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Custom White's Boots ... Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by Whacky, Jan 15, 2011.

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  1. WorldWideWafflz

    WorldWideWafflz Senior member

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    I can't imagine a sale would change things this quickly. Reading through this thread I see qc issues going back some time.

    That said, regardless of corporate profit seeking and company culture, shipping a pair of boots with different height heels is a bad miss. That needs to be corrected. The glue marks are shitty as well but the heel height is just staggering.
     
  2. trvlr472

    trvlr472 Senior member

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    I don't post a lot here but i'll have to agree. I'd be hoppin' mad if I went through what you are going through and doing it from China would REALLY, REALLY have me irate. It's really gonna suck if White's goes down the tubes like so many others have. I guess we better all get our Russel's and Wesco's before it happens to them because there seems to be a trend in this country with century old companies biting the dust.

    I might also add (I'm not trying to get into politics) but the government as a whole and their regulations over the past 25+ years are the real underlying cause of this. Those companies that can't conform perish or just start making garbage IMHO. I'd rather see White's tack on another $100 per pair rather than see them do what they seem to be doing. Not that i can afford multiple pairs now but when I can get another pair I'd rather pay more than get junk. But that's just me.
     
  3. cwmi

    cwmi Well-Known Member

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    Seeing all these QC issues is really making me nervous. I just ordered a pair through Kyle , hoping to get one last pair from White's before we see dramatic changes from the selling of the company. Well I guess I will see in 6-8 weeks.

    Here is the build up :
    1. 6" tall Smoke Jumper on a 461 last
      Upper shaft and toe vamp: distressed smooth
      medallion toe cap, heel counter and backstay : #8 burgundy CXL
      standard "cuban" heel, standard height
      antique hook and eyelets
      cut top with pull loop
      no liner
      close trim
      single celastic toe box
      plain toe lace design
      natural edge trim
      commando mini lug half sole with a single midsole

     
  4. WorldWideWafflz

    WorldWideWafflz Senior member

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    Not to derail this thread but I'm genuinely curious as to how conforming to gov't regulation forces a small domestic bootmaker to ship boots with defects? That's a non-sequitur; I see a massive gap in the logic. Fill me in, I'm way too curious to learn if this is actually an issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
  5. jrosenthal

    jrosenthal Senior member

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    I don't think you need to worry, Gregornz's situation although inexcusable, seems more the exception than the norm. My boots as shown above are of the most recent build (made last month), and other than my nit-picks which may be normal for hand made boots, they are the nicest and best made pair of shoes I own. My frame of reference for build quality is Alden, Trickers, C&J, and Redwing (back when they only made work boots not fashion accessories). The toe around my Alden 975's is like glass with micron perfect welt stitching. That said, all the above machine welt their boots whereas White's are hand welted.
    Below are my nit-pics, not a big deal, just slight imperfections that I noticed...but not enough for me to send the boots back as I think they are wonderful.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. cwmi

    cwmi Well-Known Member

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    JRosenthal,
    You are probably correct. This will be my fourth pair of White's and I've come to see they all have a uniqueness some might call them flaws others it's
    just a part of owning something hand made. I've been lucky on my other pairs it's mostly just some uneven stitching that I have found. Now some of the things I've seen posted here are legitimate things that should have never made it out of the shop though.
     
  7. gregornz

    gregornz Senior member

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    Just to be clear, I don't think White's quality is falling apart. Sometimes they make mistakes, as everybody does. My point is that I am paying a premium for a premium product, while I can expect mistakes to happen, I also expect them to be fixed, preferably before they reach the customer. The thing that really pisses me off is not the deviation in the heel height. That, while troublesome, is easily fixed and a sign of handmade boots, to an extent. What really gets me, on my dress boots, with an 'exotic' dress leather, is the big orange stain, a drip of chemical, running down one side. The photo doesn't capture it that well, but it's clear and obvious, and unfixable.

    So the maker dripped some glue. He may or may not have noticed. Shit happens, fair enough. But I the customer shouldn't be the one to cop it, given the premium nature of this product. In my specific case, it has now become much, much to inconvenient for me, so I'm expecting White's and Bakers to take the hit, not just in terms of replacing the boots, which they clearly should, but also in the risk and inconvenience of me actually having use of the boots I paid for and need while they fix their mistake. I think that is right thing for them to do, given the circumstances.

    If they can make it right, I would continue to support and recommend White's. I still think they are an amazing product. I don't think the quality has collapsed. I think sometimes you'll get things like this happen. They just have to make it right, that's all.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. jrosenthal

    jrosenthal Senior member

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    I can't speak for the poster to whom you are referencing, but I think he was expressing his fear that White's, under the new ownership, may fall victim to the same outsourcing that brought down the brand quality of many fine US brands including Danner, Wolverine and Redwing. Sure they still make "some" of their products in the US, but they are selling their imported products side-by-side with the US made products and only savvy customers who read the fine print and know what they are looking for would know the difference at the time of purchase.
    The political side to this started in the early 90's with NAFTA (at the time we used to call it the "North America's Free let's Trade it Agreement) allowing US companies who maintained a US corporate base to manufacture overseas without the importation duties that weighed so heavily on them prior, hence cheap labor and no importation taxes. The way companies got away with this prior was to manufacture in US territories (primarily Guam and neighboring islands) using Chinese indentured laborers making 50 cents a day, but because it was a US territory they could put "made in USA" on the label....this is not speculation or hyperbole, I actually visited several of these factories in the late 80's.

    Many of us buy White's, as we bought Danner and Wolverne and Redwing back in the day, because they are US made, the quality is expected, and the political implications are implied. Purchasing US made goods IS a political issue. It is telling the large corporations who have decided to abandon the US labor force that we will not give them our money. It is a grueling daily battle to try and keep my money in this country....and even though there has been a resurgence in "buying local", that has been exploited by the large corporations by buying small companies that maintain a US based manufacturing facility and lumping it into their portfolio...it provides certain tax breaks across their books and allows them to boast of their investment domestically...but is is a sham.

    Sorry for the rant, but I think everyone here can agree that buying White's is as much a political choice as it is a style or work-practical choice.

    James
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
  9. b-ewing

    b-ewing Senior member

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    There's a whole heap of guesstimation in here as far as what ABC will do with White's operations from this point forward. I can't imagine however that they would ever ship their productions overseas- no way, not gonna happen. At least not under the White's flagship name. Hawthorn uses imported components. So I could see an eventual migration in that direction under this or another White's wing, but not the main one. That iconic box emblazed with "Made in USA" and the obnoxiously large American flag is too integral to the brand identiy and important to it's customer base.

    That said, I'm in a wait and see mode. Wait till I get some more cash, and see about ordering some Nick's :D ;)

    But unlike some of the other comments on here, I for one have never ever ever had anything but a stellar experience when dealing with Baker's and have no plans to take my business elsewhere. In fact, I'm in talks right now about having Baker's do a rebuild on a pair of vintage engineers for me- gonna be cool as a cuke, bros ;)

    It's a complete shame to see some of the shoddy craftsmanship coming off the factory line these days- some of it can and always has been chalked up as the byproduct of "handmade", other examples are arguable just the byproduct of laziness (such as Gregornz's). Having said that, I would give all parties the benefit of a doubt that this will get sorted out in a reasonable, fair, and compensatory (within logic) manner. Passions can run high in these moments, but be careful not to spill the emotion unfairly over onto a company's business name and reputation. If they're reputable they'll deal with it like reputable dudes. Ok I'm done
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. jrosenthal

    jrosenthal Senior member

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    Well stated!
    I also just want to add for levity sake that our collective complaints, are indeed "first world problems". We can afford to buy $500+ boots however hard we had to save for them. We can eat, have shelter, and afford to be choosy about our footwear....let's all maintain some perspective.

    James
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. gregornz

    gregornz Senior member

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    I got this email from Kyle today:

    I'm very happy, and this is exactly the response I expected to Bakers and White's, so good on them!
     
    6 people like this.
  12. b-ewing

    b-ewing Senior member

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    Group hug, guys!
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  13. climbinglife

    climbinglife Senior member

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    Kyle is Awesome! And whereas that shouldn't have happened to you, their remedy is exactly how you want a company like Whites/Bakers to react.
     
  14. trvlr472

    trvlr472 Senior member

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    That's actually quite easy. When a company has to spend money on non-essential equipment like worthless safety gear, ridiculously high insurance premiums, bogus lawsuits, benefits that everyone seems to think their employer is supposed to pay for that they also think they are entitled to, office staff. lawyers and accountants to help them manage the maze of government regulations, tax law that money comes from somewhere. To get the money employees end up working longer hours while making more mistakes. They get paid less because the money is being diverted to other things the company shouldn't have to even be dealing with and you end up with quality going out the door and eventually the business leaving the country. People will only pay so much for certain things. When the price gets too high people stop buying the product.

    I work in the trucking industry. I could fill pages with examples of what government regulations and taxation has done to the industry and for the most part it's resulted in worse drivers being out on the road, lower pay and perpetually exhausted, stressed out employees across the board. Who screw up on a regular basis. Building boots is a whole different industry but I'm sure we'd be surprised to know what THEY have to deal with. I don't know what goes on inside of White's but I've worked for small businesses all my life (up until recently) and what I've just mentioned above has taken it's toll over the last 30 years.

    Now I'm done derailing the thread. It wasn't my intention. All I wanted to point out is that when government starts running a business from 2000 miles away with no knowledge or expertise whatsoever on how to run that business that's when the problems start. Unfortunately, people blame the company, not the perpetrator of the problem every single time.
     
  15. meso

    meso Senior member

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    Hey look at that. A company doing the right thing.
     
  16. trvlr472

    trvlr472 Senior member

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    Fantastic news. It looks like White's and Bakers have come through. I'll definitely be going through Bakers the next pair of White's I buy.
     
  17. simonchiu

    simonchiu New Member

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    What are the second shoe brands and models
     
  18. simonchiu

    simonchiu New Member

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    What are the second boots brands and models.
    [​IMG]

    I want to know their information,Brand :Model:Leather:...
    thanks
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
  19. jrosenthal

    jrosenthal Senior member

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    Wow, that was exactly the response that "should" have happened. I am thoroughly impressed by this which is actually sad becuse this is how any business should have handled it, just shows how uncommon good customer service is these days. Kudos to both Baker's and White's for picking up the ball and throwing it in with nothing but net. I will be placing my order for my second pair of White's today.

    James
     
  20. conak

    conak Well-Known Member

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    Nice! I'd say they went above and beyond on this one. They made it right, and that's good to see. Retailers like Bakers will help prevent any slides in QC if the day ever comes that the new board of directors of the holding company that bought Whites starts to pressure them to cut costs.

    Unfortunately, I discovered Whites a bit late, after a long time enjoying the british boots like Trickers, so I only have one pair ( farmer/rancher), but I love them and have been planning my next buy until I read that Whites was sold. My dad has a pair of Chippewas from late 60's or early 70s which are amazingly built, but you look at a Chippewa today, and they are decent at best. I hope Whites doesn't go that way, and I think if retailers continue to demand the original quality for their customers then that will help.

    For some perspective though, I would suggest that there is probably a much higher demand for whites than there ever was, now that quality work gear is considered fashionable, which means they've probably increased their staff to keep up with demand and they probably have workers who are still gaining experience. Being that they are meant for work, I wouldn't be too upset about the glue stain, but the heel height difference is inexcusable and would make for some serious back pain if you wear them every day for 8+ hours a day.
     

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