Seemingly overnight, with their signature Supergrip and raw cord soles, plus a range of others including the aggressively ripple-y Strider and probably the best wedge sole I’ve ever personally worn, the sole-maker/repair shop, Taipei’s Dr. Sole has emerged as the outsole-making darling of the boot-mad community.
Now as Dr. Sole celebrates its 10th anniversary, after learning from successful collaborations with Viberg, Russell Moccasin, White’s Boots, and Unmarked—in which Dr. Sole tackled the bottoming, aka sole attachment, of boots made by those brands—Dr. Sole has just released its first-ever boot of its own.
Meet the Game Changer, made under Dr. Sole’s Pioneer brand.
Based on 1920’s sports boots—the lace-to-toe predecessors of modern sneakers that were used for boxing, basketball and other athletics before evolving into a more industrial, lineman-type boot—the Game Changer is as LTT as LTTs get. Whether or not it’s technically a monkey boot, which are generally (but not always) slightly less minimal, but do feature a similar lace-to-toe design, is for a different shoe historian to tell. But hey, it sounded good in the headline.
The canvas-lined nubuck upper features about as clean of a pattern as you could possibly imagine, with a bit of stitching running up and down the 13 eyelets and a bit more by the toe. The boots are largely canvas lined for a lighter weight (and also historical accuracy), but the unstructured toes get a leather lining, which will allow them to collapse more naturally over time.
Dr. Sole oversaw the upper creation, while everything else for the Game Changers was done in-house at Dr. Sole, from patterning, to materials sourcing, to Goodyear welting the Supergrip full soles, which you can get in off-white on a black or white boot, or black-on-black-nubuck.
Only 60 of each boot will be made and sell for about $480/pop—about half of those already exist as ready-to-ship stock, and the other half can be made in your size as an MTO. As for sizing on the last’s D width, Dr. Sole recommends you go one half-size UP from your Brannock if you’re a D. Unfortunately E-or-wider width feet, I reckon, need not apply this time.
While Dr. Sole is anything but new to the footwear game overall, making their own boots after building up ten years of repair, sole-making, and re-sole/rebuild experience is pretty darned exciting. We can’t imagine this is the last new boot you’ll see from Pioneer.