Friday, August 07, 2009

Archival Footwear: Filson Boots and Shoes

Red Wing Heritage boots @ Portland Filson Flagship Store



Filson leather and twill boots (Roberts Supply)

Recent Filson Offerings

Red Wing Heritage Boots @ Portland Filson Flagship Store

I've been requesting that Filson offer footwear for women since the line was introduced in the 1990s. Though Filson customer service folks acknowledge the demand, they've yet to offer any styles in sizes small enough to fit women (same lament for Red Wing's heritage line).
Each time I hear a rumor that Filson will be changing footwear vendors, I hold out hope that the new shoes and boots will come in a broader range of sizes and feature models for women (2010?). Optimistically, I imagine that Filson might even consider partnering with a company like Red Wing given the presence of the Red Wing heritage boots in the Portland Filson flagship store (a stylistic mesh that works really well). Alas, it appears like the recently revised Filson footwear line features the same staple styles in the same fixed sizes. I'm also sorry to see that Filson dropped the the boots w/twill finish fabric panels. I really loved how the twill fabric tied the boots back to the original line of Filson luggage (something I imagine would be revised in a future brand remix project). I'm also sorry to see the Filson Upland Loafer disappear. This style came closest to matching my dream outdoor shoe: the Abercrombie and Fitch "camp slipper" highlighted in an April 09 blog post by Little Log Cabin:



Upland Loafer (discontinued)

Russell Camp Slipper (courtesy Little Log Cabin)


Addendum: Nice Filson footwear remains for folks in the golden size range (I'd be bankrupt if I could actually size into Filson shoes...or some of those new Outfitter jackets). Here are some hypothetical footwear vendors with whom I could see Filson partnering:



Gokey footwear catalog courtesy Little Log Cabin

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

filson is having their boots made in dominican republic now. they've gone downhill since the buyout. one of the last great companies is diappearing before our eyes. shame.

Lesli Larson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lesli Larson said...

I know that the Filson footwear is now made in the DR.

I definitely recommend that you email Filson customer service regarding your concerns about footwear being made overseas. I did. And I received a very detailed response explaining the reasoning behind this decision. My understanding is that Filson has gone through a number of US vendors looking for one that could provide them with consistency in quality and construction (in stitching, fit, overall construction). Apparently, internal Filson folks are very pleased with the quality level of the new footwear. The gentleman who responded to my email has been testing a pair of the shoes for the past six months.

But like you, I still have concerns about this move to overseas production. I do wonder why Filson wouldn't consider partnering with one of the remaining US footwear manufacturers... like Red Wing, Alden, Russell, etc.


However, my understanding is that there is absolutely no plan to move production of the core line of Filson twill luggage, wool jackets or waxed cotton garments from the Filson Seattle factory. As long as the core line is still made in the US, I will support the company. Those items have not disappeared from view--quite yet!

Dale P.L. Chadwick said...

The Filson collaboration proposals are genius. I'd like to see a moccasin for men. Not a driving moc, but your straight-from-Daniel Boone's-closet moccasin.

-Dale

Robin said...

Great post.

Are those Red Wings with the captoes the Iron Rangers?

Lesli Larson said...

Robin--

Yes, the cap toe boots are the Iron Rangers. Also reminds me a bit of those great Chippewa x Bean Engineer boot.

Dale--

I emailed Russell Moc to see if they could custom manufacturer a new version of this shoe for me. Alas, they said no. Send along any ideas for another possible vendor for the camp slipper. Best shoe ever!

louise and nivaldo de lima said...

We love this blog! Just found it. You are a mine of information!
We agree that it's so sad that everyone sends their goods far away to be made. We live in Mallorca, Spain and we make all our bags by hand there, but most of the island's production for leather has stopped. Factories closed that have been in the families for years. We fight to retain authenticity and it's really hard, but we won't give up!!

Lesli Larson said...

Thanks for your note! Let me know if you'd like to write a guest report on some of your Spanish bags, locally produced goods, dying factories, disappearing brands, etc.. I'd love to know more and document this info on the blog.

I've seen some wonderful leather bags from Spain--especially in the genre of field and hunting bags. I'd like to find some more information on those styles.

Take care.

LL

louise and nivaldo de lima said...

I'm sure that we would. When you're back from your trip perhaps. Hope you have a good break.

amanda said...

I'd be dead broke myself if Red Wings came in women's sizes. As it is I'm thrilled I can finally get a desert boot (J.Crew)!

Foster Huntington said...

I miss that store...
Foster

Matt P said...

I have looked at the new imported boots and reviewed Filson's statements on why they made the move overseas and I have come to the conclusion that it is marketing bollocks.

I think it is dollars and cents, US made boots of this quality were getting into an increasingly out of reach price point for mass produced boots. They were approaching the price points of custom builders like Russell and they had to be brought down to be a commercial success & compete with the likes of Cabelas. Why don't they ever just say that instead of we can get better "fit & stitching" in the Dominican Republic then we can stateside?

Dr Martens Boots said...

This reminds me of the patent leather Doc Martins boots for which I have had a hankering. Happy to hear that you wear your Docs with suits. Great post!

kim steiner said...

Luckily I got chance to use this shoes 2 year back. It's very comfortable and awesome. It is one of my favorite shoes.

Recommended to all

Dr Martens Boots said...

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brs02 said...

You of course realize Doc Martin Boots are made in China. I was assured the quality is the same, but the "forever" boots are made in Vietnam, and of course you can pay almost double for the English made, but without the "forever" warranty. Shopping for boots after 10 years in my Docs