Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘Footwear’

Trot Moc – the back to nature shoe

June 12th, 2017

It’s great to see heritage footwear brands like Thorogood motoring forward with new models and vintage reissues.

Fun fact: Weinbrenner/Thorogood  made boots for CC Filson in the 1990s. And when Archival started, we met with Thorogood to discuss a possible collaboration. That project never materialized, but here’s a variation on an oxford I wish we had released:

Andrea Cesari, sewing savant and pattern historian, unearthed info on another US footwear company lost to time: Trot Moc. Trot Mocs were made by the Ashby Crawford Company of Marlborough, Mass, whose ads pitch the shoes to men, women, and children in the pages of mainstream publications like Saturday Evening PostOutside and Ladies Home Journal in the 1910s. Like all our fave heritage footwear examples, Trot Mocs were handsewn, goodyear welted, and made from “tough and long wearing” tanned leather.

Since visuals of Trot Mocs are limited to a few scarce catalogs and scratchy, microfilmed magazine reprints, here is a verbal description of Trot Mocs: “The toe is plain, without cap or stiffening, and since the shoe is made on Blucher lines, a perfect adjustment can be made by lacing. The soles and heels are fitted with steel grippers which are rivetted through so they cannot hurt the foot. The shoe is unlined.”

In the absence of Nike and New Balance, Ashby Crawford marketed Trot Mocs as everyday wear, perfect for sport, play, and vacation (in ads, the shoe is billed as the “national play shoe” and the “back to nature shoe”).

But here’s what I love most about Trot Mocs: each pair came with a cast metal stick pin:



Archival Review: Thorogood Boots

August 11th, 2010

We’ve been working with Weinbrenner, the parent company of Thorogood, to digitize some of their company archives. There’s some tremendous material in there. We’d love to have the power to just point at a few boot examples and have them re-issued (we’re working on it). Click to enlarge these great scans.

Of course, the Japanese are already on it.

Apparently the Roofer boot (above, still available) is very popular over there, and here’s a vintage boot in a recent issue of GO OUT STYLE.

Until we can have pristine reproductions of historical Thorogood boots, we’ll have to make do with their present-day offerings (which include some work boots and shoes which can be sized for women). Unfortunately, most of Thorogood’s line is… very technical, using more ballistic nylon and SWAT aesthetics than full grain leather and low-profile soles. Weinbrenner manufactured shoes and boots for CC Filson so we’re confident in their capacity to execute more archival styles. I’m pleased to report that their 6″ Moc Toe is completely worthy of its heritage. My pair have excelled in every way.

They’re made in Weinbrenner’s factory in Merrill, Wisconsin, from American-tanned leather. The worksmanship is tidy, although the star rivets holding the speed lacing studs on have sharp ends (but that’s only noticeable when you pull the double tongue apart).

They came with decent stock insoles, although I swapped them out for my favorite Filson cork insoles. They broke in within a month and are now very comfortable. I like the Vibram wedge soles better than other wedge soles, they seem to have better traction on wet surfaces. I’m not wild about the blingy MADE IN USA tag on the outside of the boot, but that’s easy to solve with 30 seconds and a knife.

Available in an endless variety of widths and sizes, down to 6 and up to 14. All this is to say – they’re basically Red Wing killers, and for $130, they’re pretty much half the price. Get some for this fall and winter.

Archival Tennis

April 16th, 2010

Once Spring randonneuring season is over I’ll be switching over to tennis as my preferred archival sport. Tennis is great because it only requires two to play and even if you have no formal training there’s a good chance you’ll get the ball over the net (who cares about line calls). Fortunately for me, most of my friends have at least rudimentary, P.E. class level ability (although one is a transfer student from the more hoi toi toi sport of squash). We chatter and bat the ball back and forth in the outdoors.

It’s easy to shop from the past for tennis equipment and apparel. I have a robust, thrift store collection of wooden rackets including favorite signature models by Chris Evert and Jack Kramer. My own embarrassing racket of choice during my teen tennis “career” was an over sized Prince woodie.

Mandatory equipment

The best part of tennis is the footwear. There are many vintage styles still in production including tennis white models by Jack Purcell, Tretorn and PF Flyers. My own preference is for these classic “elastique” tennis flats and lace ups from Bensimon. Since I’m not seriously running after balls, I’m fine wearing slip-ons on the court.

Bensimon Elastique Tennis Flats

Friend Lynn is on the hunt for more modern, functional tennis apparel. She found this company, DTL fitness, selling high performance, US made tennis clothing for women.

Tennis playing gents need only model their spring wardrobes after McLoughlin and Rice.

Archival Field Trip: PDX November 2009

November 15th, 2009

by Lesli Larson

My plan for Saturday was to double-check Danner Japan inventory and attend the first anniversary party for the Filson flagship store in Portland. But an unexpected, out-of-town guest rerouted our shopping itinerary more towards women’s footwear and work wardrobes (not to be confused with workwear).

Fortunately, I was able to negotiate a quick stop at Winn Perry to say hello to Jordan and see his new Alden for Winn Perry boots (the oiled leather “little tanks”). Here’s a spot inventory of some of the (not necessarily archival) items I saw on Saturday.


S.N.S-Herning knit cap
Alden plain toe boot in reverse chamois leather

plantation crepe soles with leather tips
Laura Irwin knit hats for Winn Perry

Sterlingwear pea coats

Alden longwings for Winn Perry

Oiled, double leather soles

SNS-Herning sweater (still awaiting sizing for women)

Vintage “Office Valet”

the Hill-Side selvedge chambray scarves

Pendleton reversible jacket for Opening Ceremony


Sendra from Spain (last pair in the shop)

Fiorentini + Baker (what the guest bought)

Costume National shoes (50% off)


Shawl collar proliferation

Downtown Field jacket (Barbour simulacra)

Waxed carry-all (interesting dimensions and external pocketing)


Not available for retail: Red Wing Lifestyle Heritage Series boots (in sizes smaller than 7)

November 30th, 2008

Spotted these classic looking Red Wing “Gentleman Traveler” boots at Baker’s Boots and Clothing in Eugene, Oregon. The boots are part of the Red Wing Heritage Lifestyle Range. As soon as we saw the boots, Tom and I devised a plan to bank loose quarters in a jar to fund a few pairs (figuring that the slo-motion accrual of small change would be fine since this boot style would most likely stay in the Red Wing product range for years to come). As it turns out, the boots do not come in my size ( smaller than size 7), so I’m preempting my savings plan and disavowing my connection to the heritage lifestyle movement.

Today, both Tom and Eric were wearing great old true-use work boots which pretty much negated their need for future work boot purchases.

Eric’s Red Wing work boots (work well for standing on concrete)

Tom’s Gokey Chukkas (garage sale purchase)

Archival Gent: Bob Lee

November 29th, 2008

I could be wrong but I think Bob Lee, Safari outfitter and shoulder bag tycooon, may have passed away. Uncertainty about Mr. Lee’s age seems appropriate since he never aged in a thirty year span of appearances in his namesake catalog, Bob Lee’s Hunting World.

In every Hunting World catalog I own, Mr. Lee is shown dressed in beautifully tailored outdoor clothing (w/seasonal variations), riding a camel on a conservation expedition in the the Chinese Pamirs or shooting clay birds with the Duke of Valderano.

In some ways, HW seems to be a lost brand now that Bob is no longer around to curate and control the company’s product offerings.

From an early, HW catalog: “Mr Lee designs for function first, believing the aesthetics will follow. He tests his gear personally and also equips others who are going into the field, asking for their feedback. After all, if a bag can withstand rugged conditions in the field, it can easily cope with the rigors of Tokyo, New York or Paris.”

Last time I checked the Hunting World website, I was surprised by all the tacky shoulder bag offerings in styles and patterns with names like medallic tweed, mystical shade and encompass jacquard. Many of the core shoulder bags–the battue carry-all and Safari Today line–have disappeared from view.

Archival Footwear: Traditional Leather Touring Shoes

November 25th, 2008

Carnac Forclaz (discontinued)

Vintage leather cycling shoes (anon.)

ExIT cycling shoes by Jeff Mandel

Bata bikers (discontinued)

Sidi leather touring shoes (discontinued)

Bata “badminton” shoes (discontinued)

If I had to design my own line of footwear–I’d repurpose leather cycling shoes and advise folks to wear cushioning insoles. At the Oregon Manifest handbuilt bike show, I noted a number of people sporting Sidi Dominators with knickers or straight street clothing. In short, the Sidis were doubling as daily wingtips or casual sneakers.

For daily wear, my preference is for a more simplified leather (not Lorica) cycling shoe, preferably with perforations, silver metal eyelets and a nice rolling or wrap around rubber sole.

For cycling specific use, I like the look of Stelvio shoes or Reynolds shoes. Both brands are still available for sale (though hurry–no brand seems to have image permanence these days).

Bike Portland ran an article on Jeff Mandel, a custom shoe maker who is now making both leather cycling shoes and saddles. If my ship comes, I’ll be ordering a pair of Jeff’s cycling shoes with that amazing red sole (adding in a special request for silver eyelets).

Just saw these great custom cycling shoes by Riotgeer Design.

Distant admiration: Limmer boots

November 25th, 2008

I seem to be in a state of boot and heavy duty shoe envy at the moment. In Portland, I spied a gent in a full new union suit: Filson tin cloth jacket, Levi 501s and Red Wing boots. Though this look is popular in certain online pockets of the world, Portland guys seem to be sticking to peacoats or black nylon jackets, dark denim or cargo pants and (sometimes) designer sneakers. The Filson gent lingered long enough for me to admire his boots and attempt a (failed) spy shot.

The Red Wing sighting prompted me to ask a salesman as a local workwear store about the availability of Red Wings in the area. He commented on the fact that distribution issues have made Red Wing more scarce in the Northwest although he did remember a Red Wing store located “somewhere out near Oregon City.”

I have longterm list of footwear wants. Red Wings are pretty low on the list at the moment (despite distant admiration) since I’m assuming that they won’t be offering work boots for women and probably do not have a customizing option. However, I keep forgetting, remembering and than moving Limmer boots to the near top of my list. I’ve always loved the look of lace-up mountaineering boots and Limmer is the kind of company that requires you to send in a paper sketch of your foot in order to be sized for their boots. For that reason alone, everyone should purchase a pair.

Distant admiration: Patina brand boots

November 19th, 2008

Saw this blog post about some beautiful boots to be sold by Patina, a soon-to-be-opening shoe store in San Francisco. Every style works for me save for the model with the ankle zipper (!). Any ideas about who is making these for Patina? The boots remind me of the old Chippewa Engineer type boots offered through LL Bean. No threat of expenditure here since I’m certain customization will not extend to sizing boots for those with petite (sub size 7) feet.