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Customer Review

75 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice boot, January 22, 2011
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This review is from: Chippewa Men's 6" Rugged Handcrafted Lace-Up Boot (Apparel)
I meant to buy another pair of my favorite Carolina boots only to discover that model is no longer being made. The Carolina boot that replaced it is now made in China. I have nothing against products made in other countries per se, however, I have been very disappointed in the sizing of almost every pair of shoes/boots I have ever bought that was made in China. I wear a US size 11EE as measured numerous times over the years in numerous shoe stores. Unfortunately, this often translated into Chinese-made shoes and boots in sizes up to 12 EEEEE (one brand of well-known boots I tried in size 13 EW was too small for my size 11 foot).

After discovering the Carolina boots were no longer available, I intended to go by the Red Wing store but looked at their prices and backed off. Red Wings are good shoes but Red Wing really likes them a lot. It was time to try something different. I was happy to find out that Chippewa still makes their products in the USA and continues to maintain a good reputation at a reasonable price. I had never owned any Chippewa boots before but I went ahead and ordered my usual 11EE from Amazon.

The boots fit well. At first, they felt a little loose. I put on some thicker socks and tightened the lacing. New leather boots always need time to conform to your feet and some heel slipping is pretty much normal until the soles flex a bit. After a couple of hours wear, they began to feel really good. As the leather stretches and molds, it is easier to tighten the laces and the looseness is gone. They feel good and the rounded toes offer plenty of "wiggle room". In other words, they fit true-to-size for my feet.

They appear to be well made. While the label says "Handcrafted In The USA" it does not say "Made In...". As best I can tell from this difference in wording, the boots were put together here in the USA but the leather and other materials may have been made in another country. It seems many American tanneries have closed due to environmental regulations that made it unprofitable to continue to produce leather. The tanning of most leather today is done--where else?--China. So while shoes and boots may still be "handcrafted" in the USA, the materials are often from other countries. At least the actual manufacture of the boot is here and Chippewa continues to build these boots to fit my made in the USA foot.

Will these boots last for many years of frequent hard use? This is still an unknown. What I can say is that the boots appear to be put together well, they are comfortable on my feet and they fit perfectly. The material looks to be quality leather, oil-tanned. The soles are by Vibram but they are not heavily lugged so you won't bring a lot of debris in the house. I like them a lot and I am very satisfied with the boot. I may order a second pair as a hedge against this model being discontinued or production moving out of the country.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 29, 2014 11:09:14 AM PDT
James Detjen says:
Thank you again EPA....we just want to help you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2014 10:39:47 PM PDT
Mateo Hao says:
American tanneries did not close their factories because environmental regulations are too stringent. How would you explain to your investors that you suddenly lost the entirety of your operational ability because you couldn't make cleaner leather? Only stupid, young businesses make that mistake, and that's why so many fail. Old, reputable tanneries aren't stupid. The only reason they did business in America was because they were American to begin with; there is no reason for an American tannery to stay in America otherwise, especially if they can be more successful overseas satisfying the growing demands of a rising middle class many times larger than there are humans in the continental US.

If you want to increase capacity, you either increase sales, or reduce capacity to open up more elsewhere. Labor, being expensive in the tanning industry, is a huge motivator to move overseas, where human appliances are cheaper and can be operated for longer hours. By partnering with existing tannery companies overseas, you eliminate any capital expenditures needed to open your own factory and reduce any obligations to the labor laws of your country to nothing since you are now a partner (or really, a glorified client) and therefore have no factory employees. Most of the top-level shoe-leather firms in the United States have business partnerships of this manner. Increased capacity equals a lower cost per unit and therefore a more attractive price point to the rising middle class of the 21st century. The popularity of this boot, assembled with materials made overseas, signifies approval by the American consumer, because money is speech and a monetary transaction is a contract. Every time you purchase something, you are expressing a freely made statement of consent to the conditions and implications of that contract.

Smart businesses aren't forced to move-they choose to do so, because business has no nationality. And you choose for that reality to exist, too.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 26, 2014 5:12:51 PM PDT
Really? The expense incurred to meet environmental regulations had no effect on American tanneries? Especially when other expenses increase? There is always a final nail in the coffin and environmental regulations are often that final nail.
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