Long before I launched Stitchdown, I had a serious problem with shoes and boots: I couldn’t stop looking at them. In stores, on Instagram, on shoemakers’ websites, on shops’ websites, on the feet of basically every single person I walked past. It’s possible that one of two of you have experienced similar symptoms. Since starting this publication, believe it or not, this issue has become exacerbated.
The solution? Just keep looking! And so from time to time, in addition to the new releases and makeups we cover, I’m going to post stories about footwear I just can’t get out of my head, or eyesight. This is the first.Wesco is among the most heritage of heritage American bootmakers. Founded by John H. Shoemaker (for real), they began making purpose-built boots for loggers in the Pacific Northwest in 1918. That specialty remains a major part of their family-owned business, as time has seen the West Coast Shoe Company (its full name) expand into other work boot needs, become embraced by the motorcycle community, and also create more and more of what could certainly be termed lifestyle boots from their small factory in Scappoose, Oregon.
The Axe Breakers, for me, may be the pinnacle of that last pursuit. One could certainly argue that they’re not completely dissimilar in design from some other boots on the market, most specifically the famed service boots from Viberg.But there’s something about them that keeps bringing me back to look at them on Standard and Strange’s web shop. The simple brogued toe cap, the kiss of extra height on the heel, the quad stitching on the quarter. Or maybe it’s just the build of the things. You can tell, just by looking at the pictures, that these things are constructed like a Humvee, and possibly weigh about the same.The leather is also interesting: a black horsehide tea-core Chromexcel from Horween. The tea-core is designed to display a brown shade that’s noticeably lighter than the black when it gets scuffed, creating a constantly evolving thumbprint of the life you put your boots through. Which basically makes it impossible to baby them (a very good thing).Cool leathers, spellbinding looks, and Wesco build quality don’t come cheap—these are $775 all in. But Wescos are constructed to last a lifetime, and you can be guaranteed that I will stare at your boots for a considerable amount of time if I see you on the street.