Friday, 19 October 2012

Buy British (boots)

The news tells us that unemployment has fallen by 50,000. I don't see this as a green shoot of recovery but I am hoping. What can I do to help? I'm not working although I probably could, but I have a private pension  so I am more likely to do voluntary stuff these days. I remember in the late 60's there was a big campaign to `Buy British`. One could argue that, these days, our industrial clout is not even a shadow of its former mighty self and so buying British is easier said than done, but one has to try.

But when we do find gems in our midst we should shout about it. We have a great boot and shoe business in North Yorkshire. Their products are sold all over the world. I have read journals of bikers who have ridden the Americas, Africa and all points south and those who shod themselves in these boots always said they made the best choice and wouldn't ride in anything else. The much studied "Ride" magazine's products test section always puts one of their products in the top 3.

They also make walking, mountaineering and other `outdoor` boots, some of which are first choice for military, including elite special forces.

I rolled into their factory/showroom in Richmond on Monday. We were en route home from a few days in the Lake District. They measured me up, noted my dimensions on a card, which they would store on a database, and we were on our way in no time. They didn't have my size in stock but sent me an email to say they would be making my boots soon and that they would be delivered in about 3 weeks. They are less expensive than some boots whose longevity and resistance to water has been deemed `questionable` in tests. A riding pal has them and should be a salesman he loves them so much.

The downside? It occurred to me that they are so well made and the aftercare service of repairing and re-soling is so good, they may be the last boots I buy. Talk about a mortality check :0 mind you, I soon got over that as I pranced around the kitchen listening to a bit of "Saxon" on Planet Rock - until my reading glasses fell into my porridge, golden syrup and blueberries, duh.


Blue Eyes said...

Buy British was a nonsense even in the "industrial" 60s.

Read Made In Britain (review on my blog).

The only reasons you should buy the boots you are talking about is because of the excellent customer service and high quality of the things. Which seem like pretty good reasons to me.

Buying shoddy tat just because it happens to be churned out in Derby is not the way to get the unemployed back to work. Unless you are looking at the DDR as a model!

Hogdayafternoon said...

Blue: You have captured my drift. Am in The Pump Street Bakery, Orford, eating a cheese toastie. Cheese is from England, coffee from Brazil, milk from Suffolk, the chef is a sexydelicious Englishwoman, the owner a similarly delightful Canadian woman, the sourdough bread is homemade just down the road and is in the finals of Radio 4's Food Programme (local producer of the year category -
My bike is German along with my helmet and riding gear. Boots are Matterhorns made by HH Brown of Pennsylvania - I do get the best I can afford and if I can' t afford it I save up for it.
Ps. The Pump Street ladies are all deelights and as well as being charming English roses, include a gal from Switzerland - eine alpine schone!
PPS: Rule Brittania!

Trobairitz said...

Head banging hard enough to flip your glasses off, good for you. Does that count as exercise? Did you at least get to lick the syrup off your glasses?

It sounds as though the boot maker almost 'shoots themselves in the foot' metaphorically. They make such a good product people only need one pair so they don't sell as many as they could. But by the same token if they sold a shoddy product no one would want to but it.

Oh and HH Brown makes awesome boots. Matterhorns are one of their really popular models too. Hubby used to have a pair when he worked in the hardware industry. They lasted a very long time.

Anonymous said...

I wear 'bergs for work (P1 and P3 wide fit)and they are superb. Very reasonable costs to re-sole and they send a new tin of leder gris polish as well :)

Hogdayafternoon said...

Trobairitz: Pilates has been my exercise of choice since 2001:) I don't run like I used to as years of middle distance jaunts proved to be bad for the knees and so I'm pacing myself!
I had Matterhorns in the tac firearms unit and they transferred nicely to biking. The Alt-bergs will be fine companions.

Anon: Coppers, bikers and soldiers will talk all day about their quest for good boots, perfect racing spoons and other essential tools ;)

Quartermaster said...

Rocky Boots used to be my choice, but they are made in China now. I still have a pair I bought better than 10 years ago that are wearing very well. They were some of the last of US production. They used to be made about 30 miles from where I lived in Ohio. They still have their "Factory" outlet there, but last time I was in there I didn't see anything worth the prices they were charging. Their customer service is terrible these days as well.

I had heard of H.H. Brown, but have never seen their product anywhere. I'm wearing Herman Survivors at work (I'm a Professional Land Surveyor, same as Chartered Land Surveyor in the UK, and Professional Engineer, Civil type. I don't know what the equivalent title would be in the UK) and also wear them riding as I normally ride the bike to work as a fuel saving measure. The Rockys get worn for my vacation riding.

Conan the Librarian™ said...

I had a pair of Marschstiefel, a Stahlhelm und un Eisernes Kreuz HogDay.

Went well with the Honda 175.

BillB said...

The boots - best means of selling is word-of-mouth. Which they seem to have.

I was a bit disappointed the other day.

I use Craftsman tools - from Sears. Have for years.

Now Craftsman likes to say that pros use them but in truth unless they are paying them (eg NASCAR teams) they don't.

A good tool - say a ratchet wrench or socket - has a precise "feel" to it.

Think Purdey shotguns.

Now, don't get me wrong, after all this seemingly bad-mouthing Craftsman they are still great - for the amateur user.

They are a lot better than some of the junk one sees in discount stores,

Instead of a good ratchet (the Germans seem to excel in high quality tools but good US brands are Snap-On and 1-2 others) costing $100 or more a good Craftsman ratchet wrench would be maybe $25.

2 of their selling strong points are (1) if it ever breaks, bring it in and we'll give you a new one. (2) they are made in the USA.

Just found out they are now made in China.

But to your drift let the best win out. It is truly a global marketplace.

Speaking of which do any of you guys still use the wentworth standard?

Anonymous said...


Imagine my surprise; I was mentally preparing an anecdotal comment to this post very similar to yours, noting my former preference for Rocky, my profession (surveyor), proximity to their outlet near Athens Ohio and my acute dismay at their business choices!

I've been a part of a few truly challenging (terrain) and satisfying (followed one of Charles Hibbard's surveys from the late 19th century which, considering contemporary methods and equipment, was remarkably accurate by today's standards)survey's down in your neck of the woods, which I'm mostly in and around Summit County these days.

Ahh, the internet ...


Hogdayafternoon said...

I believe HH Brown produced the famous Corcoran jump boots that carried the 82nd and 101st Airborne across Europe.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Conan: :) I feel the urge to annexe The Sudentanland all over again.....

sparkflash said...

I've spent the last decade or two with a pair of roebuck Camels (best pair of boots I've ever owned and the previous pair was re-soled half a dozen times or more before they went to the great Cobbler in the sky) and some army surplus German para-boots. In the hopeful event that I actually outlast them, you've inspired me to buy some English boots. My dad recently gave me a pair of very good leather cowboy boots he acquired out in Texas, some thirty or so years ago. They're currently slathered in Renapur to take the creak and crack out of them - though I somehow doubt they're going to gain much mileage. My cowboy inclinations are pretty much restricted to an annual re-run of Blazing Saddles...

Hogdayafternoon said...

Sparkflash: I am a Renapur user, but I noticed with Alt-berg that they recommend Leder-Gris which you can also get in black! I ordered my boots and they are making them for me now, to be dispatched in a few weeks. Everyone I know who has them is totally `sold` on the brand. Some old pals who were ex Regiment rated them. I'll keep my Matterhorns and probably re-sole them. I have stood for hours, ankle deep in water in these (in a job from my previous life, maybe to be blogged in due course) and remained bone dry throughout - unlike the rest of my police issue `waterproof` gear.

Justthisguy said...

Ooh! I want!

I have very hard-to-fit feet, 10-1/2 A with a AA heel. Essentially, there are no longer made any shoes which fit me exactly, unlike the situation in my youth 40 years ago. I had to pay $150 at the New Balance shop just to get a pair of sneakers which fit me. When I was a kid, My Mom bought me PF Fliers which fit perfectly, for about $5.

Is there a conspiracy these days against those of us with narrow feet, or what?

Justthisguy said...

One of the differences between boys and girls:

Girl: How do I look in these shoes?

Boy: How far can I march in these shoes?

Hogdayafternoon said...

JTG: Alt-berg export.
My reply to the question, `does this dress make my bum look big`? might well be, `No, its your bum that makes your bum look big`.
(but I never have that issue)