i found what i was looking for today on melrose. the brand is "biarritz", and they look like this, only in black:
i highly recommend the store, which is called "allen k". i was attended to by the owner, allen, and he is very passionate about handmade shoes. he makes his own line of women's shoes by hand, and sells only handmade men's shoes. i had not heard of any of the brands he carries, including biarritz, trapper, and others. i cannot attest to the degree that the shoes are handmade, as i know very little on the subject. however, the quality of the leather was definitely superior to most of what's out there. thank you to everyone who offered advice. i'll check out the paraboots next time i'm in san francisco.