Boot reviews have become an important staple of what we do around here. When we had the opportunity to dialogue with Kendal Liddle, one of the founders of Kendal & Hyde Company, and the opportunity came up to review prototypes of the boots they’re currently offering through a well-received Kickstarter program, we jumped at the chance.
Kendal & Hyde is new to the boot arena, but not new to creating stunning leather products. This duo – located in Salt Lake City, Utah and San Francisco, CA have a serious dedication to creating heirloom quality leather bags, belts, and small lifestyle accessories but saw the opportunity to go one-step further. The company wanted to begin building boots and help people in the process. They started brainstorming ideas to make peoples’ lives better, and came up with this: “For every pair of boots we sell, we will make and give a pair of shoes to a child in need in a developing country.” You might be thinking that this idea is way too unoriginal, but that is not the point. The shoes they will be making are actually long-lasting sandals that may be used by multiple children. This is a much better investment than shoes that wont last a child more than a year. To ice the cake, the sandals will be made from up-cycled rubber from landfills and high-quality, water-resistant durable leather,
To read more about Kendal & Hyde Company’s sandals and the humanitarian efforts, head over to their Kickstarter page. Purchasing boots allows you to contribute as much as you’d like to these efforts, help determine where the sandals will go, and gives you access to future developments. BestLeather appreciates and respects their desire to provide practical solutions to issues that affect everyday life for children around the globe.
We received a total of four boots on Christmas Eve – a full pair of brogues along with a single boot in black and brown of their classic Doughboy. In our conversation on the phone, Kendal admitted that he’s a bit of a “leather snob” (that’s his own description…I didn’t make that up). All of their boots are constructed from full-grain leather. The grain is the outermost surface of the hide. It’s considered the strongest and most valuable part of the hide and the best leather for anything that needs to be durable.
Their boots also feature Goodyear welted construction. Here’s a great summary of that process taken directly from their Kickstarter page: “Goodyear welting is the traditional way shoes have been made for centuries, but it’s named after the guy who invented a machine that could do the stitch that previously had to be done by hand. (He coincidentally was the son of the guy who invented vulcanized rubber, as in Goodyear Tires, as in what we are using for our boot soles.) Even with a machine, it is a hard and labor-intensive way to make shoes, but it is far superior to the cheaper and more common practice of just gluing a preformed sole to the shoe upper.”
In addition to Kendal & Hyde’s humanitarian mission, they’re also devoted to conducting an eco-friendly basis. In adherence with that dedication, they’ve decided to use tire sidewalls as the final outsole choice. It’s an excellent choice in that it recycles the material, provides long wear, and good grip for the wearer. The boots we received are prototypes and as such are not the finished products. However, these are some darn good looking prototypes! Again, reflecting on our conversations and emails with Kendal, he indicated that several things will change or be upgraded in the final production versions:
“As mentioned the boots I sent are prototypes. This means the stitching is a little rougher than it will be in production. I have a few final tweaks I will be making before production, but most revisions do not show in photography and will go unnoticed by all but me, but I consider them improvements. The heel and the ankle profile are the only obvious revisions.”
The points that will be changing in production are:
- less hairy thread
- minor nuance in the stitch pattern will be changed so there is parallel stitches instead of overstitching at the stress point
- lower heel
- thinner rubber on heel
- the leather will be turned under at edges for a cleaner finish
- the plain version will also be storm welted
- the laces will be waxed and have metal aglets
- the ankle will be a little narrower (heel and ankle like the below)
In looking over the prototypes we received and examining them with the improvements listed above in mind, the final production pieces should be stunning.
Due to the fact that these are pre-production prototype boots, we were not able to receive pairs of these boots in our size to try on or use. Consequently, there isn’t a great deal to be said about the functionality of the boots. However, we can speculate a few things based on previous experience with boots of similar design and build:
- These are full lace up boots and do not have a tab or finger loop to aid in pulling the boots on. This will mean you’ll probably want to get a good shoe horn or you’ll need to unlace the boots somewhat to be able to slip them on easily.
- Having waxed laces with metal aglets will certainly be beneficial in lacing them up quickly.
- Due to the type of construction, these boots should be “out of the box comfortable” and not require a long break-in period. The boots feature multiple inner layers of varying degrees of softness. Even when sliding a hand down in the boot and pressing down on the insole, you know your feet will feel great once you slip these boots on. With the cork addition, they have a bit of a Birkenstock sandal feel to them (which, if you’ve never worn a pair of those sandals, is a fantastic thing).
BestLeather is supposed to receive a couple of pairs of production boots in our sizes, so be looking for full reviews on them in the coming months. We look forward to getting them on our feet and fully testing them out.
With their arrival on Christmas Eve, we’ve been able to put these boots in front of many of our friends and family. “Gorgeous – beautiful – classy – stylish – functional sophistication – can I take them home?” These are all things we heard about these boots. Fortunately, we still have them and no one absconded with them. However, we know they were tempted…big time.
Tim’s impression: Out of the box, I could immediately tell that much thought had been put in to the sourcing of high quality materials and into the construction of these boots. The detail on the full brogue is stunning. The classic, plain toe doughboys exude a superior look and feel. All three boots look fantastic, look like they’ll hold a polish well for years, and will wear well for a very long time.
TJ’s impression: The first thing that came to my mind was this, “These aren’t the final production pieces?” I was blown away with the perfection of these boots. All the colors were smooth, the WWI themed construction was refreshing and appreciated, and it was obvious that time, passion, and extreme attention to detail was used in the boot’s construction. These are boots I would wear for years, and while we have not yet been able to test their durability, they look absolutely promising. I am undeniably eager to get some final production boots.
There are only a few days left in the Kendal & Hyde Leather Boot Kickstarter. Use some of that money you received as a holiday gift and get a pair or two of these boots ordered for yourself. There are several great reward packages available that include a great pair of these boots along with some other Kendal & Hyde swag and the ability to send a pair of footwear to a child in need. Start the year off right…giving and receiving. We look forward to reporting more on these boots as time goes on…stay tuned.