Working with Santalum has been an absolutely amazing experience. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that I would be designing my dream boots from the ground up.
Before I got into this business, I had fleeting thoughts of working in the fashion industry somehow. I'd always been interested in clothing and accessories, but raw denim was the definitive turning point in my sense of style, it turned a shallow interest in the appearance of clothing, into a fueled passion in the longevity and craft of raw denim and all of the clothing and accessories that support it. I had no experience in fashion and the thoughts of working in the industry left as quickly as they arrived.
Long story short, I ended up doing what I'm doing today. I won't go into the whole story here, but I literally fell into doing what I love and apparently have a real knack for. I've had the absolute honor of working with various denim companies and a bootmaker who trusts my judgement enough to allow me total freedom in what we release together. What an amazing journey this is, I feel so grateful.
First, a little glimpse back to the first and second collabs:
Collab No. 1 - The Indigo Service Boot
Collab No. 2 - The DIY Waxed Flesh Boot
With my previous collaborations, I wanted to go where no one had gone before, and do something truly unique, yet still entirely wearable. I believe I'd done exactly that. For how bold these boots are, they are very wearable and in my humble opinion strike a perfect balance of cool & unique.
With Collab No. 3, I had a little bit of a different mindset. I had done two rad boot concepts, each with their own big twist, now what I wanted to do was design my absolute dream boot. It would be packed full of all of the details that I love in a high quality boot.
It was to be made with the infamously high quality Horween Chromexcel leather, known for it's aging potential. Black Chromexcel has what is known as a "teacore", it is brown underneath the top layer of black dye, so overtime with wear, the black will scuff off and reveal the brown teacore beneath. This is a very desirable effect for me because I think it is an awesome evolution of the leather.
I wanted to push the boundaries of black and brown being joined in unison. Having a teacore leather alone was not enough, I wanted brown stitching on the upper part of the boot, and a natural edge finish on the midsole.
My favorite detail by far is the sole stitching. To further seal the deal on this being a unique collaboration, I wanted to do something different from the usual white stitching that you see on nearly every boot out there. I decided on using both brown and black threads for the stitching. Brown thread is stitched on the inside and extends around the toe area, and black thread is on the outside and extends a full 360 degrees around the entire boot. I had Santalum dye the surface of the welt black so that the black stitching would disappear as it circled the boot, for a really unique stealth appearance.
By placing the brown thread on the inside and the black thread on the outside, a slimming effect is achieved when looking at the boot from the top.
On the past two releases, we used the very high quality, UK made Dainite Soles. They are widely used on high end boots in the US, and have a very sleek almost svelte look. On this boot, I was sure that I wanted a half sole (the heel pad and the rest of the sole are two separate pieces), for a couple of reasons, which I'll go into later.
I began researching soles and landed on the Vibram 700. It had a really nice presence to it, you can feel the weight of the sole just by looking at it, yet it didn't have giant lugs, so it was a good strike between dressy and rugged.
As you can see, by using half soles, we're given a really nice opportunity for branding on the bottom of the boot. On the right boot you can see Santalum's leaf logo, and on the left; the Pigeon Tree.
Another reason I wanted a half sole, was because I wanted to go with a slight woodsman heel (when the heel curves inward), and I wanted it to be uninterrupted by rubber. You see when you use a full sole, the sole extends across the whole length of the boot, and then on the heel you would have leather, and then more rubber. By using a half sole, you just have a pure unadulterated stack of leather connecting the rubber part of the heel to the underside of the boot. It's a beautiful look and the true testament to Santalum's edge finishing.
Furthering supporting the union of black and brown, is the contrasting brown chromexcel tongue. This was a no brainer to me, as I've always felt that a contrasting tongue could be a really nice touch. It's subtle because it's mostly covered by laces, but a nice touch nonetheless. In regards to the laces, for this pair I am using my own hand cut 9oz full grain bridle laces, it doesn't get much better than that.
This is also my first collaboration boot to have a structured and brogued toe. The perforations along the edge of the cap toe is called brogueing, it's a technique often found on dress boots, but I think it lends an incredible edge to a boot that is intended on "doing both" in the way of being rugged and dressy at the same time.
I wanted the boots to have an additional inch of height in the shaft, so we added one extra additional set of brass eyelets. I also wanted a pull tab, but I wanted it to be subtle and not just sticking an inch out from the top of the boot. It's functional, but also aesthetic.
And last, but absolutely not least, I needed a matching belt. Pairing belts and boots is one of my great joys. I have customers all the time asking me for pairing advice and I truly enjoy the process, so please don't hesitate to ask if you need advice!
The belt is made with Horween black chromexcel, just as the boots are. This is my first time ever stocking Horween leather. It's a long time coming. What really ties the belt in with the boots is a subtle but cohesive detail, I used the same black and brown double row stitching construction to secure the buckle and the keeper to the belt. I also paired it with my new patent pending double prong quick release buckle in solid brass, which pairs with the brass eyelets of the boots.
Santalum's construction is absolutely 100% on point in every possible aspect. These boots lived up to and even surpassed my wildest dreams. They are super comfortable and I feel like a million bucks when I wear them. Keeping true to what fuels me and my brand, these are going to last forever and will only get better with age.
You can expect a mirror opposite make up of this boot in brown chromexcel very soon. The details are going to be every bit as impressive and thoughtfully composed.
You can find the boots and the belt here.