About three years ago, I received my first pair two pairs from Onderhoud Handmade and was completely blown away. The ways in which the brand and its founder/bootmaker Rizky Afnan have humbly but relentlessly evolved since then has been remarkable to watch. The patterning, the finishing, the lasts, the handmade precision of it all—every aspect keeps unlocking new levels.
Which means it’s probably a pretty good time to be making our second collaborative boot with Rizky!
Introducing: the Onderhoud x Stitchdown Moc-Toe in Wickett & Craig Black Traditional Harness—which will be available for pre-order in a highly limited run of 8 pairs.
Keep reading to learn more about Onderhoud, these boots, and how a pair might become yours.
Onderhoud’s Moc-Toe Pattern
While a few examples do exist out in the wild, the moc toe boot has been a bit of an underground skunkworks project for Rizky, who’s been toiling away on perfecting the pattern for literal years now.
When Rizky and I began speaking about a creating a second collaborative boot well over a year ago, some other patterns were certainly discussed. But the moc toe quickly won out on both ends.
Moc toes are where my entire personal boot journey started, and the opportunity to be even a small part of the development of an Onderhoud moc toe—sure to be something with honorific nods that would render it timeless and recognizable, while also pushing forward a vision that was fresh and legitimately unique—was just too good a chance to pass up.
On Rizky’s end, this moc toe exists not because it was a favorite pattern of his, but purely because he viewed it as a singular cordwaining challenge, something to be conquered in its rethinking. And I’d humbly say it worked.
Every proportion on these boots is just so damn dialed in. Boot patterns are made and broken in the millimeters; these millimeters are good millimeters. The logger boot-recalling v-notch created by the quarter and heel counter panels commingling works perfectly with the little extra bit of shaft height (over a Red Wing moc toe at least). Meanwhile, the Buteo X last interplays just beautifully with the moc-stitch, with the sidewalls rounding up into something less severe and more elegant than you’ll see on a moc-toe boot pretty much anywhere.
The Upper Leather: Wickett & Craig Black Traditional Harness
We once again opted for upper leather from 156-year-old Pennsylvania tannery Wickett & Craig, whose exclusive commitment over a century and a half to veg-tanning leather yields an exceptionally dialed-in product that feels legitimately unlike anything I’ve ever personally handled.
A jack-glazing process lends a very healthy shine to things, while lurking underneath it all, W&C’s proprietary blend of hot-stuffed oils, waxes, and tallows (animal fat!) make for a leather that is firm at the outset but works itself into something more flexible—and comfortable—quite quickly. The hand on this stuff is incredible; it’s the kind of leather you want to spend your time just resting your actual hand on.
The Wickett & Craig harness leather is not struck through; you can see the natural core quite readily on the edges throughout the boot. But the dye is thick, and very for real. Which means to activate the brown/grey teacore-ness of it all, you’re going to have to work a lot harder than some leathers that are more “overdyed” or otherwise designed to have their top coat of dye scuff off more easily to reveal a lighter-colored interior. And we never see a single thing wrong with toiling to earn your patina.
Here’s a solid look at a well-worn Dome pair made with the exact same leather.
A Truly Handmade Construction
What I wrote over three years ago remains true today: “every Onderhoud pair is hand-lasted, hand-welted, and just about hand-everythinged.” On these, the white contrast upper triple-stitching—which provides a subtle but noticeable pop of personality—is truly the only part of the boot not put together completely by hand.
Said handwork includes the absolutely stunning moc-toe stitch sitting perfectly positioned atop a single-piece vamp; the delicately sculpted low-curve woodsman heel; and of course Rizky’s trademark “crooked” sole stitching on the immaculate single-row flat handwelt construction. Bottoming things off is an off-white Dr. Sole Supergrip II half-sole and heel, which gives a slight nod to white wedge-soled moc toes the world over.
Back inside, the boot’s vamp is lined for comfort and support of the toebox—this is NOT an unstructured-toe boot—while everything else remains unlined to create a lighter-weight, easier to break in, just overall more manageable boot.
The feeling of wearing truly handmade boots is in some ways difficult to fully describe. There’s something quite visceral that boils right up to the wearer throughout the entire construction process, which can absolutely be sensed every time they’re pulled on. But there are tangible facets to each pair. On these, my favorite is likely how the heel counter’s curvature creates a cup that grabs your heel and simply won’t let go…but in an extremely comforting way (after a brief getting-to-know-you period).
The Onderhoud Buteo X Last—and Sizing
Onderhoud’s Buteo X last is an exciting evolution of the brand’s Buteo last, which has predominately been used for the Onderhoud’s LCV01 lace-to-toe lineman boots, and has long been a favorite over here.
So what’s changed? Gone is the bulk of the Buteo last’s toe-spring (it was a lot!), and the actual vertical rise of said toe box has been reduced noticeably. Together, those changes chill out the toe box profile more than a bit—it’s without question a very grown-up version of the original Buteo last.
Rest assured we can work hand-in-hand on sizing all day and night if you end up pre-ordering a pair, but my widest possible advice is to go a half-size down from a D-width Brannock size for a snug, borderline dress-shoe fit with thinner socks, or potentially go true to size with thicker socks, or if you’re in need of more volume from the D-width last. Anyone with C-width feet, you should feel comfortable entering as well and we can work on sizing. True E-width, you’re also likely good, but probably need to size up in length. Anything with more volume than E width, unfortunately you’re likely out of luck this time around.
How to Pre-Order a Pair
Rizky will be hand-making only 8 pairs of these Onderhoud x Stitchdown collaborative boots, which should be delivered worldwide by August of 2023 (aka, in ample time for the Patina Thunderdome 3).
The price of each pair, complete with worldwide shipping, is $750. A $375 deposit will be due up front, with the remaining $375 due upon your pair’s completion.
Sizes 38 to 46 will be available, including half-sizes.
Due to the limited quantity, the 8 pairs will be made available for pre-order only to Stitchdown Premium community members, via a random lottery in the Stitchdown Discord—a membership for which goes so far to help support all Stitchdown operations.
Aka: if you dig these boots, and have been wondering about the honestly amazing and rare footwear-lovers’ community we’ve been building in said Discord (for going on four years now!), getting a shot at a pair seems like a fantastic excuse to check the whole situation out.
The lottery draw will take place on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. So just be sure to become a Stitchdown Premium member prior to that, and find the pinned message in the Onderhoud x Stitchdown channel in the Stitchdown Discord to get in on the draw. There will unfortunately be no refunds or exchanges on these collaborative boots.
More info on Stitchdown Premium and the Discord can be found here. Good luck to all who enter!!