The Cat’s Paw heel is rightly a cult favorite in the shoe world. With its distinctive pattern and semi-namesake little slip-resistant white dots, this early-to-mid-century-originating rubber heel is admired for having both a playful, distinctive design and a practical use in boots and shoes of all kinds. And recently, just simply not being available. That always makes people want it.
Cat’s Paws have unfortunately become a deadstock item. Biltrite, the Cat’s Paw parent company (which itself is owned by Vibram now), is reportedly done producing the iconic soles. But they did for quite some time, and wise individuals over the decades bought more than they actually needed, or used.
And they sat, and sat, and occasionally sold on eBay, and sat…until right now. The Cat’s Paw is back out of the bag! Cat’s Paw heels are currently being featured again by both Nicks Boots and Oak Street Bootmakers. But trust us, that’s not going to last.
Over at Nicks, they’re offering standalone pairs of Cat’s Paw heels—AND Biltrite’s very fun/functional half-soles, which you can put on certain MTO pairs of Nicks—straight from Biltrite Canada’s recent final production run. They have a variety of sizes available, but only for a limited time. If you’re interested in putting these heels on any boot, whether it’s a boot from Nicks or somewhere else, you’d be wise to consider grabbing a pair to send with your boots to your cobbler, while supplies still last.
Meanwhile, Oak Street managed to get their hands on about 1000 true vintage deadstock Cat’s Paw heels back from when they were manufactured in the US 40-50 years ago.
OSB owner George cleared the heels out of the shop of a surely lovely but also foolish old shoe repair supplier who said, verbatim, “no one wants this stuff anymore”. OH REALLY??? Those white dots give the age away—they’re not white anymore, having yellowed with time, and the sinking feeling that nobody wants them anymore.
If you’re looking for a new service boot featuring the old Cat’s Paw heel, check out Oak Street Bootmakers’ latest iterations of their Lakeshore Jump Boots. Two models—one a plain toe made with Trail Crazy Horse, the other a cap toe variant in Caramel Tan Naked Kudu—are both adorned with a Cat’s Paw heel and a Vibram 705 half sole. These paratrooper-inspired boots have the benefit of both looking sharp and carrying a piece of footwear history.
Catch Cat’s Paw while you can, because you won’t be able to forever…