Friday, December 2, 2016


Hi john, was wanting to get your opinion on the Chippewa"1949 Original" model...I really enjoy your blog and Instagram! Thanks!

"Original 1940"

Hi Paul.

Thanks for the e-mail! 

BLUF - I'm not much of a fan. They're modern Engineer Boots billed as "Original 1940" and the style falls short on representing either of these years. 


The buckles -- which ironically look like those used on Red Wing boots -- are great, though. I feel that a simple buckle swap on the M1901M48 model (top right) would make them a big hit. 


For the $430 price tag on the "Original 1940," I would sooner purchase a pair of Red Wing 2966s from Standard And Strange (only $400 with better leather and incredible aging results - currently restocking)

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Brian The Bootmaker's RC1940 last replicates the profile and toe box true boot collectors dream to find on original 1930's - 1950's Engineer Boots. And the best part? The unstructured toe box flattens out just like an original. This is a characteristic found only on a handful of today's homage boots, which comes with a premium I'm more than happy to pay.


Shown here is the evolution of the RC1940 last with my Mister Freedom® Road Champ Engineer Boots (right) with Role Club and VEB Leather modification (MD) just a few days back from Brian.

On the left are my RC1940 Whites Boots Semi-Dress boots in Horsehide beginning to deflate with just two months of wear.


My RC1940 Role Club LII98 I personally studded and added a ball chain D-pocket to are completely deflated at seven months old and developing a square'ish shape.


There you have it, folks -- the evolution of one the best lasts on todays market. I'd like to note that Road Champs have had the best last since their release back in 2009  but this particular pair were a half size too big and I decided to have Brian give them a defined shape during the resize process. No big deal since they'll flatten out with some new attitude.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Fully modified and ready to age ... with my Freedom tux.

Monday, November 28, 2016


"Demonstrate to the world there is ‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy’ than a U.S. Marine.” - General James Mattis


Thursday, November 17, 2016


Since letting go of my brown Horsehide cap toe Whites Semi-Dress boots, I've been on a serious hunt for the perfect replacements. I've thrown around the idea of Red Wing Iron Rangers, but wanted something not so common. Then I came across these eye-catching Service Boots by Ranch Road Boots.

Instagram: @RanchRoadBoots
All photos from

Inspired by early Marine Corps Service Boots, these look to have everything I've been hoping to find in a good cap toe work boot -- quality construction, attractive profile (from all angles) ... and what makes these boots even more special is the company's founder.  Sarah Ford is a former Marine Officer that served in the same occupational field as I'm serving in today -- the Logistics field. And as a combat veteran she knows what it means to support our brothers and sisters -- a portion of all sales is proudly donated to the Semper Fi Fund, which provides financial assistance to wounded Marines and their families while they recover. Now this is a company I can stand behind ... and look at these damn boots!

I find it very interesting that a boot company that deals primarily in handcrafted western footwear is putting out a pair of work boots that has me super excited and anxious to get 'em in my grips within the next month or two. Selvedge denim, naval chinos, slacks ... i'm gonna wear these like they owe me money! My Mister Freedom® Trooper Boots, John Lofgren Donkey Punchers, 1940's Pair-A-Troopers and now these? That's a Fire Team of lace-up boots I want fighting on my side. 

Model: Service Boot
Leather: Spanish Pull-up
Pre-order: $349
Ships: Nov/Dec 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Sometime back in 2013, while stationed on the island of Okinawa, I was cutting some leather with a very sharp blade for a VEB Leather custom order. Disregarding the common sense rule of "cut away from your body," the blade inevitably slipped and sliced at my left thigh. Through the miracle of Mister Freedom's Rider's Dungaree 14 ounce denim and Sugar Cane fibers, I made it out injury-free! I used crazy glue to control the fraying caused by the blade.

Not only are MFSC pieces some of the coolest out there, but they also save lives.

*Saving my life is a bit overkill, but I did escape a severe injury for sure =)
Notice the light circle mid-thigh (just below center line of the photo)

Photo source: Mister Freedom®
Photo source: Mister Freedom®

Friday, November 11, 2016


As an active duty Marine with almost twenty-two years of service, honoring our veterans is something near and dear to my heart. This year, I chose to honor their service to our country with a ten-mile run.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Commandant of the US Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller and Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green speak to Marines and sailors about the importance of reunions and staying connected.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


A pair of pristine 1893 Levi Strauss & Co. jeans that were stored for decades in a trunk will go up for auction soon and are expected to bring in tens of thousands of dollars. The jeans were ordered for Solomon Warner, a businessman and pioneer who participated in the creation of the Arizona Territory. Warner wore them only a few times before falling ill. He died in 1899.

It would be interesting to find out how much Levi's is willing to drop on this piece of history.

These are some BIG jeans!

A pair of 501s manufactured in the 1880s sold for $60,000 to a Japanese collector in 2005 and another pair, from 1888, sold six months ago for six figures.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016



Thanks for doing the blog. Its just awesome. At the moment I'm looking for a pair of what I'd call entry level engineer boots. To me this means something readily available and sub $500. I really dig the look of the Red Wing 2966, but I'm lost as to how to get a pair (I live in New York). Of additional concern to me is that I wear prescribed orthotic insoles which take up a lot of room in a boot. Being able to try on a pair in a brick and mortar store would be helpful. It seems like the Chippewa 1901M48 or Red Wing 2990 are the top contenders, but I'm assuming others are out there that I haven't come across yet. Which of these would you recommend, or are there other boots I should be considering?  Thanks so much for your help and service.


 Red Wing 2966

Hi Jeff, 

Thanks for the e-mail. I always enjoy reading how people are able to take something away from my blog. 

The Red Wing model 2966 is a must-have for any Engineer Boot enthusiast. Standard and Strange is the exclusive US retailer of this model, which fits within your budget of $500. They also have free shipping both ways, so you don't have to worry if they don't fit. It appears they have 8D, 10D and 10 1/2D in stock, but I'm told they will continue to restock if the demand is there.

I've been a fan of the Red Wing model 2990 ($319) for several years now and would have pulled the trigger long ago, but being a creature of habit I like to stick with something I'm familiar with and that's three bills that can be put toward my top 3 Engineer Boot models or some other traditional style Engineer. I suppose when I'm satisfied with my collection of traditional boots (not sure when that'll be), I'll purchase these boots. They are super comfortable with the low cork soles. 

Chippewa's M1901M48 ($340) is a nice looking boot, but the modern buckle leaves much to be desired. I'm quite disappointed in the company's decision to go this direction with such an integral part to this type of boot's appeal. I would spend the extra $60 and choose the 2966 without even thinking twice. 

The White's Nomad are a decent looking Engineer with a base retail price of $475 for their stock model. Customers can have them custom ordered, but  then you'll go a couple/few bills over your budget as well as experiencing the long wait. 

You can pick up a pair of in-stock or custom build Wesco Boss boots at Baker Shoe (as well as eBay) for under five bills 

I think those are the models worth mentioning that fit within your budget. Of the boots mentioned above, I would absolutely choose the Red Wing 2966.

I hope this helps. 


Thanks for the thoughtful response. I believe it was the day after I sent the initial email that you posted on Instagram about Standard and Strange. I immediately ordered a pair in what I believe to be the correct size 11d. They should be arriving today, and I've been told they may be able to get larger or smaller if needed.  I'll let you know how they work out.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Hi John,

Have you seen the 100th anniversary Horsehide Wesco boots? The Jobmaster and the Boss ... What do you think?

Is it worth the money they cost? Do you know if they are available on line outside Japan?

Thank you very much!

Best regards from Spain,
Photo: Wesco Japan

Hi M, 

I've been following these boots since the recent pre-order announcement and while you can't go wrong with a pair of Wesco Engineers, these boots seem to serve more as a celebratory offering of the company's centennial rather than a tribute to some early design. Having said that, I would be hard pressed to dish out ¥230,000 (or $2,200) for something I could have custom-built by Wesco for a third of this price. 

Sure, they wouldn't be made with Horsehide leather, but having owned my share of Horsehide boots I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. 

Photo: Wesco Japan

So far Japan is, and probably will be the only country offering them with a pre-order end date of 21 November 2016 and delivery date of October 2017.

Now, re-release the Horsehide Narrow Wesco Engineer Boots from 2010 that honors the company's period from the 1930's through 1950's with a few tweaks like brass hardware and #705 half-soles then they have my attention. 

Photo: Wesco Japan