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  • Oak Street Bootmakers - Damn Good Boots and Shoes from Chicago, IL
  • Christopher Pickings

Oak Street Bootmakers - Damn Good Boots and Shoes from Chicago, IL

The Americans really do make good boots. It probably has a whole lot to do with their industries, terrain, size and huge growth from settlers colony to capitalist superpower, but let's not get into that side of things just now... we'll concentrate on the subject at hand - well made footwear.
Oak Street Bootmakers - New and Old
We carry a few American footwear brands at our small store here in Melbourne, but amongst the finest in our stable is Chicago, IL based Oak Street Bootmakers. Oak Street are an infant in comparison to Wolverine and Red Wing, having only
established in 2010, but the craftsmanship and wealth of history behind them is
rarely matched and definitely worth a few words on our news page.
Where it all started: George Vlagos is the son of John, a Greek emigrant who moved to
the US and worked his whole life as a cobbler. George would work shining shoes at the shop on a Saturday and watch as his father would almost rebuild shoes that came in for repair.
 Oak Street Bootmakers at Independence Chicago
Why? After completing a university education George noticed a general decline in the quality of American shoemaking, in particular the lack of replaceable outsoles, rendering a pair of shoes irreparable past their first lifetime. All Oak Street boots and shoes come with a replaceable outsole, to ensure they last you the distance repair after repair.
The leather: George searched all over the world looking for high quality leathers for his shoes, only to find the best leather on his doorstep in the form of Chicago's Horween leather.
Hides at the Horween Tannery, Chicago, IL

Why is it the best? It takes nearly a month to make, undergoes 89 processes and
goes through all five floors of the Horween Tannery. A combination of beef tallow (fat) beeswax, marine oil, chrome salts, tree bark and natural dye are amongst the many things added to produce the beautifully strong, supple leather that each Oak Street pair of shoes utilises. (Look out for a full post about the Horween Tannery a little further down the track, folks!)
The team of shoemakers George works with from Maine (renowned boot makers)
and elsewhere all have over two decades of experience. They hand make and finish
each shoe with George giving the final inspection for every pair produced.
So, that gives you a brief rundown on Oak Street Bootmakers and their place on our shelves. We currently have the incredibly popular Trench Boot and the relatively new Summit Boot in stock here at the store.
The Trench Boot is done in natural waxed flesh Howreen Chromexcel leather. This 'waxed flesh' utilises the soft CXL leather's back side, which is waxed to smooth out the rough appearance. The smooth side, usually seen on the outside of the boot, ends up on the inside, which makes them incredibly comfortable to wear.
Oak Street Bootmakers, Waxed Flesh Trench Boot
The Summit Boot is a different beast altogether and has been garnering a lot of attention so far. Based on a mountaineering style, this has hand rivets d-ring eyelets, it's fully lined with calf skin, fully gusseted at the tongue, fitted with a commando sole, leather heel stack and commando top-lift - basically it's the bee's knees!
Oak Street Bootmakers Summit Boot - Black CXL
  • Christopher Pickings