I've been lurking on this board for many months, and have by now read all 3,965 posts. Thank you all for the education, and especially the photos of various leathers & builds, links to extensive spec photos on Japanese sites, etc. Very helpful.
Finally have the money set aside to order a pair - of course right at the start of fire season when I'm sure build times are shooting up to 12 weeks or more - but am still undecided on the leather & two other options.
Leaning toward this build, as I've heard much about the superiority of horsehide over steer hide when it comes to natural water repellency & general toughness:
Leather 1: Brown Horse Hide
Leather 2: Brown Horse Hide
Toe Vamp Leather: Brown Horse Hide
Toe Cap Leather: No Thanks
Celastic Toe Box: Single (or maybe none?)
Safety Toe: No Thanks
Upper (Shaft) Leather : Brown Horse Hide
Leather Liner: Tan
Back Stay Leather: Brown Horse Hide
Pull Loop: No
Eyelet Color: Antique
Sole Trim: Close Trim
Eyelet Configuration : Hook and Eyelet
Sole: Vib 700
Half Slip: No
Heel Shape: Standard (Cuban)
Heel Height: Standard
Last: Standard (or maybe Swing Last, or C641?)
Midsole/Edge Color: Brown
Size - Length: 12
Size - Width: E
Plan on swapping out the laces to flat waxed ones, & ordering these via your famous Kyle At Baker's.
I work freelance as a fabricator & art handler in Chicago - I'm on my feet all day, in all seasons, and that can include anything from building custom crates in the woodshop to lifting those crates around boxtrucks & loading docks to hanging paintings in a millionaire's high-rise to hobnobbing at gallery openings. I don't own a car, and bike or walk/public-transit everywhere - unless I'm hauling art in a truck. Basically these feet see many miles, & I need a versatile pair of solid boots - something that can handle carpentry scuffs & rural art residencies but still brush-up decent for occassions where I'm surrounded by snobs & supermodels
White's Semi-dress sounded like they'll fit the bill.
I used to wear a pair of Red Wing's "Gentleman Travelers" (#9013), but after 4 years, 2 re-solings ('Commando' half-soles suck!), and at least one hike up a volcano the leather's starting to crack over the ball of the right foot. Time to upgrade. I still have a pair of RW steel-toes (#3508) for welding or framing carpentry, but will replace those with rough-out Smokejumpers when the time comes. They never fit right anyhow, and steel toes are miserably cold in the winter.
Right now I'm wearing a vintage pair of moc-toe Chippewa boots I found at a second-hand store. They're a bit narrow for me and suck by the end of the day. Plus the right sole's starting to crack... I'll be needing new boots ASAP.
So my questions are:
1) Do any White's Brown Horse Hide owners have a year+ review of how that leather has held up? Any photos after a year or more of regular wear? Most of the HH pics I've seen on here seem to be fresh'out the box.
2) Should HH receive the same treatment as your usual steerhide? -In my case, initial saturation with Obenauf boot oil, then treatment with Obenauf's LP a couple times a year afterwards. Regular horsehair brushing & saddle soap as needed. Cedar shoe trees or at least stuffing with dry newspaper overnight to pull out the damp.
3) Would another brown leather straddle this work/fancy divide better - Brown Smooth, British Tan (doesn't seem to be an option on the Baker's Build-a-Boot site), Distressed Smooth, or Brown Dress?
(I've dealth with CXL before & don't consider it boot-worthy - great though for wallets, watchbands & such)
4) I hear White's requires a lining for horsehide boots. Choices are black, white, or tan - do these all breathe equally well? Don't know if those are truly just different color options or also different hides/tanning processes. I'm very rarely in air conditioning during the summer months; that's the main reason I went to unlined all-leather boots in the first place.
5) I'm right at the verge of a D/E width, but my last couple pairs of boots have really been tight, width-wise, at the ball of my foot so I'd like to go wide on these. People seem to hate on the Swing Last without much reason, what gives? Sounds like it'd be more comfortable for walking/lifting all day. For the same reason I'm considering ditching the Celastic toe liner. Anyone who actually works in White's have thoughts on lasts & Celastic toe from a functional-comfort perspective?
So that's it. Thanks for reading this essay!Edited by broken_oracle - 6/10/14 at 4:08pm