Over a year ago, I did an interview with the exceptional one-man bootmaker Lars from Østmo, and asked him who else’s work he really appreciated. Lars said Rizky Afnan of Onderhoud, an Indonesian bootmaker who can fairly claim to be—in this humble bootsman’s opinion at least—among the very best in the entire world. A few months later, I had myself two pairs, and it’s hard to remember being more happy with and excited by any footwear before or since.
That is, until Rizky sent me my pair of 7-inch LCV01 lineman boots in an absurdly wonderful Wickett & Craig harness leather.
This boot is over a year in the making. It’s a collaboration in the truest sense of the word. As I told Rizky when the box arrived from Indonesia, these may very well be the coolest boots I will ever own. My other boots are suddenly desperately wanting for attention.
But this boot is just too good to be just a one-off. So Rizky will make between 8 and 10 more pairs (depending on the leather yield) that will be open for a lottery for Stitchdown Premium subscribers.
Let’s get into the details…
A 153-year-old tannery nestled in Curwensville, PA, Wickett & Craig exclusively makes vegetable-tanned leather, leveraging extracts from South African Mimosa and Argentinan Quebracho trees to tan steer hides into one of the most underrated, underutilized boot leathers out there.
Rizky specifically wanted to use Wickett’s jack-glazed harness leather for this boot, and we both agreed on the Buck Brown color. It’s a light but incredibly rich shade at first, but the patina train has already started chugging in just the first few weeks on my pair, and can foretell a bit about what you might see. This leather will definitely darken at least a bit over time, and the nature of veg-tan leather in general means that every pair will become deeply, deeply unique and display the life each wearer has created for it.
My pair have spent most of their life tromping through the deep woods, because 1) that’s my main pandemic leisure activity, and 2) I wanted to give everyone an initial sense of how the leather would age. I couldn’t be happier with it.
Check out that patina—the darker marks at the bottom of the laces are because I left the kilties on for four or five wears, and they rubbed right there. Don’t want them? Take the kilties off right away!
The toes have taken the brunt of the beating in the woods, but if you’re sticking to the streets they’ll evolve more consistently like the rest of the boots. Overall, I have to say I love this stuff, and can’t wait to see what it’ll look like in 6, 12, 24 months.
The harness leather is hardy and ready for whatever you throw at it, but also features an incredibly soft hand. My pair also had a few marks on certain parts (including one of the toes) from barbed wire, which I love. It’s like kudu, with out the full-tilt-crazy markings. Every pair will most certainly be wholly, wonderfully unique in that respect.
Rizky is known for his sweeping woodsman heel, but I asked (begged?) him to do a little something different for these. The low-curve woodsman, which he hasn’t really used before, is phenomenally balanced and exactly what I love. It’s got some pizzaz without stealing the entire show. I consider it one of the elements that makes these boots special, even amongst his other work.
The Absolutely Masterful Construction
No matter how impressive his boots become, Rizky is never content. See below for a photo of my original LCV01 boots, from a little over a year ago. They are wonderful boots, and always will be, but the way Rizky has developed the last and pattern on this boot is nothing short of phenomenal; it’s only become more and more ruggedly beautiful. And the fit is perfect—they’re probably the most comfortable boots I own, period. They’re made with Rizky’s 270-degree double-row Veldschoen construction, and as you can see, nary a stitch is out of place anywhere. I find the weight to be ideal—enough heft to let you know you’ve got something incredibly solid on your feet, but much lighter than say a full-on stitchdown White’s, and maybe a touch lighter than a pair of Vibergs.
Also, my original boots and other earlier Onderhouds had a foam rubber insole; while Rizky still offers that, for these we went with a full leather footbed. While the old boots are doutbless comfortable, this is how a boot of this caliber this should be set up under your feet.
The Rest of the Specs—and Customization Options
Boots are personal, and while I…you know, personally…feel we absolutely nailed this build, Rizky and I wanted everyone who gets a pair to be able to flex a few of their own preferences as well. I can’t wait to see where people go (although I certainly won’t be upset it everyone just gets this exact boot).
Here are my specs:
Upper: 7” LCV01
Upper thread: Light brown
Speed hooks: 5
Outsole stitching: Natural
Edge finish: Light brown
Heels: Low-curve woodsman
Outsole: Brown Dr. Sole Supergrip half-sole & heel
And here are the available options (no other alterations will be possible—sorry! But hey this is a pretty good list):
Upper: 7” LCV01 or 6” LCV01
Upper thread: Brown, light brown, or natural
Speed hooks: 3, 4, or 5
Construction: Flat welt single stitching, flat welt double stitching, or Veldtschoen
Outsole stitching: Brown, gold, or natural
Edge finish: Brown, light brown, or natural
Heel: Low curve woodsman
Outsole: Dr. Sole Supergrip half-sole & heel in brown, black, or off-white
How to Get a Pair
Again, only 8 to 10 pairs will be available, and only Stitchdown Premium subscribers will be able to get into a lottery draw for the chance at a pair. But access to the draw is just one small aspect of the SDP universe—learn a ton more about Stitchdown Premium and its discounts, other benefits, and rollicking nonstop shoe-and-boot chat right here.
Sizes will be available up to 46—I’m an 11D Brannock and a 43 fits me PERFECTLY, for reference—so if your feet are bigger than that, I wouldn’t recommend entering the draw. Sorry!
The boots will cost $650/pair + shipping from Indonesia. “Well aren’t Indonesian boots supposed to be cheap or something” you may ask? Yes, Indonesian makers often make some very affordable excellent boots. But for one, leather like this deserves the premium price Wickett & Craig charges.
But more importantly, (this isn’t a brag, I swear—just something to give you context) I’ve worn plenty of $650+ boots, and handled countless more. These are absolutely $650 boots, and I can’t imagine anyone who ends up with a pair will feel differently.
Here’s how it’ll work:
- Starting today, SDP members will be able to enter the draw multiple ways. The draw will be open for three weeks, at which point I’ll pick 8 winners, along with two “waitlist” winners who will get contacted if the leather clicking yield allows for one or two additional pairs.
- When winners are contacted, they’ll have a week to nail down their specs and work with Rizky and I to figure out their proper size. From there, Rizky will begin making them straight away.
- All orders should be fulfilled by January 2021.
- There will unfortunately be no refunds or exchanges—but if you decide the boots just aren’t for you, I can’t imagine you’ll have a hard time moving them.
And that’s it! I quite honestly hope you like the boots.