Cordovan Wingtips

A few things of good quality, by Chris Baus

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The death of a shoe

Alden Saddle

Alden cordovan shoes have the reputation of being indestructible. While they are very durable shoes that can be resoled, they will eventually wear out. While Alden sales people will commonly say a pair of cordovan shoes will last 20 years, I think that would only happen with light use.

I bought this pair of saddle shoes used on Ebay. They already had quite a bit of wear when I started using them as my go to dress shoes. After a couple hard years on the road, they are ready to be retired. The shoes are still in surprisingly good condition, but the cordovan has cracked along one side of the welting, and the stitching is starting to pull out. I brought them to a couple different cobblers and both declined trying to repair them.

I don’t think the previous owner took great care of the shoes, and the cordovan was pretty dried out when I received them. I tried to bring them back as...

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Danner Mountain Light Classic Hiking Boot: short term review

After seeing a pair of Danner boots in the Tanner Goods store on a recent trip to Portland, OR, I immediately went down the street to the flag ship Danner store and made an impulse buy on a pair of Mountain Lights. I justified the purchase by telling myself that I really needed a pair of vintage style hiking boots for my day hikes around Tahoe. In reality I was sold on the style, which I love.

Danner Mountain Light

I’ve wanted a spiritual replacement of the classic Vasque Sundowner hiking boots. Vasque still makes the Sundowner, but from everything I’ve read, the Chinese copy doesn’t match the quality of the original Italian made boots I remember so fondly from college. I’m not a big fan of the sneaker-like footwear with glued on soles that are often passed off as boots these days, but these Danners are a pretty decent replacement for the Vasques. In fact after doing some...

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Red Wing Iron Ranger in Hawthorne

The Red Wing Iron Ranger, which is part of their U.S. made Heritage collection, is a boot that is popular with the street wear and denim community.

I purchased this pair a couple years back, but didn’t wear them heavily until the past 6 months. When I received them, I was skeptical of their unlined build quality with some less than straight cuts and their comfort. As they break in they do become a comfortable boot that you can wear all day even in relatively warm temperatures. The variations in sewing and cuts become less notable with age. With that said, they do not meet the quality benchmark that Alden sets for U.S. boot makers.

The cork soles are bomb proof, and mine are no where near needing to be resoled even after some hard wear. But they are down right dangerous in winter conditions. If you live in a snowy climate, this is not a good option for a winter boot, and I...

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