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The sneaker and welted footwear worlds are (very slowly) colliding, and Rory Fortune is smack in the middle of the two In 2019, Rory and his wife Lauren set up shop in LA's design district to open Goods & Services, a half cobbler shop / half sneaker customization pacesetter. Custom resoles—often accomplished via the tricky process of converting cem…
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In one of our favorite—and certainly the most sprawling—Shoecast episodes to date, Ben chats with Elizabeth Semmelhack, director and curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada. Which I believe is safe to say—thanks to more than 15,000 shoes, boots, and related artifacts covering 4,500 years of human history—is the world’s preeminent dedicat…
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Sagara head man Bagus Satrio is one of my favorite people in the whole bootmaking game. I absolutely love the work he and his team do—his Cordmasters need to be at or near the top of ANYONE’S best monkey boots ranking—and he’s just a hugely interesting and wonderful man. Sagara’s almost 15 years deep doing exceptional work, and about a half decade …
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Back in the 2010s, Ken Diamond had a booming moccasin business in Vancouver—celebrities wore his shoes, which also secured a hallowed spot on the shelves of Istetan, the Tokyo department store that's home to likely the world's great shoe selection. But at the brand's peak, a bit burned out and seeking something fresh, Ken bailed on it all. Today, 1…
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Alden Madison is one of the essential New York City shoe stores, stocking and selling more Alden shoes and boots than likely anywhere else in the world. This week, Ben and Ticho sit down with shop co-owner Curtis Bosch to talk about how he got sucked in by the good-shoe tractor beam in the first place, how their makeup program has taken off in wild…
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Long, long ago, Ben & Ticho did a Shoecast episode in which they had to (just for pretend, don't worry) get rid of all their shoes and boots—FOREVER—and only keep five pairs that just made sense for their lives. A lot has changed since then! So we went back to revisit our picks, and the results are...interesting! Also on this Shoebag episode: why t…
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Ten years ago, Steve Doudaklian looked at a camera, said “good morning shoe repair family”, fixed up some shoes, and put a grainy video on YouTube as a service to cobblers around the world. A decade later, Steve’s videos still don’t look all that different from his first—but now they’re often watched by millions, and stand as perhaps the measuring …
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To call Sarah Madeline Tierney Guerin an incredibly skilled cowboy boot maker would be accurate—and also highly incomplete. Sarah is also an artist, a historian, an educator, a storyteller, a preservationist, someone who just thinks about things differently than most of the rest of us, and quite possibly the person who knows the most of anyone in t…
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So, Ticho forced Ben to talk about Boot Camp, the fine leather footwear gathering / world's fair of boots and shoes and leather / celebration of shoemaking / big ol' party that Stitchdown just put on a few weeks back in Industry City, Brooklyn. The two get into plenty of aggressive reminiscing—about the community connections forged and strengthened…
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“Let’s just change it up a bit” is how Tim Little describes his approach to shoe design for Grenson. It might as well be Tim's ongoing mantra. After years in advertising—including handling the Adidas footwear account—Tim decided it was time to change it up a bit and make some welted footwear. Tim Little Shoes was born, with Tim working with various…
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Ed Gallun was born into tanning—and even though the American tanning industry isn't what it once was for much of the life of the tannery his great-great-great grandfather started in 1858 in Milwaukee, he simply can't get away from it. That's a very good thing. Ed relaunched Gallun Leathers in 2022, focusing on tanning incredibly interesting, dare w…
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We're back with Weston Kay, the one and only Rose Anvil from the new streaming video platform called "YouTube", to discuss the shame he feels for the criminal act of cutting a pair of 100+ year old WWI boots in half, how he outfitted his Rose Anvil Builds workshop with some incredible old cobbling equipment, why it's much harder than it should be f…
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Chris Woodford is a bit of a madman. And he’s pretty much thrilled about that. The fifth-generation shoemaker founded Crown Northampton—maker of some of the world’s best-made sneakers—as a reaction to watching his father’s business unravel, along with so much else of the iconic Northampton, England shoemaking trade. After watching factory after fac…
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When Dennis Kieback made his first pair of Kustom Kraft boots, he’d barely even seen a pair of Red Wings before. But the bookmaking bug had bitten him hard—and the Kiel, Germany craftsman was infected. Now 25+ pairs into his bootmaking career, Dennis sits down with Ben to chat how tricky it is to get a business started (“who wants boots from someon…
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Since 1904, the Shoe Service Institute of America has operated as an essential champion for the shoe repair industry. This week, Ben sat down with SSIA board member Justin Bennett (day job: Chicago-based shoe store/repair shop supplier Justin Blair & Co) to catch up on what happened at the recent 116th annual SSIA Convention, including the organiza…
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Ben and Ticho are back to tear open the Shoebag once more to answer probing listener questions such as: how should handsewns fit when they're NEW? What's the best approach to trying out new makers on the scene—and who should you keep eyes open for short-term? What are you doing wrong with (get this)... shoe bags?? Are we nearing a great-boots bubbl…
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Michael James is known as “Northampton’s Last Man”—and after nearly 40 years in the game, the director of Springline lastmakers most certainly lives up to the cheeky moniker. In a rangy chat with Michael, we cover how Springline creates some of the world’s finest production and bespoke lasts (plus shoe trees), the inherent talents required to be a …
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When Graham Ebner says he makes “really nice, really expensive” cowboy boots, it’s somehow barely a brag. In just five short years the Austin, Texas native (“to be clear, I grew up FIRMLY in the suburbs”) has established an impressive foothold for himself in the pantheon of rising bespoke cowboy makers. After training under the legendary Lee Miller…
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Just about one year ago, Luke Kolbie and his business partner Joe Julian took over ownership of 125-year-old Russell Moccasin: the Berlin, Wisconsin bookmaker that has outfitted presidents, kings, outdoorsmen of all stripes, and some very smart/stylish Japanese people. Certain changes were made right out of the gate—which always stirs up more than …
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Guthrie, Oklahoma-based Lisa Sorrell can trace her own bootmaking ancestry back to one of the first cowboy bootmakers ever: Gus Blucher (a man quite aptly named for a shoe). Gus presumably would've been quite proud, as for the last three decades Lisa has oh so gracefully maintained a position of remarkably high esteem in the cowboy bootmaking panth…
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That's right it's time for another SHOEBAG episode, in which Ben and Ticho dig precariously deep into such pivotal topics as: what is an overdyed leather and how is it the same or different from teacore? What’s the deal with that eyelet at the top of the speed hooks? Which outsoles make for the best toe spring? Chelsea boots with suits: yay or nay?…
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The six months of beautiful boot-aging mayhem known as the 2022-23 Stitchdown Patina Thunderdome is OVER! The esteemed judges have selected their winners in both the Work and Open categories (all of whom you can see right here). Fabulous prizes from our incredible sponsors are being dished out left and right. Boots are looking really, really, reall…
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For the past three years, CEO Shuyler Mowe has lacing up his now decade-old Builder Pros to helm Nicks Handmade Boots, shepherding the Spokane maker from a pure focus on work boots and into a new era of lifestyle relevancy—and dramatic growth that's seen the company add more than 40 employees in that time. This episode, Shuyler and Ben dip into Nic…
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In 2014, Taft Clothing was selling camouflage and polka-dot no-show socks. One fateful Reddit moment later, Kory Stevens was somehow overseeing a shoe and boot brand that was absolutely on fire—and designing some of the most unique footwear you’ll ever see. 9 years later, we had Kory on the Shoecast to tell the honestly captivating tale of how Taft…
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Back when Lorena Agolli was getting started in the trade, an aging cobbler grabbed her forearm, frowned, and dismissively said, "you’re not strong enough." Well that was the wrong read on every level—almost a decade later, Lorena is currently entering a new era as the proprietor of Toronto shoe repair shop Sole Survivor. After scaling up the Sole S…
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Wyatt Gilmore runs Baroda, Michigan-based, ever-rising footwear brand Grant Stone. So of course we had him back on the Shoecast and completely barred him from even mentioning his own company. Instead, Wyatt gets into what makes the feeling of Goodyear welt shoes so damn addictive, just how casual our world is going to get by 2050, the lifestyles th…
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When Eric Kinney took over as president of Spokane legend White's Boots in 2019, the 170-year-old maker didn't even have a website. Just four short years later, Eric—a former White's bootmaker for 26 years who made upwards of 50,000 pairs himself—and the White's team have positioned the brand as one of the preeminent and beloved high-quality lifest…
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As global product design & development manager at Red Wing Shoe Co., Mike Larson has touched every single product that's ever been placed into a Red Wing Heritage shoe box over the last 13 years—a lineup that was 260 styles strong just over three years ago, before shrinking to just 12 over the course of the pandemic. After truly banding together as…
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A little over three years ago, Weston Kay cut some Dr. Martens boots in half on YouTube. Today, millions of people watch videos of him hacking all sorts of other shoes in half to break down the materials they use, on Weston's Rose Anvil YouTube channel. And it's no secret he said some very serious words about our beloved Alden Indy boots in one of …
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We’re not sure there’s ever been a “normal” year in the quality footwear world, but 2022 certainly wasn’t about to start being one. Smart brands reasoned out strategies that allowed them to shift from labor and supply chain scrambles to sustainable long-term solutions. The sudden rise of the Chinese brand dovetailed with the worldwide emergence of …
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It's been over two years since our own Ticho took on Mr. Style, aka @almostvintagestyle, aka " Jake," in the inaugural Stitchdown Bootbate, an extremely formal and rigid debate...about boots. Since then, both competitors have been cooped up in their lairs, conditioning their boots, shining their heels, wearing clothing from a place known as Japan, …
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What's clickin'?? That's right Ben and Ticho are back with another SHOOOEBAG episode, in which we answer all of your listener questions, including: What are the best options for non-PNW footwear with arch support? Why do certain deranged people not recognize the extreme artistic beauty of the wedge sole? What are some of the best ways to enjoy the …
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We've had both Nick Horween (the one from Horween Leather) and Phil Kalas (formerly of Horween, now making some of the best wallets, belts, and more over at Ashland Leather) on the Shoecast before. WELL APPARENTLY THAT WASN'T ENOUGH FOR THEM. Clearly over-emboldened by recently starting their own show, the Full Grain Podcast, Phil and Nick swung in…
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Unsung House is a wonderfully rare shoe repair shop. After a half decade learning the trade in a more “standard” cobbler setting, brothers Grant and Isaac Gustafson opened Unsung in a literal old house in Nashville, to focus on impeccable higher-end shoe—and especially boot—repair, restoration, and ground-up creation. Ben and Ticho sat down with Gr…
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For anyone who’s ever thought of quitting their job to make leather and boots, here’s the secret: just first make sure your parents own a goat farm in the British countryside. Six years ago, Jack Millington was the lucky guy in that position, and he up and started what we’re pretty sure is England’s first new tannery over a century. Today, his brai…
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Greg Cordeiro is our kind of shoe nerd. And the dude has been around. After getting his start as an intern at Puma before shifting over to design work for Timberland, Cole Haan, Teva, and Ralph Lauren, Greg backed away from the mega-brand to co-found one of the seminal underground (now sadly defunct) footwear brands of the aughts: New England Outwe…
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After being trained in the shoemaking arts by some of the all-time greats—including Italian master Roberto Ugolini and US shoemaking gravitational center Marcell Mrsan—Francis Waplinger found himself making shoes in a barn. Nobody said bespoke shoemaking was supposed to be easy. Juggling multiple jobs on the east end of Long Island while sharing th…
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Occasionally we discuss boots on this podcast, but that doesn't mean we don't love and appreciate a great dress shoe as well. In the FINAL episode of Season 6, Ben grills Ticho—the actual dress shoe-knowing person on this podcast—about what elements add up into the perfect dress shoe, important styles to understand, and recommendations for brands b…
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SHOOOOOOOOERADIO! That's right, everyone's favorite drive-time terrestrial radio show about boots and shoes is BACK to tell you exactly how to win over $30k in prizes including a TRIP TO JAPAN in the second annual Stitchdown Patina Thunderdome—just for wearing things on your feet for six months. To get to the answer, our host field questions from t…
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You know, when you have a history of publicly claiming to not be a black-boot lover and then you have a podcast co-host who can even more publicly prove that you are a black-boot lover…well, you need to make a Shoecast out of it we suppose. On yet another Shoebag episode, Ticho and Ben tear open the digital sack of reader questions to explore the d…
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Yuki Matsuda is an absolute gem of a man. If there's someone more relentlessly excited to design and make and just talk shoes after more than three decades in the biz than Yuketen's founder, I haven't met them (but would definitely like to; DM me plz). It's no stretch to say that Yuketen is eternally in contention for the Most Interesting Footwear …
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Just about one year ago, footwear/menswear super-retailer Division Road packed up the Seattle storefront that has served as its home for the better part of a decade, to move its operations to 45 acres in Scottsville, Virginia—a true rural area about 20 disturbingly scenic minutes outside Charlottesville. The promised plans for the relocation have b…
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Former Dayton bootmaker Tess Gobeil is the co-founder of Awl Together Leather, a custom leatherwork and shoe repair shop in Vancouver, Canada that just so happens to be on our shortlist of Stitchdown-recommended cobblers. She's also just an absolute hoot—we're pretty sure this episode sets the Shoecast "hey look at us, we're just sitting here cackl…
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Summer shoes! Those are just...boots, right? Apparently not! In a Shoecast episode for which we applied 120 SPF sunscreen (to our shoes), Ticho and Ben first figure out what a summer shoe really means, and then get down into dishing out recommendations on loafers, handsewn moccasins of all kinds, unlined bluchers et al, boot-shoes (obviously), Birk…
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Rising bootmaker Nathan Florsheim's shoe-famous last name isn't a coincidence—the great great grandson of Florsheim Shoes founder Milton Florsheim decided over a year ago to become the first person in his family to actually make a pair of boots themselves in generations. And man has he gotten good at it quickly. Under the benevolent tutelage our mu…
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Over a decade ago, Tull Price's job was to travel to the world's coolest cities to expand his massively successful sneaker brand, Royal Elastics. Sounds pretty great, right? Nope! The realities of the forces of globalization—and just how much landfilled-destined plastic waste the athletic footwear industry created—eventually became all too apparent…
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Along with his brother Matt (the one with the mustache), Andrew Brodrick is half of Freenote Cloth, the near-decade-old denim-'n'-more brand (yes they sell boots!) that's committed to manufacturing its entire widening range of menswear in a small radius in and around Los Angeles. Andrew came on the Shoecast to lay out his philosophy on which cuts o…
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The bootmaking world is a strange one in 2022. The easy part for top makers: finding customers who can't wait to buy their boots. The hard part? Sometimes it feels like literally everything else. Supply chain breakdowns are slapping delays on leather and other materials. Recruiting and training skilled bootmakers: never simple. So how's Wesco deali…
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Ticho and Ben from Stitchdown are back with another good ol' fashioned Stitchdown Shoecast Shoebag episode, in which we answer probing listener questions like "are there any more rules with wedding shoes?", "how important is historical context when it comes to a pair of shoes or boots?", and "what's your ritual when you get a new pair?"—and we disc…
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They call Jim McFarland America's Cobbler for a darned good reason—the third generation in a line of cobblers that has run McFarland's Shoe Repair in Lakeland, Florida since 1918, Jim has repaired more shoes than you've ever seen. But the former president of the Shoe Service Institute of America—and Grand Silver Cup Award winner for excellence in s…
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