Why Are So Few Leather Work Boots Made In The USA?
It's hard to find a quality pair of leather work boots that are made in the USA anymore. Almost anything, really. While that doesn't necessarily mean lesser quality in all cases - frankly, many products made overseas are just as good, if not better, than those made domestically - but quality work boots are not necessarily one of them.
What happened to this noble trade?
Custom Work Boots Require Specialized Labor But Mass-Market Ones Don't
Part and parcel to why it's harder to get custom work boots here in the USA is the demand for labor. You see, a pair of custom work boots require craftsmen of exceptional skill to construct them.
This is also why the highest-quality of leather fashion shoes are handmade, expensive, and typically only made in certain countries and you can just buy a new pair of Oxfords (and hopefully not brogues) in any department store.
Take our leather work boots, for example.
To complete construction, the vamp and upper have to be stretched and tacked onto the midsole. This takes specialized tools and also craftsmen that have acquired the skill over decades, along with our welting process of using the McKay lockstitch.
Our handmade boots can be resoled, and even rebuilt. This means that you could potentially have one pair of Nick's Boots that will last you the rest of your life...and possibly even be used by someone else after yours.
Granted, coming into contact with someone else's foot sweat is just weird, but some people like vintage stuff. People pay a lot of money for vintage Levi's and you have no idea what the previous owner did in those pants.
At a certain point, this also comes down to expense. Craftsmen with a special and rare skill, especially one that some might consider anachronistic - which is silly; good work of any sort is never obsolete - are hard to find and obviously have to be compensated accordingly.
Now, if your business is one of high volume, turning out hundreds of pairs of boots every day that are meant to be replaced rather than maintained...why bother? You don't need to worry about resoling or rebuilding them, and simply gluing a sole onto a boot is easier than a complicated welt like a Goodyear or McKay welt.
In short, bootmakers that deal in high volume have a need to streamline production and to keep costs low. Thus, they can turn out massive volumes of product overseas that can just be thrown away and a new model purchased.
That's why it's so hard to find decent work boots that are made in the USA.
Handmade Leather Boots Are An Investment
Some people don't need the utmost from their footwear; handmade leather boots aren't necessarily a priority for them because they only use them in winter, don't work on their feet and in general, don't have to worry much about the boots they wear.
However, other people do.
Wildland firefighters, loggers, linesman and other tradespeople that are on their feet for their entire workday, on the other hand, DO need the utmost in performance from their footwear. They need work boots that can stand up to the rigors of their labor, keeping their feet safe and keeping the wearer free from injury or discomfort.
This is why there is a need for a handmade, custom leather work boot from Nick's Boots as well as others.
Firefighter boots and other hard-working footwear are our stock-in-trade. We make hard-working boots that thousands of wildland firefighters, loggers, linesman, and other tradespersons have found deliver what they need. Perfect support and comfort for long days spent on one's feet, on hard surfaces and the uneven terrain of the mountainside or the foreground.
If you have a tough trade and need a pair of boots that can stand up to the punishment, contact us for a consultation, or - if in the area - stop by our showroom! We can even fit you in person for a pair of Nick's Boots.