Sunday, January 9, 2011

Made in USA: Chippewa Boots

I've been looking for a pair of boots for quite a while, since that time I finally got the cleanout valve loose down in my basement and the last pair got drenched with... well, nevermind. They went straight to the garbage can.

I've sure missed having a good pair of boots. But I never got further with finding a new pair than looking in stores now and then on my way to buy something else. I could find no boots made in USA, so I kept going without.

Finally I got online some time ago and found that Chippewa still makes boots in the USA. So I got in the car and headed out to the local retailer, only to find that the Chippewa boots they carried were NOT made in the U.S. Chippewa, like many fashion retailers, mixes its sourcing. Moral: Don't assume that just because a brand has an American name or projects an American image, that anything or everything it makes is made in USA.

So, it was back to the drawing board. On days when I really felt the need for boots I was tempted just to go by some regardless of origin. But I found a site called Boots99 that was the perfect answer. They carry several brands including Chippewa and have a big selection. I chose a model, placed an order, and included a comment on the order that I wanted to make sure the boots were made in USA.

I was pleasantly surprised to get a note back from Lee Schulz at Boots99 informing me that the boots I had chosen were again NOT made in USA. He gave me good suggestions for choosing from other models that were marked specifically "Handcrafted in USA." The boots I chose are pictured above. They are #20065, described as 6" soft toe laceups.

They're great! They are comfortable, give good support, and they don't get too warm when I'm wearing them in the office yet provide plenty of warmth in the cold and snow we've had this year. And notice the great little American flag that rides in the shoe string. I get lots of comment on that. And it's a great way to launch into a discussion about the importance of made in USA.

Go buy you a pair. Boots99.com.

2 comments:

  1. i love the 20085 one. Really want to have it so badly. But they dont ship internationally...

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  2. Redwing still makes about half of their product line here. They're pricey (>$200) but my last pair -which I bought used (very worn too) for .25 cents at a volunteer fire station, lasted ten years.

    The interesting thing about the split btwn Redwing's domestic vs outsourced line, is that it is clear where the value is. The outsourced line is half the cost of domestic but the leather isn't as heavy and they can't be re-soled.

    I wish I'd known you'd been blogging before now. Now I just feel out of the loop :).

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