Russell Moccasin Footwear

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Russell is a hundred-some-odd-year-old shoemaker I’ve been ordering from for the past 15 years. In addition to the quality of the workmanship and materials, you get the simple, timeless pleasure of a hand-crafted, made-to-order shoe/boot. Options include any number of various soles, hides (including supplying your own!), styles, insulation, toe cap, steel shank, and other custom options. For me, the Vibram sole was perfect. But others might be after oil resistance, traction, silence, longer life, etc. For instance, I’m not a hunter, but for those that are, Russell also has snakeproof boots and options for preventing thorns/cactus. That ability to customize your sole/leather/style per application is great.

There’s a downloadable instruction form for sending in your measurements, which they keep on record for a decade. I am very flat-footed and they were able to accommodate the necessary additional space for orthotics. Not that unusual, but I recommended Russell to a friend with extraordinarily narrow feet (especially for how long they are). They were able to create his size no problem; and he’s since ordered a half dozen different pairs over the years. One other thing I’d add is they do repair work as well, so you won’t need to toss them as they get really old — and you get the added bonus of having someone who knows the shoe doing the work. I have both the Cavalier boot and the Buckle Chukka. They’re not cheap, but the Cavalier boots I mainly wear now I’ve had for at least 10 years, and the pair has only gotten better with age.

-- Wrye Martin  

Russell Moccasin Footwear
prices vary
$460 for the Cavalier Boot
Available from Russell Moccasin