Oak Street Bootmakers is a brand new company that’s made a very strong showing right out of the gate with its Fall 2010 collection. Many thanks to James from Secret Forts and to Ryan Plett for bringing them to my attention.
The shoes are all designed in Chicago by native George Vlagos, who learned the trade by apprenticing as a cobbler his father’s shop. The production is done by hand in Maine by craftsmen with 20+ years of experience.
Components are top shelf as well. All the leather is Horween Chromexcel, which is extremely durable but still pliable and comfortable (the result of an intense–and exclusive–series of treatments during tanning). The rubber sole options are done by Vibram. And all of the shoes and boots feature replaceable soles. This makes for a much longer lifespan, as you can simply resole and keep on truckin’ with your well-worn, well-loved uppers.
The shapes for the debut are all classics: there’s a boat shoe, a trail oxford (which strikes me as quite similar to your basic blucher moc, but no complaints), and two versions of a penny loafer for sale online now. Soon to be seen: a chukka, a work boot, and a hunt boot.
I’m certainly looking forward to seeing that hunt boot, myself, but that’s not to say there isn’t a solid selection available already. There is. In fact I could sincerely see myself buying up the whole lot in an alternate universe where money is no object and nothing ever sells out.
But alas, I won’t be buying the entire collection. Not just because I don’t have the funds, but because some the innaguaral offerings are already gone. Most prices hover around the low to mid $200s, which is very reasonable considering the materials and methods employed in their creation. So it’s not really shocking that folks are scooping ‘em up quick.
At the time of this writing, both of the penny loafer options and the navy trail oxfords have sold out. Tragic, but at least the photographs remain.
The rest of the line is heading the same way, and fast. If you’re looking to score a pair for yourself and avoid further tragedy, get on it now.
(Images courtesy of Oak Street Bootmakers)