Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘boots’

Shopping from 1946: Field & Stream

February 22nd, 2010
Congress Sportswear

Masland Sportman’s Clothes

On a November run up to The Rain Shed for closed cell foam and cordage, Tom picked up this 1946 Field & Stream from a thrift shop. In a future post, I’ll showcase F & S advertisements from familiar “living” US brands like Pendleton, Gokey, Filson and Eddie Bauer. Today, I want to highlight a few forgotten outdoor clothing companies like Congress and Masland Sportman’s Clothes. US-made outdoor clothing has been reduced to a few well-known, premium priced brands (and aggravatingly, Japan-only reissues). But, the 1946 Field & Stream offers a robust selection of outdoor clothing with an emphasis on quality components, sturdy fabrics, tailored fit, good value and regional (not national) manufacturing. And of course, I love the generous selection of apparel for women (stream jacket, please).

A few more examples via flickr.

R.C. Nichols Corp.


Red Head Brand Co.

Archer Rubber Co.

Scotty Kote

Bancroft Cap Co.

Ripon Knitting Works

Dave Cook Sporting Goods Co.

Bone Dry Shoe Mfg Co.

Archival dress code for your next canoe trip:

Archival Field Trip: The Field House

November 26th, 2009

by Lesli Larson and Sara Tripodi

The opening of The Field House, Blackbird’s newest Ballard store, has already been well documented. Here are a few sample reports: We Are the Market; Blackbird’s own blog; SLAMXHYPE; Inventory; Secret Forts; Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.

We stopped by for our own visit last Saturday. We were curious to see owner Nicole Miller’s modern take on the general store. True to concept, The Field House had on offer squash, canned tuna, milk and chocolate, with eggs soon to come. The focus, however, was on clothing, and many familiar heritage brands were in evidence: Alden, Quoddy, Billykirk, Fjallraven, Filson, Pendleton and Woolrich. The shop also carries another prominent American clothing brand which we were asked not to photograph.

Unique among boutiques that carry these brands, The Field House offers clothing for women. I tried on a nice, vintage-style, blue wool jacket by John Rich Bros. for Woolrich. Sara liked a RVCA poplin shirt. The shop has a good selection of wool tops for women as well as a Filson garment or two. At the time of our visit, there were no Alden equivalent shoes for women. But they did have some sporty Tretorn lace-up boots.

After The Field House, we dropped in on Blackbird and Birgitta. The highlight of our visit was our conversation with owner Nicole who is a true evangelist for heritage brands for women. She gets that there is a need for classic pieces designed and sized for women. We are very excited about her future offerings.

Heritage clothing for women

Wool for gents




Bits and sundries

Local foodstuffs

Window display

Around the corner at Blackbird

Shopping from MacRostie Leathers

November 11th, 2009

By Tom Bonamici

Macrostie product literature

LL’s MacRostie Oxford

Honestly, the story of shoemaking in the upper Midwest would probably be best dealt with in a Steven Sondheim musical (à la Assassins), given the number of companies that have come and gone, the takeovers, the outrage.

Mr. Sondheim being do doubt occupied, I’ll just describe one of the minor players of the arena. Macrostie Leathers of Spring Lake, MN is the descendant of the famous Gokey Company, the first shoe company to put a hard sole on a moccasin. Elaine and Lyle Macrosite comprise the whole of the firm, and thanks to Lyle’s apprenticeship at Gokey, they can make some of the finest shoes in the States.



MacRostie Hard-Soled Moccasin

Highland Handmade Boots

While I don’t own a pair of Macrostie shoes, I do have a pair of original Gokey Sauvage Hikers. I bought them at a yard sale for $5, and they fit perfectly from day one.

Tom’s original Gokey Sauvage Hikers

Orvis makes a version of this shoe, but if you have the time and money to spare, why not order a pair from Elaine and Lyle?

MacRostie Town and Country Shoe

Since I’ve got a pair already, I’d be tempted to order the Mountain Climber, which resembles my favorite boot from WC Russell, identically named.

MacRostie Mountain Climber

If you’re as swoony over Macrostie Leather’s products as we are, order soon.

LL’s notes: I own a pair of the Lace-up Oxfords and Hard-Soled Moccasins. After years of wear, both pairs are ready for the resoling and refurbishing services offered by MacRostie.

Although I found MacRostie on the internet (searching for old Gokeys), my relationship with the company feels very old timey. I look forward to sending my shoes off to MacRostie just to revive my correspondence with Elaine who updates me on the state of handmade bootmaking in the US.

I’ve emailed Elaine about a possible future order for a pair of custom boots 8″ lace-up boots similar to the Highland Lace-up.

Elaine has cautioned that I place my order sooner rather than later since the MacRostie duo is contemplating retirement (handmade shoe and bootmaking is hard on the hands and body).

If you like Russell moccasins but want to support a smaller, top quality, two person shop, give Elaine a call and start working on your foot tracings.

Some examples of some additional MacRostie special order boots:

Highland Handmade Special Order

Bunny Stomper Boots

London Puddle Stompers

MacRostie shoe and boot photos courtesy MacRostie Leathers website.

Please send me links to photographs of your own MacRostie custom shoes or boots.

Danner Factory Store Revisited

November 9th, 2009

Danner Mtn Lites (Japan model on left, stock US model on right)

DJ Dakatons in orchid and green

1970s era Danner refurb (nfs)

Aspirational footwear via Ku:nel magazine

On Sunday, to cap off a long day at Ikea, we visited the Danner Factory Store in Portland, Oregon. A Restless Transplant and I have already reported on the DFS. In essence, if you show up at the right time, you’ll find factory seconds from the Japan-only Danner Japan (“DJ”) collection mixed in with standard issue military, law enforcement and fire jumper boots.

We intended to spend only a few minutes looking, but for once there were boots in our sizes. The store closed and we lingered, trying to decide between the various models. One of us is now the proud owner of a pair of Horween chromexel DJ Mountain LT.

I may be returning to the Danner store next weekend (11/14). So, if you’re dead certain of your Danner size, and fall in the available size range (Women’s 5-6.5, and some larger sizes; Men’s 6-10, 12-15), I may be able to help connect you with a pair of these amazing boots. Email me and we can talk.

In turn, if you stop by the store, keep an eye out for men’s size 6 (euro 39) DJ Mountain Lights in this colorway. I’m also stalking these styles (yet to been seen at the DFS).

Archival Footwear: Filson Boots and Shoes

August 8th, 2009

Red Wing Heritage boots @ Portland Filson Flagship Store

Filson leather and twill boots (Roberts Supply)

Recent Filson Offerings

Red Wing Heritage Boots @ Portland Filson Flagship Store
I’ve been requesting that Filson offer footwear for women since the line was introduced in the 1990s. Though Filson customer service folks acknowledge the demand, they’ve yet to offer any styles in sizes small enough to fit women (same lament for Red Wing’s heritage line).
Each time I hear a rumor that Filson will be changing footwear vendors, I hold out hope that the new shoes and boots will come in a broader range of sizes and feature models for women (2010?). Optimistically, I imagine that Filson might even consider partnering with a company like Red Wing given the presence of the Red Wing heritage boots in the Portland Filson flagship store (a stylistic mesh that works really well). Alas, it appears like the recently revised Filson footwear line features the same staple styles in the same fixed sizes. I’m also sorry to see that Filson dropped the the boots w/twill finish fabric panels. I really loved how the twill fabric tied the boots back to the original line of Filson luggage (something I imagine would be revised in a future brand remix project). I’m also sorry to see the Filson Upland Loafer disappear. This style came closest to matching my dream outdoor shoe: the Abercrombie and Fitch “camp slipper” highlighted in an April 09 blog post by Little Log Cabin:

Upland Loafer (discontinued)

Russell Camp Slipper (courtesy Little Log Cabin)

Addendum: Nice Filson footwear remains for folks in the golden size range (I’d be bankrupt if I could actually size into Filson shoes…or some of those new Outfitter jackets). Here are some hypothetical footwear vendors with whom I could see Filson partnering:

Gokey footwear catalog courtesy Little Log Cabin

Archival Salvage: Filson Semi-Annual Sale

January 31st, 2009

Filson Tin Waterfowl/Upland Coat

Tin Cloth Carpenter Pants
Alaskan Long John Zip-Neck

Upland Wellington Boot
Filson sent out an email today announcing a semi-annual sale. Since Filson never puts regular stock items on sale (try a web search sometime), one can assume that these “sale” items are actually going to be discontinued from the main product line (if only in oddball, big-tall sizes, or in specific colors). I’m highlighting a few sale items of note and one edition to the category Why Was It Made?

Filson Time Manager

Archival Field Trip: Danner Factory Store

January 11th, 2009

Thanks to Foster H. of A Restless Transplant for blogging about the Danner factory store. After reading Foster’s post, A Trip to the Danner store, I immediately planned my own follow-up field trip. My main motivation was to see (if not purchase) some of the Japan-only styles that Foster documented in his blog.

At the factory store, I was hoping for more ah-ha moments of shopping from Japan (by way of Airport Way in Portland). The DJ (Danner Japan) models are mixed in with forestry, utility and hot weather military boots. It’s fun to hunt for the DJ models amidst the more boring, US only boot and shoe options. While Sara tried on some two-toned Super Rainforest 8″ boots, I got sidetracked by a “the making of” Danner boots industrial film (footage of folks chalking up stacks of leather hides to indicate quality levels, etc).

The one DJ model I did find in my size was a variation on the Danner Mountain Light II Hikers in a tan, roughout leather w/a white crepe sole. Though the boots fit OK, they felt pretty blocky when I actually tried to walk forward (like wearing boots made out of legos). For the same price point, I’d prefer 6″ Red Wings, or better yet, customized, “My Danner” boots based on the vintage models on display in the main reception area.

Next Archival Fieldtrip: Danner factory tour!

Brand Admiration: Le Chameau

January 7th, 2009

Last month, blog reader Shepard G., wrote me about his brand preference for Le Chameau, a French boot-maker and outdoor clothing company. Shep has been looking for a U.S. stockist for Le Chameau clothing. But like most Archival brands, Le Chameau is gradually disappearing from view. He writes:

I really like the Le Chameau clothing ‘look’, much more so than Barbour or even Filson. I found a UK site, Swillington Shooting & Stable Supplies, which carries the clothing, but most of the ‘good’ items appear to be sold out. I’d rather order from the US in order to get better prices and avoid horrendous shipping from the UK, but it doesn’t seem that there are any US clothing retailers selling LeC. I remember when I first became interested in the brand a few years ago, they were going to have a website based in Colorado to sell the clothing in the US, but I guess the horrible US-Euro exchange rate killed that. C’est dommage.

Like Shep, I’ve always admired the look of Le Chameau’s beautiful, leather lined Chasseur field boots and Nairobi, 6″ ankle boots (discontinued). But other than the boots (and a snappy corduroy blazer I once saw at Upland Trading Co.), I’ve pretty much ignored Le Chameau’s clothing offerings because they employ so many technical fabrics like fleece, cordura and gore-tex.

Shep’s email, however, prompted me to review current clothing offerings by Le Chameau from UK stockists and Sierra Trading Post. I’ve posted a few images of some more traditional, country clothing type items (in tweeds and corduroys) I might actually regret not buying ten years from now:

Le Chameau window display, Frankfurt, Germany

Shep was kind enough to take a photo of his personal Le Chameau inventory for the blog. He notes:

The boots are the entry level All Tracks (bought for $80 a few years ago – I could never justify spending $400 for the Chasseurs). I got the boot bag from a local store specializing in upscale hunting/fishing gear that has since shut down. I keep the boots in my truck for emergencies and usually wear them once or twice a year deer hunting. Probably will wear the boots this weekend on a birdwatching excursion with a friend. The migration is in full swing here, and hope to see some geese. I bought the quilted equestrian jacket a few years ago from the Le Chameau website in Colorado (since shut down). Fun thing to wear around town and to Christmas parties. And the aforementioned scarf, which I wear frequently on cold days.

Shep’s personal Le Chameau inventory

Shep was also kind enough to forward along a few links to some to his favorite Eurpoean hunting and country clothing sites: