Hiking Boots | Handcrafted America


♪ ♪WHEN YOU LOVE HIKING AS
MUCH AS I DO, GREAT BOOTS ARE AMUST,
LIKE THESE BEAUTIES. AND THE ARTISAN WHO MADE
THESE BOOTS, MADE THEM FOR WALKING. I MEAN, LITERALLY, THESE BOOTS
WERE MADE FOR WALKING!♪ ♪FELTON, CALIFORNIA IS HOME TO
SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL
HIKING TRAILS IN THE COUNTRY.IT’S ALSO HOME TO A MAN WHO HAS
PERFECTED THE HIKER’S
MOST IMPORTANT TOOL.KEVIN, V/O:
IT’S INCREDIBLY GRATIFYING TO HELP PEOPLE TO WALK
WITH COMFORT.JILL, V/O: KEVIN LEAHY, OWNER
OF LEAHY CUSTOM HIKING BOOTS,
HAS BEEN STUDYING
THE ART OF MAKING SHOES
FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS.WHEN HE WAS A YOUNG BOY, KEVIN
HAD PROBLEMS WITH HIS FEET.
I HAD ALWAYS HAD FOOT PROBLEMS, AND WORE SPECIAL SHOES. I THINK, ON… A CERTAIN LEVEL, I ALWAYS
WANTED TO FIX MY FEET.JILL, V/O: AFTER MANY YEARS
OF STUDYING ORTHOTICS,
HE DECIDED TO OPEN
HIS OWN BUSINESS
HANDCRAFTING HIKING BOOTS.HE’S THE ONLY BOOTMAKER IN THE
COUNTRY MAKING PLASTER CASTS
OF HIS CUSTOMERS’ FEET.THIS, OF COURSE, ENSURES
THE PERFECT FIT!
KEVIN: THEY LOVE ‘EM…
THEY REALLY DO. THEY FIND THAT THEY CAN
HIKE FURTHER… MAYBE TAKE TRIPS THAT THEY
WEREN’T ABLE TO DO BEFORE. OKAY, THE FIRST THING THAT
WE’RE GOING TO DO IS TAKE IMPRINTS OF THE
BOTTOM OF YOUR FEET. THESE ARE PRESSURE-SENSITIVE THAT SHOWS WHERE THE
PRESSURE SPOTS ARE.♪ ♪I HOPE I MAKE
A GOOD “IMPRESSION!”
♪ ♪NEXT, KEVIN MEASURES 7 PRECISESPOTS ON MY FOOT, THEN HE FITSME WITH A FIBERGLASS CAST.KEVIN: WELL, WE’LL HAVE AN
EXACT REPLICA OF YOUR FOOT. IT’LL HAVE YOUR ARCH EXACTLY
AS YOUR ARCH IS AND THEN WE’LL ADD
SOME TOE ROOM AND SNUG IT UP AROUND THE HEEL JUST SO THAT IT DOESN’T
SLIP IN THE HEEL.JILL, V/O: KEVIN THEN CREATES
PLASTER MOLDS
OUT OF THE FIBERGLASS.THIS MAKES WHAT IS CALLED
A “LAST”
A PERFECT, PLASTER
REPLICA OF MY FOOT.
KEVIN: WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO
NOW IS VACUUM-FORM THIS FOAM AND CORK TO MAKE AN
ARCH SUPPORT. WITH US PUTTING IN AN ARCH
SUPPORT AFTER THE FACT, WE’RE MOLDING THE ENTIRE
STRUCTURE AROUND THELASTAND THEARCH SUPPORTAT THE SAME
TIME SO YOU GET AN EXACT FIT. THIS IS A RUBBER BLADDER.
IT’S GOING TO VACUUM-FORM THE FOAM AND THE CORK TO THE
SHAPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THELAST.JILL, V/O: THE RUBBER PULLS THE
HEAVY BLADDER AROUND THE FORM
SO TIGHTLY THAT
AFTER 30 MINUTES,
WHEN KEVIN RELEASES THE LID,
THE ARCH WILL STAY FOREVER!
NOW, WE TAKE IT OUT AND SEE
WHAT WE’VE GOT. JILL: DO ALL
SHOEMAKERS HAVE THIS? THE GOOD ONES DO. THE GOOD ONES DO!
[LAUGHING]
[SUCTIONING]JILL: COOL! WELL, WE’LL HAVE TO DO SOME
WORK TO THAT, RIGHT? KEVIN: YEAH, WE’VE GOT TO
FLATTEN THE BOTTOM AND THEN WE’VE GOT TO TRIM IT DOWN SO
THAT IT FITS INSIDE OF THE BOOT. THIS IS A COUNTER, THIS IS ONE
OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF THE BOOT. YOU CAN’T EVER SEE IT IN SHOES
BECAUSE IT’S IN BETWEEN THE LINING AND THE UPPER LEATHER.
THIS IS WHAT KEEPS THE HEEL IN PLACE, BUT ALSO
REINFORCES THE ARCH SUPPORT. NOW, WE NEED TO
MAKE THE LEATHER UPPER THAT COVERS THE BOOT.JILL, V/O: KEVIN USES TWO KINDS
OF VERY SIMPLE GERMAN CALF
LEATHER FOR HIS BOOTS.KEVIN: I MAKE MY PATTERNS
FROM SCRATCH SO ALL OF THESE CURVES
ARE DESIGNED TO FIT THE INDIVIDUAL PERSON.JILL, V/O: NEXT, THE LEATHER
IS SEWN TOGETHER
ON A SEWING MACHINE
SPECIFICALLY
SET UP FOR SHOEMAKING.KEVIN HAS TO SEW 16 PIECES
OF LEATHER TOGETHER
FOR 1 PAIR OF BOOTS!OKAY JILL, NOW
WE’RE GOING TO PUT THE COUNTER
INSIDE THE UPPER, AND THEN WE’RE GOING
TO STRETCH THIS… FLOPPY PIECE OF LEATHER
INTO A BOOT.♪ ♪GETTING IT STRAIGHT ON THERE
IS THE FIRST THING.♪ ♪[STAPLING]JILL: SO, JUST… RIGHT THERE? KEVIN: YEAH.[STAPLING]LOOK AT THAT!ONCE THE LEATHER IS STRETCHED
AND GLUED,
THE BOOT NEEDS TO DRY
FOR TWO DAYS.
NOW, WE PUT THE LACE IN.JILL, V/O: THE SOLES
ARE GLUED ON,
AND, AT LAST,
THE BOOTS ARE FINISHED!
IT TAKES KEVIN A WEEK TO MAKE A
SINGLE PAIR OF HIKING BOOTS.
ONE PAIR COSTS $2,000.SO, THIS IS REALLY THE MAGIC
MOMENT WHERE WE WENT FROM THE MAKING THE MOLD,
MAKING THE INSERTS, MAKING THE ARCH-SUPPORTS,
DESIGNING THE UPPERS, SEWING EVERYTHING TOGETHER,
AND NOW IT’S BECOMING A BOOT!JILL: I SEE IT,
AND IT’S BEAUTIFUL!
I WAS REALLY, REALLY JUST
IMPRESSED WITH THE QUALITY
OF HIS BOOTS…I MEAN THEY’RE
SECOND-TO-NONE.
I FEEL LIKE I CAN HIKE
50 MILES IN THESE BOOTS!

2 Comments

  • As a person with plantar fasciitis, and surgeries on my feet ,no doubt I would be interested!
    At the $ 2000 dollar mark, they ought to walk to my feet and tie themselves on my foot. ..
    Of course, health care insurance will not cover the cost.
    Seems like a nice guy and quality work,but nothing I can afford as tho I desperately need.

  • I was sold till I heard the price 😖 I can see the amount of work and effort in them but just way too pricey for me 😞

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