If you haven’t seen Brian the Bootmaker’s boot resoling videos, you need to change that immediately. Luckily one opportunity is right below!
Los Angeles-based Brian is a guy who wears many hats, including the literal fedora hat he’s basically never not pictured wearing, a little crookedly. His main game is hand-making boots for Role Club, his self-made line of engineer boots, service boots, chukkas, and more—which many consider to be among the finest boots available anywhere.
Brian and his mentor Ignacio “Nacho” Palacios will also happily re-build your boots by hand with essentially any outsole/midsole combo you so desire, along with a fresh hand-welt. Most people opt for the very distinctive, very cool Role Club outsoles. But others decide to turn their imaginations good and loose, like the customer below who decided to put Vibram’s love-it/hate-it mini-ripple outsole on a boot that many hold sacred: the Alden Indy.
There’s little question that the work is superb. I imagine there may be all sorts of commotion about putting this type of sole on a boot that is rarely seen with anything other its stock hardware. And, a heel. I’ll say that I’m personally not planning to do this with my own Indys! But I can also appreciate the vision and creativity of whoever did. Even though…yeah.
Back to Brian. His videos are meditative, educational, and completely wonderful. He says hello, then sets to work wordlessly—tearing off heels and soles, removing nails and cork filler, cutting old welt stitches one by one by one before rebuilding a boot step by step in ethereal fashion.
And there are plenty more extremely worthwhile videos on his YouTube Channel, which Brian has recently revived after a year or so hiatus.
Some of my favorites include these Iron Rangers getting a Role Club outsole, and a pair of Role Club Underdogs getting the same. There’s also some excellent stuff deeper back, including these Wolverine 1000 Miles and these very cool/old Santa Rosa moc-toes. But to be honest those are from a different era—shorter, and just not as beautifully produced. I also love his Anatomy of a Boot video, which takes you through parts you may or may not know. But will definitely enjoy hearing about them, from him, personally.