Keeping it 100% American, even when it comes to socks. There are only a few hosiery’s left in the United States due to the cost of domestic manufacturing, but the quality really shows in all of these brands. They’re not socks you’ll throw away after a few months, they’ll last you a good while. Heres some socks that can be worn year round, and some for those of you in the colder areas of the globe. I know it seems silly to pay good money for something as trivial as a pair of socks, but you will be thankful later.
Wigwam Cypress Camp Socks: 70% Cotton/30% Nylon with the look of Ragg wool. Marled-goodness. Mid-length and perfect for 6″ boots. Made in Sheboygan, WI. Available at Woodlands in Portland.
Fox River Mills Norwegian Long Socks: 85% Wool/14% Nylon/1% Polyester Heavy-duty socks that are sure to keep your feet warm in colder conditions. I have a pair of these just for traveling, as their way too warm for Florida winters. Made in Osage, IA. Available at Woodlands in Portland.
J.Crew Camp Socks: 74% Cotton/20% Acrylic/3% Nylon/3% Spandex. The best thing J. Crew carries, and amazingly comfy socks. Made in Vermont. Available at J. Crew
There’s nothing wrong with roughing up your boots, but when possible you should try and keep them looking good. I have had an on going problem with indigo running onto suede/rough-out and for awhile could not find a good way to get it off. I finally went to the experts themselves and stopped in my local Redwings store. My pal Bob, who has owned the shop for the last 20+ years, and has never steered me wrong before – suggested the suede eraser/bristle brush to remove the indigo stains from my work oxfords. Here’s the result, along with how to do it.
Stuff you’ll need: Redwing Nubuck/Suede eraser + brush, water, your hands.
- Clean the surface of your boots; remove any dirt/salt on them that will come off using the bristle brush.
- Dip the end of the suede eraser into water.
- Brush the spots you want to treat with the suede eraser.
- Using the bristle brush, scrub the area thoroughly. At this point you should see the stains removed completely, or at least less visible.
- Re-apply the suede eraser until the surface is clean.
- Brush the excess eraser dust off.
- Put them back on.
My first pair of Redwings were these 875 Moc-toes. It was one of the first items I bought that I knew I’d have for a long time, so I did my research on how to take good care of them to make that happen. Keeping the leather in good condition is the most important aspect of taking care of your boots. The soles can be replaced over & over again, the stitching can be redone on the welt, but if the uppers get dry and crack, that’s extremely difficult to repair. I’ve been wearing these for about a year and a half, and have been oiling them with of Obenauf’s Leather Protector(LP) since day one.
I’ve had a few people ask me about leather conditioners and how to use them on a pair of work boots, so I’ll tell you how I do it. First off, I know that no one uses LP as frequently as I do on leather goods. So I’ll say this: If you do not want your leathers to darken – I would avoid using the LP and just use a leather oil – as they will not darken near as much as LP. It’s extremely simple.
Stuff you’ll need: Obenauf’s LP, your hands.
- Clean the surface of your boots; remove any dirt/salt on them. You can use a shoe brush for this, or your bare hands. You can use a damp rag to remove any surface stains.
- Remove the laces. Oiling the tongue of the boots creates those neat lace marks you see on mine.
- Apply the LP all over the boots using your bare hands. Your body heat lets the LP soak into the leather deeper.
- Place your boots outside in the sunlight for thirty-minutes. This really allows the oil to sink in and the boots to take on a darker hue in color.
- Take a clean cloth and wipe off any excess oil.
- Lace them back up and wear ’em.
See, super easy. It really is important to keep your leather uppers well hydrated and protected from the elements. Leather dries out, and you don’t want to let that happen to a good ol’ pair of Redwings. This stuff is really cheap (that tub will last you ALONG time) compared to the price of a new pair of boots. Oh, and it’s made in the USA.
There’s not much for specialty stores in Pennsylvania, but I did have some pretty decent luck at second-hand stores while up there. I had been looking for a oatmeal colored fisherman sweater for awhile, and thanks to a Goodwill somewhere near Mt. Ligonier – the hunt is over. Knit of mainly wool with a really slubby texture, this was an awesome find for under $3. Next up, a pair of Winfield Mfg Company Cargos from a really rad vintage shop located in the south side of Pittsburgh. I wanted some olive drab cargos for awhile, but every pair I found was manufactured in China, and just felt like bad quality. These are made of a 50% Cotton/50% Poly blend with tons of little details:
- 6 snap-secured pockets
- Suspender buttons inside
- Side-tabs for waist adjustment
- Draw-string hem
- Serval zipper fly
- Made in USA
Hat: Imogene + Willie “Cross” Cap by Ebbets Field
Jacket: Engineered Garments Fisherman’s Smock
Shirt: Engineered Garments Workshirt
Pants: Engineered Garments Fatigues
Boots: Redwing 875 Moc-toe
Sorry for going MIA – a four-day trip to the Steel City was definitely needed. We don’t have a change of seasons down here, so my girl and I headed north to see it first hand. We spent most of our time in the mountains, but I did make a trip to the city to meet up with Jace of Plain T-Shirt and have him show us around. Here’s some snaps of the trip. Until next time, Pennsylvania. Enjoy.