. I do sometimes wish I’d gone a size smaller.

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The name of these Hawthorne chukka boots got me excited—it suggests an American classic, something rugged and vintage. It made me want to wear them while milling around some dark, New England forest haunted by the ghosts of dead authors. The color and finish of the leather reinforce this aspect, and I like the simple black laces against the brown.

I have to be honest, though: parts of the look took a little getting used to, and my opinion has gone back and forth a few times since they arrived. (Maybe I’m just not quite hipster enough.) Some days I feel like they’re a tad too primitive. Mostly it’s the flat toe that gets me. I wish it had a little more body at the end, like a curled fist (which would’ve given my toes more room in the smaller size). Other days, I love the look and the funky hipster vibe they give off. On those days, I think of them as rudimentary urban moccasins, and I like the look a lot. In the end, it’s your call—the photos are frank about the unconventional style.

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BestLeather Conclusion

If you decide to order, I recommend this method for getting your shoe size right: Put your heel against a wall, and put a thick book at your toes to mark the distance. Then move your foot and measure. I discovered this method late in the game, which meant I should’ve had a major headache doing several exchanges. But Soft Star’s customer service is a wonder—so quick to help. They sent a prepaid label for the returns, and the new pair arrived right away, saving me time, money, and stress. I’m sure you’ll have a similar experience.

Soft Star’s Hawthorne Chukka Boots are lightweight, soft, and flexible. They have a unique visual style that makes a statement. They’re also zero-drop shoes, which means they have all the accompanying benefits. Most of all, they’re exceptionally comfortable.

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Grant Stone Longwing Crimson Review – $335

The wingtip brogue is a staple in many men’s wardrobes today, but the longwing brogue is still making it’s way back from the 1970s. We’ve had the chance to try out this style in Grant Stone’s Longwing Crimson. These standout shoes feature a Goodyear welt over a thick, stacked leather sole, a pull-up leather upper, and have a great vintage sense of style.



Grant Stone‘s small team is directed by Wyatt Gilmore, a third generation member of his family to be in the shoe business. Wyatt has spent years living near their factory in Xiamen, China, drawing from the decades of experience in his family as well as their factory to design their shoes. Grant Stone seeks to add their own touch to classic styles, making shoes that would be hard to find copies of elsewhere, with well fitting designs and high end materials.

Grant Stone’s leathers are sourced from the USA and Europe. Each pair of shoes is shipped with a pair of single-shoe dustbags.



The Longwing Crimson is a longwing brogue derby. Surrounding a steel shank, cork fill, and rubber heel is nothing but leather. The upper is a lovely, heavy weight aniline pull-up leather dyed in-house.


The sole is Goodyear welt construction, with an impressively thick stacked leather sole and open channel stitching. The heel has a small rubber insert for longer wear and traction, but the sole is otherwise leather, and can be replaced by a cobbler when it finally wears through. Between this and the quality, thick upper, you’re looking at a shoe with a long lifetime.


Overall construction across the shoe is done very well. It gives the appearance and function of a high-end shoe. There’s a few minor inconsistencies, but they’re cosmetic and only visible at very close inspection.

From a construction standpoint, Grant Stone seems to have taken a fair amount of inspiration from Alden. The steel shank first made me feel this way. Alden is known for using them, in comparison to companies such as Allen Edmonds, who have chosen to forego the durability of a shank in favor of a lighter and more flexible shoe. The rubber heel portion, overall design of the sole, and quality of materials used enforce the Alden comparison as well.



The first thought you’ll have upon putting on the Longwing Crimson for the first time will almost certainly be that this is a heavy, thick soled shoe. Fears about a long, painful wear-in period definitely come up, but I was surprised to discover that this wasn’t an issue. The comfort wasn’t as instant as a thinner, lighter shoe, but for how thick and stiff the sole is, the wear in was pleasant. Over time the midsole molded to my feet and the shoe softened up. A nice vamp crease has developed, and scuffs in the leather can easily be rubbed out or given some treatment and brushing.


The Longwing Crimson is such a tough shoe that it may take a little time, but they’ll eventually become like an old friend who sticks with you year in and year out.



Like many formal shoes, Grant Stone’s tend to run a bit large, in part due to the Leo last used to form them. I’m typically a US 9 for tennis shoes and a US 8 for formal shoes, and a size 8 Longwing Crimson was right for me.


A longwing brogue is a unique style that stands out amongst similar shoes, though in a subtle way. The brogue pattern extends to the back of the heel, rather than ending around the ball of the foot with a typical wingtip. In addition, Grant Stone’s Leo last makes the shape stand out–it gives the toe area a bit more roundness and space than many similar shoes.

While the highly fashionable amongst us will pull these off with cuffed jeans (as a longwing or wingtip shoe is technically less formal than a quarter- or half-brogue), I personally favored pairing the Longwing Crimson with a suit and tie. Whatever setting you like them in, one thing is for sure: this is a beautiful shoe, and you’re going to get compliments.


The crimson color tends to range visually from brown to a deep red/orange color depending on the light. The aniline finish of the pull-up leather shines well and really catches the eye. The whole effect is a savory high-end shoe with a bit of a vintage flair, thanks to the longwing brogue and thick edging.



The Grant Stone Longwing Crimson is a very tough and stylish shoe. The longwing brogue design and more rounded toe area give it a subtle uniqueness. The quality leathers will make it stand out in whatever setting you choose to wear them in. There is a wear in period, but it’s surprisingly comfortable even in this phase. I made the comparison to Alden’s construction style, but thankfully, the price doesn’t even approach that of the more famous brand, and this could be a a great economic alternative. With proper care and resoling, the Longwing Crimson will last for many, many years, and I highly recommend them to those wanting to add a bit of flair to their shoe collection.


Tsonga Chefeza Amatista Sandals Review – $140

In past summers, it’s been nearly a tradition to have terribly inconvenient shoe malfunctions – a flip-flop breaking, an awful blister from a sandal strap, or wearing through the bottom of cheap flats. Thankfully as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten somewhat wiser and stopped buying those $15 cardboard and faux leather sandals from Forever 21. I’ve graduated into much, much nicer footwear, including the Chefeza Amatista Sandals from Tsonga.

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Tsonga was founded in the late 90s by Peter Maree, who had decades of experience in the footwear industry. Tiring of the cheap footwear flooding the South African market, he set out to do something different.

“I wanted to create a range of shoes and handbags, inspired by Africa. The hand-stitching skills of the women of Lidgetton, close to my home in South Africa, are renowned. I though that together we could create something quite unique and wonderful”

He transformed an abandoned schoolhouse into a training center for local women to become experts in shoemaking. The building is now known as the Threads of Hope Farm, and employs dozens of crafters who make each shoe by hand.

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The Chefeza Amatista sandals are made with full grain cobalt blue sheep leather with a lightweight wooden outsole padded with printed leather. The main body of leather has geometric cutouts  that add texture and visual interest. The leather is surprisingly soft and supple, yet doesn’t feel like it’s going to break or cause problems. The soft leather makes the sandals extremely comfortable to wear, especially when combined with the cushioned, molded sole. Everything feels like a huge step up in quality compared to other similar sandals I’ve worn.

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The bright blue color of the Chefeza Amatista sandals is fun and eyecatching. They’re great for getting just a little dressed up and I’ve worn them to casual weddings, parties, and just going out to dinner. They are extremely comfortable and it’s great that I can rely on them for hours without worrying that my feet will get sore or irritated. The rustic-looking heel and the intricate leather differentiates the sandals from cheaper models.

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The shoes’ sturdy construction combined with the fact that these aren’t daily wear shoes means that the Chefeza Amatista sandals will last you a good long time. They’re a bit pricier than I am used to, but the difference in comfort and construction is impressive.

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Red Wing 2948 Roughneck 6″ Boot – $269.99

Today we’ll be taking a look at the 2948 Roughneck Boot from Red Wing. This is the second pair of boots from Red Wing to be featured here on BestLeather. You can read about their iconic Iron Rangers here, if you’d like. The Roughnecks are part of Red Wing’s Heritage footwear line, which relies heavily on boots designed decades ago that have proven their worth in hard working environments. Today, most of the heritage line of boots are worn in casual settings. But, they’re certainly made well enough to withstand the rigors of any type of manual labor you may throw at them…and you’ll be looking darn good while you’re at it!

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About Red Wing

Red Wing has its roots in the early 20th century Midwest, a rugged place dominated by hardworking people in industries like logging, mining, and farming. These tough jobs required tough footwear that would stand the test of these cold, harsh working conditions. A Red Wing, Minnesota shoe merchant by the name of Charles Beckman understood this and developed a line of tough work boots. He and his investors opened a factory in 1905, and Red Wing Shoes was born. From the Red Wing website:

“Over one hundred years has passed since our founding and our commitment to producing only the highest grade footwear remains as unwavering as Beckman’s vision. Our products consistently perform in environments spanning from the Mideast oil fields to the Midwest corn fields. Red Wing boots protect workers in more than one hundred countries across the world, an accomplishment built by years of hard work, endurance and the promise to never compromise on our quality.”

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The spitfire leather with several months of wear on the toe


The Red Wing Roughnecks are made with a waxy, polished leather they refer to as Spitfire Leather. It has a smooth, shiny look to it, enough to look somewhat dressed-up but not overly fancy. It looks very similar to what is commonly called rough out leather. It has a rugged, somewhat pebbled look to it. Right out of the box, it looks like it’s been worn and aged, which definitely is in line with Red Wing’s heritage vibe.

It’s quite an undertaking to create a pair of Red Wing boots. They utilize over 230 steps in their production. The end result is a solid, sturdy, well built boot. The boot is built onto a hefty Vibram lug sole with a Goodyear welt construction. It’s a pretty no-frills boot, with the contrasting welt and stitching being the main features that stick out. The boot has a rounded toe with no embellishments. The Vibram sole, as always, is bulletproof and provides excellent traction.

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I have been surprised at how comfortable these boots are given the minimalistic design. There is no padding in the shoe, which was intimidating at first, but the leather and the welt all break in well to the foot and provide a solid, comfortable, supportive base.

The boots are somewhat challenging to put on since they do not have speed hooks and must be laced through traditional eyelets. The only addition I might make would be a tab or loop on the back of the boot you could use to assist with pulling them on. I’ve found that the boots work well in a wide variety of situations. The black spitfire leather looks best with jeans or chinos – great for getting just a little dressed up. Their style and sole design is a bit too rugged for any type of formal or semi-formal setting. They’re best used in a work or casual environment.

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For a boot that’s under $300, it’s hard to beat the Red Wing 2948 Roughnecks. This is a tried and true, time tested design with lots of solid customer satisfaction behind it. If you’re looking for a boot to serve in multiple roles and looking for one that will last for many years to come, I highly recommend that you consider the Red Wing Roughnecks.

Lems Nine2Five Coffee and Cream Shoes Review — $125

Like other bandwagoners, I became a fan of minimalist shoes after reading Born to Run. I bought my first pair and transitioned instantly, which gave me sore muscles in my shins and feet like never before. Of course, wearing the shoes strengthened those atrophied muscles and changed my gait a bit. But I’m not here to convert you. This review’s mostly for people who are already looking for a leather zero-drop shoe (shoes without heels). If that’s you, you’re in for a real treat, because the Lems Nine2Five Coffee&cream are my favorite.




About Lems Shoes

The Lems team is just 5 employees. That amazes me. Especially for a company with so many products and so much success. They’re American, family-owned, and they’re concerned with what’s right more than what’s profitable—so says their mission statement. They also care about customers and feedback, which I can vouch for. When I emailed questions, I always got a quick reply from Audrey, with a tone that implied a friendly smile.

You should know about one potential frustration though: Lems doesn’t provide free return shipping. It took me two tries to get my shoe size right. So expect to spend an extra $12 or so (unless you’re a better guesser than me) as their awesome customer service gets you into the right size.





A Cherokee proverb has become a common American saying: “Don’t judge a man till you have walked a mile in his shoes.” Well, I’ve walked a mile a day in these Lems for the last seven weeks, and I’ve gotten a pretty good feel for judging them. Not only walking, I’ve run sprints and played a little frisbee (which includes lateral movements), and, even unlaced, they’ve performed well. I’ve been rough on mine, and they’re holding up, but I don’t expect them to have the same tenacity as something more traditional—that’s the tradeoff for the lightness. Totally worth it, if you ask me.

The soles are thin. Real thin. I took the insoles out of mine to add more width for my wide feet, and that made the bottoms even thinner. So thin that when strolling through the neighborhood, I gravitated toward walking in people’s yards. If you’re planning some extensive walking on concrete, these probably aren’t the shoes you’re looking for. (In their defense, it’s not the shoes that are unnatural, but the walking on concrete.) Concrete also happens to be where bone micro-fractures are most likely to happen, something you’ll hear about from the naysayers, and something to be wary of. Just make sure to do your research.

Overall, I love the thinness. This factor will shift your walking style, more forward off the heels, as if you were barefoot. I consider this a good thing.




These shoes are also extremely lightweight—literally more lightweight than my flip flops. This airiness makes them particularly comfortable. I don’t find myself slipping them off every chance I get like I do with other shoes. (Unless I’ve worn them in the sun on a hot day, of course, as they don’t exactly breathe like a sneaker.) They’re also great as a spare shoe when traveling because they hardly weigh down your bag. They also conform to your foot, so when you bend your toes, the toe of the shoe bends too.

This isn’t a great venue for a treatise on zero-drop shoes. But the short of it is that they let your feet be what they evolved to be, which helps balance your spine. I’ll also add that a few of my favorite internet celebs are in to the barefoot / zero-drop shoes, people Tim Ferriss, Kelly Starrett, and Sergey Brin. And I’m pretty sure God is a barefooter.





The Nine2Fives are a good fit for summer barbeques, firework shows, and lounging in the shade. I’ve also been wearing them to work, and because they’re leather they give off a professional, classy vibe.

I got the Coffee&cream variation—brown leather, cream sole. If you want to take the formality up a notch, there’s another version with brown leather and black soles, and another with black on black. Also, my buddy Victor reviewed the Lems Mariners, so check those out if you’re looking for a completely different flavor.

I love the shape of these shoes. The wider toe box feels really good—spacious and natural. But I think it looks good too. It gives them a more masculine feel, almost like the nose of a 1-ton truck. Or like the shape of Spider-Man’s foot in the old comic books—which means it’s the shape of an actual human foot rather than of a shoe. To me, this is awesome, but I’ll leave the final aesthetic judgement up to you.



BestLeather Conclusion

I love these shoes. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and classy. Having mentioned a few things you should be aware of, I’m ready to fully endorse these babies. If you’re looking for a stylish zero-drop shoe, you have to try out the Lems Nine2Five Coffee&creams.



OluKai Men’s Moloa Kohana II – $130

If you live in a temperate area summer probably isn’t such a big deal to you. It’s just a notable demarcation on the calendar. However, for those of us who live in areas that are definitely marked by four distinct seasons, summer time is always something that’s anticipated and greeted…warmly. It’s time for shorts, short sleeves, shoes without socks, a visual inspection of how pathetic your tan is, and it’s time to get outside and soak up some much needed sunshine!

With that being said, it was great to receive a pair of shoes from OluKai. After visiting their booth during Fashion Week in Las Vegas in February of this year, I was excited to have spring and summer get here so I could begin wearing the Olukai Moloa Kohana II shoes.

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OluKai is a footwear company that takes its inspiration from the beaches of Hawaii. Their motto is that “everybody, no matter where they are, can live Aloha.” They offer footwear for men, women, and children, all inspired by the feeling of bare feet in wet sand.

“It started as a different approach to a footwear company. We wanted to create footwear that combines durability for the waterman, ocean lifestyle, and a brand that has strong values and roots with style, comfort, and craftsmanship.”

We have had the privilege of reviewing for Olukai in the past too. If you’d like, you can check out that review here.

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The Men’s Moloa Kohana II is a beachy slip-on, made with laser cut full grain leather. The outsole is a combination of leather and rubber for traction and durability. It’s stitched with contrasting nylon thread with the flexes at the ankle via embedded elastic.

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The insoles are a contoured polyurethane gel covered with cork. The footbeds are totally removable and washable, which is great since I tend to wear these barefoot most of the time. The contoured insoles are made to imitate the feeling of bare feet in wet sand, I must say they have achieved their goal. The shoes are incredibly soft and the insoles make the shoes comfortable to wear without socks in most casual environments.

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One of the most unique aspects of this shoe is what OluKai calls the “Drop-In Heel”, an angled seam at the back of the heel that allows the wearer to slide into the shoe with ease. This is a great function for beachgoers and I’ve found it to be incredibly useful…in spite of the fact that I don’t live anywhere near a beach. It’s just a nice feature to have…slip ’em on, slip ’em off with ease.

I have experienced a few stray “threads” popping out here and there…but nothing that has compromised the integrity of the shoe or the aesthetic. I’ve simply trimmed it back and moved on. Sizing seems to be pretty spot on. I’m always on the border between sizes with an 11 or 12. I received a size 11, which was a little snug at first. But, they have stretched a little bit and are now extremely comfortable.

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The Moloa Kohana has a very relaxed, beachy look, which is a natural given the overall Olukai vibe. The shoe elicits a sort of huarache style with geometric cutouts on the vamp that add ventilation and visual interest. It’s the perfect go-to summer shoe and is at home in any low-key environment. It comes in two colors, rum and khaki. My khaki pair is a nice sandy brown color that wears well with any casual outfit.

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The OluKai Moloa Kohana II is a great option for summer footwear, with thoughtful details and a sturdy construction. Competitively priced at $130, you will get several comfortable summers out of these unique shoes.

Taft Clothing The Mack Boot Review – $260

When Kory, founder and owner of Taft Clothing, handed me The Mack Boot, he told me to “wear them hard.” For the last several weeks I’ve done just that, nearly every day, in a wide range of situations. These boots have taken all the beatings I’ve handed them with no problems, and drawn in a lot of compliments along the way. The Mack Boot is a high quality, stylish, and surprisingly affordable leather boot.



Taft Clothing began in Provo, UT in 2014 with a Kickstarter project…for no-show socks! After high initial success with socks, they’ve since transitioned to a focus on their line of luxury, European (mostly very unique) shoes. This family-run business aims to disrupt the typical notion that you have to pay outrageous prices in order to get high quality. By completely cutting out the middle man, refusing to sell wholesale, and only providing products direct to consumer, Taft is able to provide shoes you may see on a store shelf for $600 for less than $300. There are, however, no compromises in quality – some of the finest materials and construction methods out there are used in Taft Clothing’s line.


Taft Clothing enhances the direct-to-consumer personal touch with a few inserts in their packaging, including a personal thank you, short bios on some of the Spanish artisans, care tips, a Taft shoe horn, and dust bag.



The Mack Boot is handcrafted in Almansa, Spain. Taft’s team of experienced leather artisans have made shoes for numerous high end shoe brands around the world.


Both the brogue pattern upper and lining is made with Vachetta natural (read: untreated vegetable tanned) leather; cowhide for the upper and calfskin for the liner. The leather is hand cut, stitched with Gutermann polyester thread, and hand painted. These steps are clearly done with expert hands – each edge and stitch is immaculate, and the rich cognac coloring is gorgeous. Speed hooks are made of cast iron.


The Mack Boot’s stacked leather outsole is Blake stitched to the upper for flexibility and comfort, and can be resoled. All leather is sourced from Italy’s Artigiano Del Cuoio tannery. Rubber inserts in the outsole provide traction and comfort in all conditions, combining the advantages of leather and rubber.



It’s only been several weeks since The Mack Boot and I were acquainted, but they already feel like old friends. On day one they felt fantastic, and after dozens of wears and plenty of abuse, things have just gotten better. The Vachetta upper and lining is soft enough to form to you, but sturdy enough to provide support. They’ve slowly molded to my feet and ankles and now fit like a glove. The reinforced heel and toe provide additional protection.


I’m a huge fan of the speed hooks. They allow me to leave the shoes tied in most circumstances, just pulling the laces off the hooks to get in and out of the shoe. The tabs on the back of the heel make putting them on quicker yet (though they do occasionally catch my pants, too).


I’m excited to see how well The Mack Boot continues to handle time, use, and all the situations I throw at them. So far, I’ve worn these boots to work, school, church, athletic events, camping, DJing, and more, and they’ve taken it all like a champ. Outside of exercise, I think the only thing that prevents me from wearing them is when the weather gets too warm – as would be expected for any boot, they’re best matched with pants and cooler weather.

Taft-Clothing-The-Mack-Boot-Review-260-13 Some well-worn outsoles


My 10”/25cm long and 4”/10cm wide (at the ball) feet typically end up in an American size 8 or 9 formal shoe or EU size 41, and Taft’s shoes run true to this as a 41 was the right fit for me. They’re a bit more snug on my toes than on my narrow heel.


After some intense jumping and lifting while DJing, a small amount of color bleed ended up on my socks. Taft suggests the use of shoe horns to keep shoes dry. A small insert included in the box has a few other care tips, as well.


The Mack Boot is incredibly versatile. In formal settings they’re brogue wingtips, in rugged situations they’re combat boots, and everywhere in-between they’re right in-between. In none of the situations I introduced them to did they feel out of place or fail to function well, nor did they fail to draw compliments!


The hand painted cognac color is stunning, with hints of brown, red, and orange, depending on the light. As you can see, I couldn’t stop taking photos of The Mack Boot!



Taft Clothing’s The Mack Boot is a fashionable, rugged, competitively priced shoe. Materials and construction are top notch, and the style shines in nearly any situation. Not only are you getting a phenomenal value product from a company that cares about its customers, but you’ll get a shoe that will last for years to come. I love my pair more each time I wear them, and highly recommend The Mack Boot.

Be sure to drop by Taft Clothing’s web store to see The Mack Boot and the rest of their unique shoe collection.


Taft-Clothing-The-Mack-Boot-Review-260-16 Jack recommends The Mack Boot, too

Crosby Square Findlay Shoes Review – $395

Sometimes it is truly difficult to stand out from the crowd. With so many similar styles, shapes, and colors in the men’s dress shoes industry, it requires true quality, craftsmanship, and a touch of heritage to be different. Crosby Square happens to check all of these boxes, and I am very excited to be reviewing their classic wingtip brogues: The Findlay.

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The House of Crosby Square has quite the legacy when it comes to shoe making. This company began in 1867 as a small, two-man operation through the efforts of Alexis Beals and Ezra Torrey, two north-easterners with a knack for making military boots. After the two founders passed in 1925, Walter J. Booth decided to acquire the company. During the 1930’s, fashionable American men were shopping at London bespoke shoe shops due to the lack of premium men’s dress shoes in the States. Booth capitalized on this situation and decided to transform the industry, and Crosby Square (named after the famous London bespoke shops area) was officially born. Unfortunately, the brand fell off the industry radar in the 1970s due to casual styles and hippie trends. But this brings us to today; Crosby Square has been revitalized once again as a premium men’s welted footwear company, and the Findlay is an excellent example of the principles Crosby Square was originally founded on.

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The beautiful Findlay is constructed in Spain with handpicked, premium leather using the Goodyear welting method. Check out this informative article a Best Leather writer put together if you’ve never heard of this method before. The Findlay’s premium construction is immediately evident by only taking a quick look. The expertly fashioned brogue application, thick leather outsole, stunning bordeaux color, and classic derby shape combine to make one gorgeous shoe. I have not found a single stitch out of place or crooked on the Goodyear welt or brogue. The Findlay is a truly high-quality, no-nonsense shoe, and it is obvious that intense passion and hard work went in to its construction.

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At the beginning, this long wing derby was very stiff and snug, but after several days of casual use, the snugness eventually went a way and now I can comfortably wear them all day long. I did experience some minor heel discomfort and an awkward gait over those first few days, but for me that is to be expected with premium leather footwear because I don’t have the average shaped foot. If I could find anything moderately negative to say about this shoe, it would be that the heel took the longest to form to my foot. Other than this very individually limited problem, Crosby Square has done a fantastic job with the construction, sizing, and feel of the shoe.

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The Findlay is meant to be worn with a dressier wardrobe, but occasionally can be used to mix up your casual game, and the rich bordeaux color shines especially well when paired with dark colors.

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To be honest, when I first received the Findlay, I really didn’t want to wear them. Not because they didn’t fit, or it wasn’t my style, but because they were simply so beautiful. It sounds silly but I really did not want to mess the shoes up at all. Even now after I have worn them for a bit, I make sure to clean them every time I put them away. The high-shine leather and its hue are the best elements of the Findlay. Every person who notices the shoe, which is just about everyone, comments on the beautiful color and the classic wingtip brogue style. It simply is eye-catching. I have been thoroughly impressed with the quality level of Crosby Square. From the elegant Findlay all the way to the attractive packaging, Crosby Square is a business I am looking forward to working with again.

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Any stylish man knows the importance of having a pair of wingtip brogues in their wardrobe. The Crosby Square Findlay‘s long wing derby shape is an excellent option for guys looking to delve into the premium men’s footwear scene. At $395, the Findlay is an expensive shoe, but for the quality of materials, Goodyear construction, and classic style of the shoe, it really is a fair price. Head over to the Crosby Square website and check out all of their great styles and the new Spring Collection.

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Oliberté Bokoroo Review – $140

The world we live in is constantly changing and there’s great people out there who are making efforts to be better at everything we do. I believe that a small portion of this success can be attributed to Oliberté and their Fair Trade efforts. The Oliberté shoes we have reviewed before were quite nice, so I am excited to dig in to the latest piece, the Bokoroo.

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“Oliberté is a sustainable brand supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. We believe in empowerment, transparency, and doing right by all. This means making premium quality products with a lifetime warranty, and it means treating every employee, everywhere in the world, with respect. In 2009, we started off as a small footwear company partnering with factories and suppliers in Africa. Since then, we gained enough momentum to launch our very own factory in 2012. We make every single pair of Oliberté shoes at this factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In September 2013, we also became the world’s first Fair Trade Certified™ footwear manufacturing factory.”

To read more about Oliberté’s story and the Fair Trade model, check out their About Us page on their website.

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This company is dedicated to quality, respect, and humanity. Each and every pair of shoes or boots they produce reflects these intentions and principles.

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Right from the start the Bokoroo’s construction has been the most notable aspect of the shoe. Their classic, retro design are complemented by excellent quality stitching and premium leathers. The Bokoroo is constructed with a full-grain leather upper, goat leather lining, and natural rubber sole with an awesome map of Addis Ababa, the Oliberté factory location in Ethiopia. I Bokoroo is built extremely well, and the only niggle I have with its construction is the small leather heelpiece that isn’t completely attached. This may be for aesthetic, but I would prefer it to be sewn together due to it unfolding after extended periods of use.

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I have not had one single issue with how the Bokoroo performs at all. The high-top has treated me well during miles of Las Vegas trade show perusing, thousands of miles on my motorcycle, and countless day trips around town. I am extremely impressed with Oliberté’s dedication to high-quality, accessible footwear. These shoes are built to last and I definitely have and will continue to put them to the test.

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This is my first pair of high-tops that I have actually enjoyed looking at as much as wearing. The deep black leather is very attractive, and I am sure the other two colors are as well. The Bokoroo is built on the Oliberté Anbesso last, so there is plenty of arch support and comfort. Over time, the Bokoroo has stretched out just a little bit, but it still fits my feet perfectly, which are a little on the wider side. The shoe has already started to develop a worn in look, which goes well with the retro, African infused design.

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If you are a person who enjoys supporting companies that are truly committed to fair trade principles, Oliberté is an excellent choice. I have been impressed with the quality of Oliberté’s shoes for the price–  purchasing a pair is not going to break the bank. At only $140, the Bokoroo is a wise purchase for men looking for some quality, unique casual footwear. Head over to their site and check out some of the new models, some of which are a great deal. Ladies, be ready for an Oliberté women’s shoe review coming soon!

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Timberland Men’s Adventure Cupsole Oxford – $81 to $142

Leather dress shoes and functional hiking footwear have been a staple in the industry from the beginning. Both of these categories are full of excellent options and different styles, but the casual shoe category is quite possibly the biggest, broadest, and most common category of footwear. Timberland had been a powerhouse in the industry since its inception, and today I will be reviewing the Timberland Men’s Adventure 2.0 Cupsole Oxford.



Timberland can trace its roots all the way back to 1920s Boston, where Nathan Schwartz began his career as an apprentice stitcher. Schwartz and his family grew the company and, in the 1950s introduced an innovative injection-molding technique that allowed them to waterproof their boots. In 1973, they introduced the “Timberland” brand, and the rest is history. Timberland is now a huge clothing and footwear brand that operates stores worldwide. Their company headquarters are in Stratham, New Hampshire.



The Adventure 2.0 Cupsole Oxfords are constructed using premium full-grain leather, authentic rawhide laces, rubber sole, and 100% recycled PET lining. (polyethylene therephthalate,-soda bottle plastic.) The leather used in this shoe is from a tannery that has been silver-rated, meaning this is an environmentally conscious and energy efficient leather facility. After miles of walking I can say the Adventure 2.0’s construction is very sturdy and durable, which will continue to stay that way with proper care.



I have worn the Timberland Men’s Adventure 2.0 Cupsole Oxford for several weeks now and have not had a single issue other than scratches in the leather by my own doing. It is very easily scratched and marked, so if you prefer a cleaner look these shoes aren’t for you. I welcome character to my footwear, so scratches and marks are more than fine with me. My favorite quality of these shoes is their comfort level. I walked 8 miles one day in dirt, sand, and concrete, and I never once experienced any discomfort in the Adventure 2.0. The anti-fatigue technology really does work, and I highly recommend this shoe for active men who need a solid addition to their casual shoe collection.



I love the color of leather on the Adventure 2.0 Cupsole Oxford. Its pleasant, even tone is wearable with myriad colors and styles in any wardrobe. After only several weeks of use, these shoes have already started to develop that worn-in patina many men are after, and I must say I am very pleased with the eye-catching classic style they offer.



Timberland has proven that quality leather footwear doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive. The Men’s Adventure 2.0 Cupsole Oxford is only $82-$142 depending on size. For this reasonable price you will receive an incredibly comfortable, high-quality leather casual shoe, which I highly recommend. Head over to Timberland’s website and check out all the great styles of shoes they offer, you’re bound to find something you like!

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Lems Shoes Mariner Boat Shoe Review – $105

Baseball season beginning, allergies picking up, and finding myself going to bed while the sun is still out are all things I typically look forward to in spring. Another perk though, being the opportunity to ditch the boots and wear some light and comfortable shoes. That quest ultimately led me to the Lems Shoes Mariner Walnut Boat Shoe.

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Lems Shoes is a family owned business that has been producing footwear since 2011. It all started when Grand Shoebah Andrew Rademacher was having trouble finding the ideal shoe, a natural design that allowed for unrestricted mobility. Thus began a long journey in development, from working at a shoe store to literally dicing up expensive sneakers to see how they were made. Lems is  based out of Boulder Colorado where Andrew designs the shoes. I was surprised to learn that Lems is ran by four employees and works closely with a factory in China who produce their footwear.

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The Mariners are made from 1.8mm full grain leather, the interior of the shoes have no lining to promote breathability. The soles are made from LemsRubber, a proprietary injection blown rubber. In case you’re not up to date on your rubber sciences, air-injected rubber is lighter, softer and more flexible than traditional rubber. However, this sometimes comes at a cost of less durability. You’ve got a 1.0mm Pigskin/ 4.0mm open-cell PU sole. The Mariner’s main difference from a traditional boat shoe is the lack of a heel. There is a zero drop offset which means when the shoes are on, your heel and the balls of your feet are equally level. At under 9 ounces, the Lems are easily half the weight of other shoes.



The whole idea behind Lems Shoes is to let your feet operate on their own, without the impediments of modern footwear. You definitely “feel” the ground more in these as opposed to shoes with thick soles. While you  might notice you can’t trounce over the occasional rock with the same aloofness as before, I personally feel the Mariners offer a more intimate walking experience. Since your toes are engaging more, you are more perceptive to how you move and navigate everyday obstacles. I would suggest taking these on a few shorter walks as you get used to the Mariners. The lacing does an adequate job of keeping your foot secure but I do wish the tongue was a bit higher or even better if it had elastic to keep it in place so you could slip them on without lacing. The zero break involved on the Lems Mariners is a nice break from the leather shoe norm and you’ll be out and about immediately.

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The Lems Shoe’s Mariner has that classic boating shoe ancestry that remains a pretty timeless design. The toe area is as wide as I’d go, as any more would look almost clog like. Although it should be noted that this is a fundamental feature of the Lems– the larger area for your toes to move improve your traction and foot engagement.

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The leather wears quite nicely and the sole contrast is on point. With a purely aesthetic objective, I would have liked to have had a straight edge from the heel collar to the tongue but understand this allows the fibula more freedom of movement. Overall Lems did a good job of retaining the boat shoe look while cleverly including minimalist features. Lems+American Flag Shorts+BBQ = Profit

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We’ve seen a lot of nice footwear here at BestLeather. Most of the time you need to spend weeks breaking in shoes, so it was an absolute pleasure just throwing on a pair and going. The build quality is pretty solid for the $105 price point and while the styling has a few minor hiccups in my opinion, I feel they are definitely one of the better looking minimalistic shoes out there. If you want a light, simple shoe that will help strengthen your feet, Lems Shoes Mariner Boat Shoe are a solid option.  


Dayton Boots Parade Boot Review – $422

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I absolutely love a good pair of boots. There’s something about lacing up your dress boots to go out or kicking off a pair of work boots after a long day that just never gets old. I have been extremely excited about the Dayton Parade Boots for a long time, and after an entire year of wear, it is time to give my opinion.

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Dayton Boots has been around since the winter of 1946. Charlie Wohlford, the man behind Dayton boots had been successfully repairing logger’s boots back to better than new. Soon the small company was the go to place for all logging, construction, fire, and police professionals, especially considering the lifetime warranty. Since 1946, Dayton Boots has introduced numerous new models, adapted the Goodyear Welt boot making method, and climbed the rungs of the boot industry to one of the best handmade boot companies.

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The construction of a pair of Dayton boots is the company’s bread and butter. The company has been using the same 230 steps for constructing their boots since 1946. The Parade Boot is constructed using hand cut full grain leather for the upper, 6-12 iron (8-16oz) full grain for the insole and outsole and steel shanks to add extra durable support. These quality materials are then hand sewn together with double and triple stitching, and finally are Goodyear welted, all to the exact specifications you give them for sizing. The reason Goodyear welting is such a widely favored method for boots is because it is much more durable than other methods, and it is very easy to get them resoled. Dayton Boots is well known for having boots last several decades because of resoling, and I am definitely going to be using this service. I have been very impressed with the superb construction and have not found one flaw in over a years worth of wearing the Parade Boots.

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If you couldn’t tell from the name and design, the Parade Boots derived from old army marching (parade) boots. This is actually one of my favorite styles of boot across the entire industry, and the Parade boot resembles that heritage dutifully. Although I am not using my Dayton Parade boots for marching, I definitely have used them for my fair share of walking, motorcycling, and even dressing up. This boot is truly an attractive, multifunction, and high quality boot.

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We often hear about new boot owners and their painful experience with breaking in a pair of boots, but I am happy to say that I did not experience any discomfort or pain in breaking in my boots, and I have before with others. Dayton constructed my boots to the exact specifications of my foot, and they have functioned perfectly since day 1.

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The Dayton Parade Boots are some of the more attractive boots I have seen. The black leather can be worn with anything, and it obvious that the construction is better than most boots. I frequently am complemented on them, and when people ask about these boots, I happily tell them that the Dayton Parade Boots are among the best you can buy, and even though the investment is significant (which is actually less than it was a year ago), it will be worth it in the long run.

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The design and construction, fit, and the multifunction qualities of the boots are absolutely going to withstand anything you can throw at them, and if you do happen to need new soles, Dayton would be happy to resole them for only $84.

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As I said before, I was extremely eager to check out the Dayton Parade Boots. After a year of wearing them and putting on some serious mileage, I am still excited to lace them up as often as possible. Dayton has accomplished everything you could ask for in a high-quality boot. Priced at $422 total, the Parade Boot is actually a competitive, fair price in the industry for such top-tier quality. Go ahead and check out all the great boots Dayton has to offer– it is an investment you will not regret.

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Russell Moccasin “TLC” Toe – Lace Hunter Custom Boot Review – $527-$655

When most folks hear me say, “I’m from Idaho”, the first image that they always seem to conjure up is potato fields, french fries, and tater tots. Well, alas folks, I’m here to tell you that Idaho is much more than just a spud field – especially North Idaho (yes, I also know that most people feel the urge correct me and say, “it’s Northern Idaho”…but, we say North Idaho here). We’re surrounded by mountains, forests, rivers, apex predators, and game of all kinds. Most of us who live here fondly refer to it as “God’s Country”. It’s simply gorgeous and just about every outdoor activity you can possibly partake of happens here, including hunting of all kinds. When we were introduced to the opportunity to review a pair of custom hunting boots from Russell Moccasin, we jumped at the chance!

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Like many Midwest shoemakers, Russell Moccasin began in the 1890s in Wisconsin during the booming logging days. W.C. Russell’s hand sewn boots quickly became sought after by locals, and was eventually purchased by former employee Bill Gustin in 1924. Gustin was an avid hunter and fisherman and expanded the product line for outdoorsmen, as well as offering a line of casual shoes and oxfords in the 1930s. The business is now led by Gustin’s son-in-law, Ralph Fabricius, who has preserved Gustin’s vision of hand-lasted and hand-sewn footwear for the outdoorsman.

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The TLC Boot is fully handmade and handlasted. Everything about this boot is thought through for the outdoors. It uses full-grain waterproofed leather, and comes fully leather lined. The TLC Boot actually has a triple vamp construction, meaning there are three layers of leather surrounding your foot. Needless to say, this boot is insanely waterproof.

The boot is constructed so that the counter (side panel) is extra long, and is very, very thick. This gives the boot extra ankle stability for rough terrain, and the cushioned collar helps keep the boot comfortable against the lower calf. The laces come about midway to the toe, giving you good control over the tightness of the laces on the foot.

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The TLC Boot is highly customizable, with options for everything from the leather color (the TLC Boot comes in five color options: Black, Reddish Brown, Tan, Chocolate, and Green) to the type of sole. You can choose how much insulation you want (and whether you want it on the whole boot or just the foot). You can add extra cushioning in the sole, or a reinforced toe cap for rough/rocky terrain. The boots come standard with a very hefty Claw Airbob sole, but you may also choose from several other Vibram soles, all of which are slightly heavier. An in-depth explanation of all of Russell’s custom options can be found here. They are extremely happy to work with customers to create their perfect boot, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

To order the TLC Boot, you have to send in pretty involved measurements of your feet.The process for tracing and measuring to have a pair of boots made is interesting and time consuming. But, the end result is well worth the modest amount of time you’ll spend providing the necessary information for your boots. You can even send photos if you have any irregularities (bunions, differently sized feet, etc.) and they will accommodate you. Your foot measurements will stay on file at Russell for 10 years in case you order a new pair or need repairs. And, I’m sure some of the thinking there is they are confident that once you order one pair of boots, you’ll find another reason to order some shoes or a different pair of boots. If you have particularly wide or narrow feet, you can even order your own last for a fee. All of this just goes to show just how much Russell wants to ensure that your boots fit you and your lifestyle perfectly.

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The TLC Boot is surprisingly attractive for such a functional piece of footwear. The tread is rather chunky, but I’m not afraid to wear these around town here in addition to hunting deer or elk up in the mountains. They’re easy to slip on thanks to a hearty finger loop on the back of the boot and lacing them is a quick, simple task. The footbed is extremely comfortable making them an easy choice for all day wear in rugged terrain. This past winter was a very wet, cold one here. I was consistently comfortable wearing these boots with just a medium weight sock thanks to the 200 gram Thinsulate that lined these boots. And, never once were my feet wet, in spite of trudging through snow all day. Up until this last season, I wore the same pair of hunting boots from another reputable company (at least 7 years straight). However, this year I consistently chose the TLC boots from Russell Moccasin. They’re super comfortable, look great, and keep my feet in great shape – even after miles of hiking.

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The Russell Moccasin TLC Toe-Lace Hunter Boots are very impressive. These boots are definitely an investment, but I’m positive that these will last me a lifetime,  as they can be resoled and repaired at the factory. Russell’s measurement and customization process was spot on. My boots are a perfect fit for me. These are a purpose built boot primarily geared at the serious outdoorsman. So, if you’re looking to upgrade boots to something that will swaddle your feet in style and comfort, I’d highly recommend you visit the Russell Moccasin website and check out their line of excellent footwear.

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Paul Evans Caine Bit Loafer Review – $349

We all know that shoes don’t make the man…but they certainly make the man feel more suave, debonair, and stylish that’s for sure! But, when searching for a pair of shoes to wear to the office or those more upscale events, the choices are vast. Classic dress shoes rarely go out of style. So when you’re ready to purchase, do so wisely as a well-informed consumer. We encourage you to read about Leather Shoe Construction and Leather Types Used in Shoe Construction – we hope you’ll find those informative and helpful articles as you begin your decision on which brand and style of dress shoes to purchase. And, speaking of brands, we hold Paul Evans in high regard, so let’s take a look at their Caine Bit Loafer.

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Paul Evans is a small operation based in New York City, where the shoes are designed. Each pair of Paul Evans shoes is manufactured in a family-owned factory in Naples, Italy. They’re e-commerce only, meaning there are no middleman markups.

“When we set out on this venture, we knew we wanted quality, but we weren’t interested in creating a pair of thousand dollar shoes. We never understood why beautiful, timeless shoes were still monopolized by the traditional brands while other parts of the fashion world were being disrupted by the powers of technology.”

In January of 2014 we featured a guest post from Paul Evans entitled, “Why My Leather Shoes Are Made in Italy”, which is a great piece on (you guessed it) why Paul Evans’ shoes are made in Italy.

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Each pair of Paul Evans shoes is made of Italian calfskin leather. The upper is made entirely of full grain Italian leather, in a beautiful black with a classy sheen. The soles are also leather, handpainted black to match the uppers. The inside is lined with soft, light brown leather that adds comfort as well a smart contrasting look.Paul Evans Caine Bit Loafer 6


The sole is Blake-stitched, which means the upper is wrapped around the insole and attached between it and the outsole. This gives the shoe a bit more flexibility, as well as a sleeker sole, and the ability to be re-soled in the future. The Caine is expertly constructed, with its subtle curves and perfect stitching.


The Caine Bit Loafers have a dressy loafer shape to them, with a bold horsebit crosspiece further embellished with a signature Paul Evans fleur-de-lis. With a high-polish leather, a pronounced heel (about 3/4 inch), and bold hardware, these shoes definitely stand out. The impression from my office mates has been extremely positive with lots of questions about them and positive comments about the color and overall style. They are not as modern of a style as most of Paul Evans’ line, but is still a versatile shoe with broad appeal.Paul Evans Caine Bit Loafer 5


The vamp is of medium depth, so the shoe can be worn with or without socks. The shoe definitely has Italian influences to it with the horsebit hardware and a somewhat elongated and elevated toe. The Caine comes in three colors: black, oxblood, and marronne (a medium brown). The black is of course the dressiest of the three.


Paul Evans warns that that their shoes run a full size and a half large, and they aren’t kidding. Be sure to order smaller than you’re used to. Paul Evans’ customer service has been very helpful in our experience, so don’t feel worried or afraid to ask questions. Once you’ve determined the correct size, ordered and received them, it’s time to get them on your feet. Holding a quality dress shoe in your hands is great…but walking in them is just awesome and such is the case with the Caine Bit Loafers. They break in quickly and all day comfort isn’t really considered – it just happens. The Cain Bit Loafers are a versatile style that can be worn in colder weather and then easily worn sock-less on warmer spring and summer days.

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So far I’ve been very happy with the Paul Evans Caine Bit Loafer. They are definitely a shoe that I’ll wear for many years to come. Dress shoes can be ridiculously expensive, but these come in at $349. Yes, that’s still a decent sum of money. But, you are getting an Italian made shoe with high quality components, and when taken care of properly will last most of your working career. That makes them a great deal. The Paul Evans business model has so far been very impressive (direct to consumer with no middle man); their shoes’ quality and design could easily pass for brands twice the price. You can even save $25 when you join their newsletter or create a member account. So, go get ya some!

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Timberland Boot Company Men’s Wodehouse Wing Boots – $300

Men’s Footwear is an enormous industry with thousands of designs, producers, and materials. But when it comes down to it, leather boots are without a doubt the longest lasting and highest quality sector of the trade. Timberland has established itself as a powerhouse in the Men’s Boots industry since 1973, but The Timberland Boot Company is a relatively new addition to Timberland. This new addition is focused on producing boots that are inspired by early craftsmanship along with modern influences. Today I’ll be taking a look at Timberland’s Men’s Wodehouse Wing Boots.

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“Timberland can trace its roots all the way back to 1920s Boston, where Nathan Schwartz began his career as an apprentice stitcher. Schwartz and his family grew the company and, in the 1950s introduced an innovative injection-molding technique that allowed them to waterproof their boots. In 1973, they introduced the “Timberland” brand, and the rest is history. Timberland is now a huge clothing and footwear brand that operates stores worldwide. Their company headquarters are in Stratham, New Hampshire.” The Timberland Boot Company has developed into the high quality, heritage craftsmanship part of Timberland, which is something we can appreciate here at BestLeather.

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The Wodehouse Wing Boots are constructed using full-grain leather that has been hand finished to give the boot a worn-in look. These wing boots are easily scuffed and marked, which I think makes for an attractive patina that complements their vintage look.

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The boots have a leather outsole with a rubber heel so the boots have both flexibility and traction. The molded leather midsole adds to the vintage look, as well as the tooled wingtip toes and tooled leather detail on the upper stitching. The shoes are almost entirely leather, with the exception of the rubber heel and the waxed cotton laces. There are no metal eyelets or other details to distract from the leather and its patina. The metal zipper on the inside of the shoe is very sturdy and easy to use. I was not too excited about having zippers on my boots, but over time and from hundreds of zips I have become quite fond of this feature and appearance.

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The Wing Boots come in two colors – Red Brown and Dark Grey. My Red Brown boots are quite versatile and just bright enough to add interest to nearly any outfit. The boots look terrific with or without cuffed denim and are extremely comfortable. I definitely could wear the Wodehouse Wing boots all day long and be comfortable, which is something that I could not say about a lot of other shoes I own. The only aspect of this boot I found a little unfortunate is that the midsole is very easily scuffed. I don’t mind scuffs or marks—in fact I enjoy adding character to my boots—but the midsole develops a little too many marks and scrapes for my taste. Timberland recommends some boot and shoe refresher so I think if I touched them up a bit most of the scrapes and scuffs will go away.

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I have amassed a pretty decent collection of quality footwear, but I find myself wearing the Timberland Wodehouse Wing Boots quite frequently. The comfort level, the expert construction and vintage appearance combine seamlessly into a high-quality boot that have convinced me to purchase again from the Timberland Boot Company. Head over to their website and check out all of their quality, attractive men’s footwear, especially in the Timberland Boot Company line, and be on the lookout for more Timberland reviews to come.

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Timberland Women’s Savin Hill Tall Boots Review – $240

Well, the cold weather has come around, which means it’s time to break out the sweaters, jackets, scarves, and other wonderful wintry apparel. Of course, the best footwear to pair with these outfits is the beloved boot. I firmly believe that a nice pair of riding boots are an important staple for a woman’s wardrobe, especially if you live in a colder climate. Today we’ll be looking at Timberland Women’s Savin Hill Tall Boots.

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Timberland can trace its roots all the way back to 1920s Boston, where Nathan Schwartz began his career as an apprentice stitcher. Schwartz and his family grew the company and, in the 1950s introduced an innovative injection-molding technique that allowed them to waterproof their boots. In 1973, they introduced the “Timberland” brand, and the rest is history. Timberland is now a huge clothing and footwear brand that operates stores worldwide. Their company headquarters are in Stratham, New Hampshire.

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The Savin Hill’s uppers are made with full-grain leather. It’s thick enough to feel substantial yet supple enough to wear comfortably. It has a nice waxy sheen that looks great and adds a waterproofing element. The inside is lined with a cute mesh fabric and zipped up with a hefty brass colored zipper.

The calf circumference is 14.25 inches and is adjustable with a pegged gusset at the top. The boots fit true to size and fit comfortably with thick wool socks. The shaft height is 14″ which makes them slightly taller than similarly styled riding boots. I’m quite tall at 5’10” and these boots fall comfortably above mid-calf. I’ve tried on other riding boots that have looked too short for me, so the height is a big plus in my book.

Timberland Savin Hill Tall Boots 6These boots take a little bit of time to break in, so I’d recommend wearing them for short periods of time at first. The front of the ankle is a bit tough and takes some time to soften as well. After that, they are quite comfortable, with a removable padded footbed made from recycled plastic. **Side note: Timberland has a pretty impressive commitment to sustainable and climate-friendly manufacturing. You’ll notice a lot of their shipping and manufacturing materials are recycled or biodegradable. You can read more about that here.**

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The Savin Hill boots have the classic riding boot look with a few extra details to make them unique. The lighter colored stitching and the threaded detailing on the back give them a distinct look. The 1-inch leather wrapped heel and rubber outsole match nicely, and the big brass buckle gives it that iconic riding boot look. The rubber outsole provides decent grip.

The Savin Hills come in three colors: Tobacco Forty, Black Forty, and Wheat Woodlands, a light tan color. My Tobacco Forty color is a nice, rich cognac color. It has a bit of a distressed, marbled look, which I prefer because it hides scuffs well.

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Timberland Women’s Savin Hill Tall Boots are a great choice if you’re looking for unique looking riding boots that will last. Over the years I’ve had several similar pairs of boots from this price range and the quality of the leather on the Savin Hills is my favorite. These have a timeless riding boot look that won’t go out of style, and their sturdy construction mean you will get your money’s worth.Timberland Savin Hill Tall Boots 3

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Thorogood Boots Dodgeville Boots Review – $349.95

Boots are best in the footwear department. Yes, that’s a strong statement to make…but, it’s my opinion – take it or leave it. When Thorogood Boots (also known as Weinbrenner) approached us about reviewing another popular pair of boots for them, I jumped at the chance. This time around we’re checking out their Dodgeville line.

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About Weinbrenner Shoe Company

Iconic American success stories are awesome and the story of Albert Weinbrenner, son of a German immigrant and cobbler, holds true to form. Albert began his apprenticeship at age 13 working for his father. By his early 20s, in his spare time, Albert was designing work boots specifically for the trade jobs his friends had around Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1892, at the age of 27, Albert started his own cobbler business with partner Joseph Pfeifer.

Weinbrenner and Pfeifer enjoyed immediate success – becoming well known for their “jobber” boot. Today Weinbrenner Shoe Company is still based in Wisconsin and employs over three hundred people in the local area.

As alluded to in the opening, this is the second pair of Thorogood Boots we’ve reviewed. The first pair, the Portage CXL Roofer Boots, were very impressive and chosen as the “Best Boot for 2014”. We’ll be issuing an update on those boots soon – but, don’t worry…they’re performing admirably and still look fantastic.

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Construction & Function

The Dodgeville Boots are part of Thorogood’s 1892 Collection, which was introduced as a throwback to some of the original work boots designed for the hardworking outdoorsmen of turn-of-the-century Wisconsin. The line reintroduces the beloved No. 60 last, which has become an icon in men’s footwear.

Each boot from the 1892 Collection is made with Horween’s Chromexcel Leather, constructed with a goodyear welt and nitrile cork sole. Each series is inspired by a different “jobber”: farmers, roofers, trappers, and more. The Dodgeville line is inspired by the Wisconsin miners who needed the toughest boots around to stake their claim and make their fortune.

The outsole is padded with a leather and a partial Vibram lug. This makes the shoes quite comfortable for long-term wear and ensures a good long life. The Goodyear welt construction also means that this boot can be resoled and repaired for years to come.

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As with the Portage CXL Roofer, the Dodgeville Boots require a noticeable break in period. As my friend Richard Martens – International Sales Manager for Weinbrenner cautioned in the past, “you earn the right to wear a pair of Weinbrenner’s” and it’s a completely true statement. But, don’t be dismayed or turned off by that statement. The process is well worth the reward. Be prepared when you purchase these boots. Initially you won’t wear them for very long. Take your time…increase wear time from day to day. And then, “the day” will occur – it’s the day when you notice that your Dodgeville boots feel fantastic on your feet. In fact, you will probably go about your day’s work and kind of forget about them (until someone comments or asks about them) and then you’ll realize that your break in period is complete. From that point forward, the Dodgeville Boots will easily be regarded as your ‘go to’ footwear of choice.

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The subtle cap toe design really sets the Dodgeville apart and makes it a very unique looking boot. All of the 1982 Collection uses the classic No. 60 last, which is a very iconic silhouette in men’s footwear.

The Chromexcel leather, as usual, looks beautiful with its waxy sheen. With Chromexcel leather boots, you can sometimes get what’s called “bloom,” a whitish waxy substance that rises to the surface of Chromexcel leather due to its high oil content. This is normal and easily resolved with a quick wipe from a horsehair brush. So, we’d recommend investing in a horsehair brush when you pick up the Dodgevilles. Be sure to read up on Chromexcel leather here.

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The Dodgevilles come in three classic colors: Black, Brown, and Cognac, all versatile and attractive colors. I’ve found that my cognac pair is a quite flexible and timeless color, with brass colored eyelets that give it a great vintage look. Each boot color comes with matching flat waxed laces. Not only does the style catch people’s eye, but they always comment appreciatively on the color too.

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Weinbrenner’s Thorogood Dodgeville Boots will truly last you a lifetime. With each component made and assembled in the United States, you know you are getting tip-top quality when you purchase a pair of Thorogood Boots. The Thorogood name has been trusted and respected by hardworking men and women since 1892, and their time-tested techniques result in a sturdy, attractive product that is well worth the price tag. The only issue you’ll have is choosing which color to purchase…

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