The last batch was a complete tragedy. The sizing chart that our dealer had been using for 21 years was inaccurate, and I was left with about 150 orders I had to individually fix with customers.
This batch is different. We’ve done all the legwork ourselves this time. Three months of boot experience and research have gone into providing you with the most comprehensive presentation possible.
We are now selling three conditions of boots, and have assembled photo cards for each. We also insist you follow the links to our blog under “Boot Care and Refurbishment”. There you should find photo guides to cleaning and repairing any boot. The level of restoration possible with a small collection of supplies is astounding.
The goal is not only to supply you guys with great boots, but to empower you with the knowledge to get the most out of your boots. Take good care of them, and they should last you for many years. Even past a decade, as some of them already have.
- 2mm thick leather, full grain cow hide
- All black, easy to shine and polish, hides dirt and stains
- 10" tall, coving and supporting the entire ankle
- Ten eyelets, and eight grommets on each boot
- Metzeler sole insert included. (Ivan advises you replace this, it's pretty old, and may have the imprint of another guys foot on it)
- Vibram soles
Recommended Aesthetic and Functional Practices
Your boots may, or may not arrive with insoles. If they do, it will likely be worn and old. You should consider replacing it before you begin breaking your boots in, or wearing them more than casually.
Breaking In Your Boots
Generally speaking, these Austrian Paratrooper boots have already seen some use. This does mean that the leather is not as stiff as new boot, but a "breaking in" period is recommended.
To break in your boots, wear them as often as possible over a one to two week period of regular activity (think grocery store trips, not hiking trips.) Use good, full length wool socks, and take note if you feel any "hot spots" while walking around. Friction between your foot and the boot is what causes blisters, and breaking in your boots should help with this.
If hot spots persist, silk or synthetic "liner socks" (worn under your wool ones) are a cheap and easy way to protect your feet. They are freely available at most outdoors stores.
It is of Ivan's opinion that tying your boots with a speed lacing method is superior to that of any external bow or knot.
It looks cleaner while minimizing the chance that you will trip, get your boots stuck, or have them come untied because you use a granny knot like a child.
There is an assortment of different speed lacing methods that will have these three attributes in common.
1. Very long laces. (The excess in lace is necessary. If your boots come with normal size laces, consider investing in longer laces.
2. At least one full wrap of lace around the ankle
3. Tucking all excess lace deep inside the boot
This batch of boots comes with laces that are a little too short for most conventional speedlacing (it is still very possible if you copy the way it is laced in the photos, however it is not as sturdy as it could be).
We will try to include a pair of long laces from a batch of battered boots with as many orders as we can. No guarantees we have enough however. It's a convenient thing laces are inexpensive.
Blousing and Tucking Your Trousers
If you are not going to tuck in your trousers when you tie your boots, and you are wearing baggy pants, I recommend investing in elastic blousing garters / "boot bands".
It will look cleaner, and help keep the cuffs of your trousers out of the way.
Basic repair and maintenance for leather boots is very easy and inexpensive, I have created a photo guide of the barebones basics on our blog. The goal of this guide is to introduce every step you need to get Grade 1&2 boots up and running and keep them that way. No fancy tricks or boring conjecture. All with a low budget approach with minimal supplies.
I have contained everything into four steps. Follow all steps relevant to your boots in chronological order. All these steps are hyperlinked. Simply click on a step to be directed to the guide.
Walk into any store that sells shoes and ask to have BOTH your feet measured.
If you find one foot is wider than the other, get that size, and force the habit of leaning on the smaller foot when standing still.
If you plan to wear your boots with a thick insole and medium/thick socks, buy one size bigger.
For those with wide feet, you will have to follow your general style of fitting into normal shoes. For reference, a size 10.5 EE wide foot fits best in a size 12 shoe with an arch based insert. Flat feet or not, it is important to have an insert with a raised arch. The knuckles of your foot widen under your own weight. Displacing weight off that part of your foot will make it more comfortable.
The break-in period may be a little uncomfortable at first for wide feet, but the sides should stretch in time. If they do not improve after a month, reach out to us for a possible exchange.
Shoe sizing over the Internet can be a little more finicky than clothing.
If you are unhappy with your boot's size, and would like to exchange for a different size, ship it back to us, and we will pay for shipping the 1st replacement.
These boots come in three conditions.
- Grade 1 - Great Condition - Collector's/Great
- Grade 2 - Needs refurbishment - Good/Serviceable
- Grade 3 - Unserviceable - Battle-damaged
95% of all boots have an x written in gray marker on the toe of the boot. These will wear off over time, or you can wash it off immediately with a toothbrush and water.(see Boot Care and Refurbishment)
Some boots also have hole-punched tongues, and sometimes grommets high up on the inside of the ankle. These are clean and should not affect any functional or aesthetical problems when wearing the boot. The hole punch on the tongue is high up by the tag, and not visible when the boot is laced. The ankle grommets are at the same height, and allow you to easily tie the boots together to hang them up to dry, or store them away.
Grade 1 is the condition we sold all previous boots in. They are great condition and should have no damage that you wouldn’t already gain from wearing them for a week. Any scratches, scuffing, or dirt is superficial, and will clean up nicely with both regular use and following our boot care guide.
Grade 2 boots have one or more features of moderate damage. The boot is still completely serviceable, but requires refurbishment. It is possible to refurbish most grade 2 boots to 90-95% condition. These boots are the main reason we have put much effort into our boot care guides. The amount of value you can restore is well worth the supplies and effort.
Grade 3 boots are essentially broken or damaged beyond repair in some manner. You may have to replace entire parts in order to restore these to full function. With advanced cobbling skills, some boots could be saved and still put to use, but some may be beyond saving.