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A. M. Kroop & Sons -- MTM boot experience

random-adam

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After forever stacking insoles into cheap huge shoes, I discovered Styleforum a couple of years back and found makers who could properly accommodate my small-volume 14AA feet. Three pair of Allen Edmonds later I have some decent dress and casual shoes. I'll probably pay a visit soon to the Alden store a few metro stops away to see what they're all about.

That said, it's getting to be colder; I wanted some semi-lugged dress boots for corduroy-and-tweed season. I thought AE's Bayfield would work, but was told they cannot make a pair up on a 14AA last. The last couple of months have been disappointing.

Then I stumbled across a tiny family business in Laurel, just a dozen miles up the road from my home in Maryland. Seems they can accommodate my feet. I paid them a visit this morning and was impressed. The owner (granddaughter of the founder) pulled out a stack of hides to choose from, we went over soles and design, my feet were traced, and four or five girth measurements were taken on each. I tried on a couple of existing boots and we went over what might need to be adjusted for my feet. The shop dog was very good and did not eat my Park Avenues.

Results and photos will be posted in about a month when they're ready. I'll try to get a few shots of the workspace as well -- it's about a 80'x25' building full of old-world machinery.
 

NukeMeSlowly

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Originally Posted by random-adam
After forever stacking insoles into cheap huge shoes, I discovered Styleforum a couple of years back and found makers who could properly accommodate my small-volume 14AA feet. Three pair of Allen Edmonds later I have some decent dress and casual shoes. I'll probably pay a visit soon to the Alden store a few metro stops away to see what they're all about.

That said, it's getting to be colder; I wanted some semi-lugged dress boots for corduroy-and-tweed season. I thought AE's Bayfield would work, but was told they cannot make a pair up on a 14AA last. The last couple of months have been disappointing.

Then I stumbled across a tiny family business in Laurel, just a dozen miles up the road from my home in Maryland. Seems they can accommodate my feet. I paid them a visit this morning and was impressed. The owner (granddaughter of the founder) pulled out a stack of hides to choose from, we went over soles and design, my feet were traced, and four or five girth measurements were taken on each. I tried on a couple of existing boots and we went over what might need to be adjusted for my feet. The shop dog was very good and did not eat my Park Avenues.

Results and photos will be posted in about a month when they're ready. I'll try to get a few shots of the workspace as well -- it's about a 80'x25' building full of old-world machinery.


Sounds interesting.

Could you give us some more details like price ranges, leathers, and construction methods (e.g, Goodyear, Blake, etc)?
 

random-adam

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Originally Posted by NukeMeSlowly
Sounds interesting.

Could you give us some more details like price ranges, leathers, and construction methods (e.g, Goodyear, Blake, etc)?


I would if I were better versed in the above. I'm presuming photos will help with the construction information. As it stands I'm set to pay $565 out the door for the boots; extra charges were for a lace-up style (rather than the base gore), a punched toe cap, and a mini-lug sole. Leathers on hand seemed limited to calf -- couldn't even tell you what style (i.e. English, French, Italian) they were. Solid color assortment; I told her what I was looking for and she pulled out five or six in various tints of reddish brown. No shell cordovan was readily available, and I got the impression they preferred not to use it.

Poking around on the tubez led to this narrated slide show about the outfit. Photos shown there may be of further use. Be aware the producer approaches it more from a historical isn't-this-neat point of view rather than the perspective most SFers would probably prefer.
 

scurvyfreedman

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It looks from the website that they do special order mens' oxfords (spectators, etc.). They show monks in the slideshow (video) and mention that they do mens' dress shoes.

If they do individual lasts I think that SF might expand their business considerably, even if it's just those of us in the DC-Baltimore corridor.

This sounds like a wonderful lead. I can't wait for your pictures.
 

chison

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thank you! i will pay a visit there this weekend!!
 

random-adam

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Originally Posted by chison
thank you! i will pay a visit there this weekend!!

Call ahead. They really aren't set up as a retail establishment and I'm inclined to doubt that they have weekend hours. The owner, for instance, works M-Th 6am-3pm.
 

chison

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Originally Posted by random-adam
Call ahead. They really aren't set up as a retail establishment and I'm inclined to doubt that they have weekend hours. The owner, for instance, works M-Th 6am-3pm.

thanks, did just that, very nice lady
 

Icarus

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Good to see indy makers out there
 

kirbya

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Yes, please let us know how the process goes. There is a bootmaker in Austin that I've considered using, but have always been nervous to use someone not well versed in shoes.
 

kirbya

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Originally Posted by Animal Thug
Be glad your parent never let you run around barefoot or in flip-flops pencil d*ck

Animal Thug - creative use of white text to conceal your insults. Just what we need more of on this forum.
 

navysuede

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Originally Posted by NukeMeSlowly
Sounds interesting.

Could you give us some more details like price ranges, leathers, and construction methods (e.g, Goodyear, Blake, etc)?


They make Goodyear welt footwear only...Mostly boots for the equestrian trade
Been in business a long time and yes its small and personal..The owner Randy Kroop
is a wonderful women and her right hand man "Rick" is incredible.Laurel MD,,around the corner
from the race track..
 

random-adam

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I picked up the boots this morning:











...Pretty much exactly what I expected. After the measurements and all they were still sorta voluminous, so she went to some machine or other and came back two minutes later with 1/4" stiff leather insoles (taken from my tracings) to insert; I wore 'em clear from 7:30am to 9:45pm and my feet are happy. Seems as good as I can get without having custom lasts made through Springline.

I didn't anticipate the tiny pinprick an inch or two above the heel, but I've seen it before -- presumably for something to do with holding the last in place.

I couldn't be happier about the color. Seems like its nature is to lighten considerably at pressure points, so I suspect it should antique quickly.
 

emptym

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They look great. Thanks for posting the link and the boots.

Edit: Thanks too for the link to the video-like-thing. Wonderful story (4th generation family business) and the products look better in that than on their website. If I still lived in DC, I'd give them a try.
 

ginlimetonic

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this is the company that puts this wedding boot on their website:
Is this a GY welt in process??
 

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