Sunday, March 16, 2008

These boots weren't made for woodworking

Ah, my boots. Sooner or later we'd have to get around to my boots. Hand tailored to my feet, and made out of buffalo leather, some call them my Barbarian Boots, I usually just call them my Boots, but they are moccasins. I purchased them, and stood for the fitting, a little over 5 years ago at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and received them just coming up on 5 years ago. I got them mainly for Faire gear, but also for warm winter boots.
They are perfect in the Spring and Autumn, and with the right socks keep me warm all winter. Fashionable for the Faire, and work well as "dress" shoes when I need them (you can hardly tell with a pant leg covering most of the buttons).

Oh, and they are incredibly comfortable. They fit perfectly, and give the right support, while offering the most in flexibility. I can wiggle my toes, and feel the contours of what I'm walking on.

This last year, I started wearing them anytime I was carving spoons. Even though they were warm in August, the extra protection was nice against the mosquitos. They also lend a bit of authenticity to the whole handcarving wooden spoons idea. They fit in my mind as to what an olde timey woodworker should wear.

As an extension of that ideal, and my love of comfort, I wore them into work during the whole Bench experience. Prior to that I had kept them out of the shop, for fear of damaging them. They are softer leather than in commercial shoes, and as many things as I accidentally kick in the shop (wood, pipeclamps, carts, etc.) I didn't want anything to happen to the not-so-inexpensive boot. And if I treat them right, my boots will be around for 15+ years.

It was great, they were so comfortable in the shop. I had been having a bit of trouble with my sneakers around this time, with old ones dying on me, and the new ones were hurting my feet terribly. So I started wearing them full time at the shop.

But, I ran into problems there too. During my Bench week, I didn't do all that I normally do in a workday. I spent less time there total, and almost no time walking around on the concrete floors. Nor did I stand on the concrete for extended periods. I spent half days, standing on the carpet in front of my bench. Stopping frequently for sharpening, or even taking long breaks.

Once I was working, I realized that my boots didn't have the support I was looking for, and my heels were taking a beating from the concrete. Still better than the new sneakers, they weren't quite right. And if I had any strenuous work, I could feel my shins sweating.
So I started looking at getting another set of boots for the shop. My pair was made by a Catskill Mountain Moccasins, but when my rubber soles started wearing out in the heels about 3 years ago, I came across another mocc maker. Walking Liberty Moccasins. They had a DIY sole kit that the guy had been using for years. He called it Future Tread, and it was a combination of Barge shoe cement, and ground tire rubber. I tried the repair, and it worked so well, that I started poking around his website more.

During the poking, I found that I liked his philosophy of not needlessly killing of animals just for their leather. I also found a pair of his moccs that would be perfect for shop work. He calls them "shorties". I like the tall version which has 2 buttons and comes up over the ankle (but can be folded over for a low look). They would keep cool (cooler than commercial construction boots because they breathe) and he can cap the toe for a bit of extended life/harm prevention. He even has some nice and cushy sole options for me.

So, I've made another mold of my foot (with Kelley's help), and am ready to ship it off to Oregon tomorrow, so that he can start work on my shop friendly moccs, and hopefully I'll have them before too long.

No comments: