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Boots made by Russell Moccasin Company -- experiences - Page 13

post #181 of 226





4", quick and dirty picks (overexposed, too:embar:). Newporter sole works great on ice and snow. Again, not warm enough for winter in colder climates. After about five years, the wear is showing at the heels, but not due for resoling yet.Excellent boots. In early September I spent a week in them, wedding reception and hiking in British Columbia Coastal Mountains, although they are not particularly suited for mountain hiking, soles are very thin.

Unless you subscribe to barefoot walking, you will be better off with other Russell Moccasin offerings.

I really like more room in the toe box, my next Russells will be on Munson last as well.

post #182 of 226
All good to know, thanks!
post #183 of 226
Looking to get these vintage RL boots duplicated, which I assume were made by Russell. The company confirmed that they used to produce for RL, but they said they made their birdshooter (I assume the South 40 in a 6" or 7" height? With just seven eyelets?)

I'm wondering if the style might not be better as the safari PH boot, however. Given that the RL boot was meant to be worn more as a casual city shoe, the safari's double moccasin bottom seems like it would be less chunky than the South 40's triple vamp.

Anyone have an opinion?

post #184 of 226

The leather of the South 40 is also chunkier. I like the triple vamp because it adds a little more...Russell to Russells. I have a pair of Imperials and they look like any other boot but my PHs look unique and only Russell's does that style. 

post #185 of 226

This thread was helpful to me in sorting out the Russell Moccasin pluses and minuses, so I thought I would add my own experience to the mix.


Background - I am not a fashion guy.  I do have a great appreciation for well made shoes and my closet now holds Red Wing, Alden, Allen Edmonds, an old - but little worn - pair of Florsheim Royal Imperial Kenmore long wing oxfords, an equally old pair of Dan Post anaconda skin boots, and a New Balance 993.


One reason I own this selection is that I am very, very hard to fit with impossibly narrow, flat feet and all the aches and pains that go with it. Many Allen Edmond styles and some Aldens fit nicely, but 98% of the time I need casual/work shoes.  Red Wing's no longer fit due to changes in my feet (getting old - feet are now longer!).  Allen Edmonds makes the Wilbert, but it is an oxford and is really not suitable for my needs.  Alden has nothing at all.


I now own a pair of the Russell Art Carter Traveling Sportsman Chukka with a cream Vibram 2060 sole.  This is the most comfortable shoe I have ever owned.  But the reason is that it truly fits, supporting my foot from the heel all the way through the   arch, on down to the ball.  After eight, 10, 12 hours my feet are neither tired nor do my legs ache - something I have dealt with for 50 years.  I've got them on now, here: 


As you can see, I've already got them dirty.  I have to live my life in these.  But I have had several complements; they are an attractive style.


Getting fit: I went to the factory in Berlin, Wi.  I arrived minutes before their lunch hours, but Gerald (the owner) insisted he could skip lunch.  He went through all the tracings and tape measurements, but my feet have never conformed to measurement and we spent 45 minutes going through various sizes they had in stock - successfully!  I found a perfect fit, but one substantially different from what I had measured.  I strongly recommend going in person if it is at all an option.  In spite of all the information that Russells fit 1/2 to a full size long, I ended up with the same length as my Allen Edmonds, but a full width narrower.


Selecting the style: I went there to order a pair of basic chukkas, but there was a pair of Art Carters on display and I fell in love.  You need to understand that Russell basically only makes one shoe - a hand sewn moccasin.  You can get different leathers, different soles, single double or triple vamps, oxfords to knee high boots, and a raft of other features, but when covered by your pants leg they are all going to look much alike.


Breaking in: First, I waited 13 weeks for delivery.  Break in is largely a matter of getting the sole to loosen up a bit - the leather required very little.  BUT!!!  Even standing over three layers of leather, that midsole is hard!!  Think old fashioned penny loafer.  Mind you, even so they were the best fitting, most comfortable shoe I've ever had.  I cut myself a pair of thin Poron insoles from sheet material and now they are little short of amazing.  I thought about ordering them with the Poron insole built in, but I wanted to see if they would work without it - and they would for most people, I think.


What you should know:  Russell is a custom maker, not a bespoke cordwainer.  They will adjust and modify their existing lasts to your particular requirements; they do not make a custom last saved just for you.  So extra room here or there, or mis-mates, or extra narrow heels, or an option of a shank or not, or heel counters or not - these are no problem.  They have an extraordinary number of lasts, so the result is much the same as a truly bespoke fitting - for maybe 10% of the price.  Construction is the opposite of a welted shoe - they are pulled up from the bottom over the last and the fitting is made by hand sewing the uppers while on the last.  This creates something of a cradle effect for the bottom of your feet.  The shoes with midsoles (almost all styles) are constructed much in the manner of a Blake stitch - the upper is sewn through the bottom directly to the midsole.  This will not have the strength of a Goodyear or Norwegian welt, but unless you are a logger or doing something equally brutal, Russells will be more than strong enough.  In all but a couple of styles the plug is folded over the toe piece and the craftsman who hand sews the upper must thread three layers of leather, making a powerfully strong seam that is also highly water resistant.  If you want a Poron insole you have to get either a double or triple vamp - otherwise there is no place to hold it.  If you do not know if you need a shank or not (and it may depend upon your choice of sole), ask for advise.


Finally, be aware that this is a very small factory.  Everyone was amazingly kind and helpful to me, but you should keep in mind that these are very busy people.

Edited by oldfrump - 3/10/16 at 7:48pm
post #186 of 226
That was an excellent post. Thank you.
I also have a pair of the Art Carters and they keep getting better with age. Did you get yours with the French veal leather or something else?
I'm now trying to decide on what to get for my second pair of Russells. I want boots but can't decide which ones. I wish I could visit the store/factory as you did but probably won't be able to.
post #187 of 226
Engineered Garments x Russell Mocs multi-leather knockabout boot, which they first made for EG back in FW 2007. They no longer allow more than 3 leather for a single pair of footwear (at least that's what they told me back in 2014. Hopefully things have changed), so these can't be custom ordered anymore. Had to order these through Yahoo! Japan auctions and are a bit narrow. They're currently under the stretcher (shoe trees with socks wrapped around them. I'll add more socks and/or fold socks over to get the width right where it needs to be). These were made with the following leathers: This boot was made with the following features (info from the RM rep):

Brown French veal for the front stay, backstay, top binding and ankle strap
Brown Driftwood inside quarters
Rust Laramie Suede outside quarters
Rust Chamois toe piece
Tan Chromexel for the vamp.
Treated leather midsole
Natural Christy Wedge sole
Double Vamp

post #188 of 226

I got the French Veal.  This was my first order from them and I figured they knew more about how to make their shoe than I do.  They have recently introduced a version in full Kangaroo leather - at a lower price, and I am strongly, strongly tempted:  



I did order a pair of the Shooting Clay chukkas in chocolate for more rough work so I can save the Art Carters for casual/office wear.


One thing I should have mentioned that would be upsetting to some: there is a longitudinal crease in the vamp plug which can be clearly seen in the photo.  This is not unique to my pair, but appears to be a function of the build process.  I have no idea why.  It is starting to relax, and will likely ultimately disappear.


The only really good reason to visit the factory is to be able to try on shoes/boots to check the fit, or to see the leathers in person.  I am so glad I got to try on several sizes - my measurements would have generated another pair for their sale section and I would have been another 13-14 weeks without shoes.

post #189 of 226
The longitudinal crease you're referring to is the seam of the underlying layer of leather. Like you said, they all seem to have it.
post #190 of 226

Last summer I finally stopped at the Pope and Young Museum and Headquarters in Chatfield, Mn. Drove by the place for years and as an Archery hunter thought I should finally check it out LOL. Pretty much had the place to myself and the curator spent a couple of hours with me. Know I'm getting old when he asked me if would consider donating my first bow and treebark camo... One of the displays of Art Young caught my eye



And I immediately said they look like Russell Moccasins. He said yes Russell came over from Wi. to make them. The patterns on hand only go back to the 1930's so they had do some digging but came up with a true era reproduction. 


My Grand Slam Sheep Hunters, about 10 years old they are my North Shore of Lake Superior ruff grouse and SD pheasant hunting boots. In need of a good cleaning here, but they get cleaned and treated before and after hunting season. They have seen a lot of miles in pretty rough conditions.


post #191 of 226

And Dr. Pope also hunted in Russell Moccasins. And wore a tie while doing so. No treebark camo, rubber boots and scent shield for him. Not sure if we have gone forward so much as backwards in some ways.


post #192 of 226

I was going through the Russel Moccasin website - new, not greatly improved - looking for a home for yet another $400 or so when I ran across this new entry: 


Details are sketchy, but it appears to be a double vamp, oak leather mid-sole, Danite sole with stacked leather and Danite heel, and one beautiful piece of pebble grained leather.  $410, custom only.  As I said above, they really only make one style, but this is one handsome version.  Apparently your choice of the color shown.  Man, do I wish I could think of a good excuse to order a pair.

post #193 of 226

For casual everyday use walking on all different surfaces what model would you recommend?

post #194 of 226

Depends on the surfaces, terrain, and weather. If you want a dry, hot weather, the standard PH is pretty good. If you need something higher and warmer for cold, wet, there are several Bird Shooter models that fit that. 

post #195 of 226
Originally Posted by bruc View Post

For casual everyday use walking on all different surfaces what model would you recommend?

I was up at the factory back in May, and posed pretty much that question.  Mr. Fabricius helped me to decide on essentially the American Bison "PH" with the Newporter sole and T.H. wedge.  I am having them made in kangaroo (no canvas), and they should be arriving in a couple more weeks.  The Newporter is supposed to be highly slip resistant on a variety of surfaces, and the cushioned wedge will (I hope) give good comfort on concrete.  The Air Bob sole would be my choice if I wanted something a bit more aggressive.


The standard mid-sole used on most of their boots is pretty flexible - great if you want to take advantage of the high degree of flexibility inherent in the moccasin design, but maybe not so good if you are on really rough ground.  For that they have the oak leather mid-sole.


While there my wife scored a pair of Convention Walkers (at half price!) that someone had custom ordered with French Veal tan leather, oak mid-sole, and eyelets to the top rather than speed laces.  They are really beautiful; unlike the somewhat frumpy version shown on the website.  I was so glad she was able to try on some shoes because their women's sizing is really, really goofy.

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