Consider how most shoes are made: they’re conceptualized by a team of designers, pushed through a handful of approval processes, and then assembled offsite—by machines or an entire factory of workers. CH favorite Feit, on the other hand, works through every single boot, brogue, and sneaker one at a time, entrusting one craftsman with the entire collection. In their new Drop 2: FW19 collection (which also includes a suite of women’s shoes), one boot in particular, the Suede Metal Unlined Hiker, stands out as proof that their practices elevate the art of footwear.
Versatile but also formal, these alpine-influenced hikers come adorned with hand-shaped brass accents and elemental brass embedded in the welt (where the vibram gumlite outsole meets in the rest of the boot) for protection and stability. On the outside, a single piece of roughout suede comprises the body, which is hand-sewn (using the Goodyear method) to the midsole. To further tether the pieces, Feit employs a water-based glue—rendering every sole on a Feit shoe replaceable.
To finish the assembly (which usually takes two weeks), designer Tull Price says, “A thin layer of natural wax is added for natural water resistance, and the seamless construction makes for an exceptionally comfortable fit that can withstand the elements with style. It is inspired by a traditional work boot, but construction and material make this style durable and versatile.”
“Much like last year’s Bamboo Hiker, craftsmanship and materials are at the forefront of this season’s design,” Price tells CH. “A bamboo shank stabilizes the midsole of the boot, providing maximum support without the excess weight or environmental impact of steel or plastic. This innovative welt stitch showcases an unparalleled level of craftsmanship that is virtually impossible to reproduce in mass quantities, and the incorporation of elemental brass adds an industrial feel to an otherwise entirely handmade product.”
By employing a single craftsman for their shoes, Feit admittedly draws out the process of making and selling their boots—plus, when they do hit stores or their online shop, they’re available in incredibly limited quantities. But, as Price insists, hand-crafted products comprised of natural materials and treatments wear more uniquely, look better, and last longer—and carry with them the signature of unrepeatable talent.
Images courtesy of Feit