Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shopping from MacRostie Leathers

By Tom Bonamici





Macrostie product literature

LL's MacRostie Oxford

Honestly, the story of shoemaking in the upper Midwest would probably be best dealt with in a Steven Sondheim musical (à la Assassins), given the number of companies that have come and gone, the takeovers, the outrage.

Mr. Sondheim being do doubt occupied, I’ll just describe one of the minor players of the arena. Macrostie Leathers of Spring Lake, MN is the descendant of the famous Gokey Company, the first shoe company to put a hard sole on a moccasin. Elaine and Lyle Macrosite comprise the whole of the firm, and thanks to Lyle’s apprenticeship at Gokey, they can make some of the finest shoes in the States.

Lyle

Elaine

MacRostie Hard-Soled Moccasin

Highland Handmade Boots

While I don’t own a pair of Macrostie shoes, I do have a pair of original Gokey Sauvage Hikers. I bought them at a yard sale for $5, and they fit perfectly from day one.

Tom's original Gokey Sauvage Hikers

Orvis makes a version of this shoe, but if you have the time and money to spare, why not order a pair from Elaine and Lyle?

MacRostie Town and Country Shoe

Since I’ve got a pair already, I’d be tempted to order the Mountain Climber, which resembles my favorite boot from WC Russell, identically named.

MacRostie Mountain Climber

If you’re as swoony over Macrostie Leather’s products as we are, order soon.

LL's notes: I own a pair of the Lace-up Oxfords and Hard-Soled Moccasins. After years of wear, both pairs are ready for the resoling and refurbishing services offered by MacRostie.

Although I found MacRostie on the internet (searching for old Gokeys), my relationship with the company feels very old timey. I look forward to sending my shoes off to MacRostie just to revive my correspondence with Elaine who updates me on the state of handmade bootmaking in the US.

I've emailed Elaine about a possible future order for a pair of custom boots 8" lace-up boots similar to the Highland Lace-up.

Elaine has cautioned that I place my order sooner rather than later since the MacRostie duo is contemplating retirement (handmade shoe and bootmaking is hard on the hands and body).

If you like Russell moccasins but want to support a smaller, top quality, two person shop, give Elaine a call and start working on your foot tracings.

Some examples of some additional MacRostie special order boots:

Highland Handmade Special Order

Bunny Stomper Boots

London Puddle Stompers


MacRostie shoe and boot photos courtesy MacRostie Leathers website.

Please send me links to photographs of your own MacRostie custom shoes or boots.

6 comments:

Alan said...

Thanks for posting this. The MN company and WI company are close enough for a road trip to check out the products.

Fern said...

Those boots are fine!

Question, Lesli- Do you know anything about the Barbour Children's Beaufort jacket sizing? I usually wear S in women's jackets, and I am afraid the smallest 34 size in the adult version is too large. What is your take on Barbour sizing?

Tom said...

fern - for what it's worth, i fit nicely into the size 34 barbour coats (i'm 6'2"). you'll definitely need the child-waif size.

Lesli Larson said...

Fern--

I second T's comment regarding Barbour sizing. Go for the Child's XL. Or I might recommend looking at some of the more style-neutral quilt models offered for women by Barbour. Beaver of Bolton and John Partride also sell nice quilts in more slimmed down sizes. Filson has a quilt too but I think the vest is a better option in your size.

The Barbour polarquilt for women is super slimmy and has a nice band collar (no corduroy and probably made in China). Here's one on sale:

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/,2031K_Barbour-Polarquilt-Jacket-Utility-Matt-For-Women.html

Fern said...

Thanks for the tips, Tom and Lesli!

lan said...
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