One of the goals at Stitchdown is to introduce the new: new shoe and boot releases, of course, but also new makers—hell, it seems like yesterday that Flame Panda so serendipitously turned up in my #cordovan hashtag search. They just…don’t come around all that often. And I personally haven’t found one from Russia. Until now.
St. Petersburg-based Nikita Rusov is the 2018 and 2019 Champion of Russia in Patina Shoesing Awards (“Shoesing”=a Russian pun, apparently!), who after years of transforming fine dress shoes and also operating a shoe repair/restoration business, was inspired by Japanese master and White Kloud maker Show Goto—”for me, the number one bootmaker,” Nikita says—to begin making his own boots.
His first model: the A-6, a monster chonker 6-inch handwelted boot that definitely recalls a White’s Semi-Dress but is at once something different.
In true PNW style, everything is leather: footbed, midsole, heel counter, toe box, shank. The above build is my favorite of his so far. Italian suede he oiled in-house gathered on an arch-support-heavy last, double-row stitchdown + Norwegian stitch construction, Dr. Sole half sole, a slight Cuban heel, excellent contrast stitching. They’re an aggressively beautiful boot; the kind of boot that is simply not fucking around.
While I can’t personally pretend to know much about the Russian leathers he uses (Zarinsky and Volgograd tanneries among them), he also has access to Italian and German leathers including Conceira Cloe—including shell cordovan, which he’s using on his next project—and J. Redenbach, but he’s also exploring access to other tanneries’ articles as well.
While MTO and made-to-measure boots are certainly an option, Nikita also provides bespoke and (probably more important for the Stitchdown readership) remote bespoke services that includes him guiding you through measurements and a whole lot of questions before moving on to custom last modification, and a pair of test boots sent to you to really dial in fit for the final pair thanks to your feedback.
So…prices? Pretty darn good. $500 for MTO or made-to-measure, and remote bespoke for just $700. Cloe shell bumps that up to $900. The best way to make an inquiry or order? Just DM him at @rusov_shoemaker
He’s also developing two new boot models, one low and one high. Color me extremely excited to see what he does.