Nick's Boots "Ranger" custom-made boots

Nick's After waiting for 2 months these boots have finally arrived and are ready for the length break-in process
Nick's "Ranger" Boots have arrived

All of my shoes have leather uppers and almost all of them have leather soles. Once I went to handmade Goodyear-welted quality shoes I never looked back and haven't purchased cheap footwear since. I had a set of office shoes made for me over 10 years ago (an Oxford, a Brogue and a mini-boot in Brogue from Halfs in Munich) that I wear in rotation, although the leather soles wear out quickly they are easy to resole.
I have a pair of motorcycle boots that has a Vibram sole and some mid-range hiking/walking shoes but decided to give Red Wing a try to see what all the hype was all about. While in the USA at the beginning of 2020 I went to a Red Wing store in Annapolis and got fitted for a pair of Iron Ranger 8111 boots, see my Iron Ranger page.
I decided that I wanted a pair of sturdy work and walking boots, a step up from the Iron Rangers and decided to purchase boots from Nick's Boots out of Spokane in Washington State, USA. They make work boots for heavy-duty use as well as some lighter models for office use and have an excellent reputation amongst firefighters and tradespeople. They not only make these boots to order, they do it by hand as well. All of this comes with some "gotchas" - the price is more than many are willing to spend, the fitting process takes some time, the manufacture takes a while and for those who order from overseas the shipping and customs fees add up as well.
It took almost a month to get my fitting sheet (according to the online tracking, the letter spent over 2 weeks in the USPS San Francisco distribution center), which added to the total order time of 3 months. I knew that the European VAT was 19% and figured that into the cost of the shoes, but was surprised that I had to pay over 40€ in tariffs as well. But now, after all that waiting, the boots are here!
I ordered them pretty much standard, with chestnut leather (smooth-side out) and with the option of adding comfort inserts. After unpacking the boots and insert in the comfort insoles plus putting on my boot socks I put on the boots. At least I tried, they were incredibly snug. Perhaps snug is an understatement, they were really tight and I needed the pull-on straps to get my feet in. The custom-fitting process has worked, as one of my feet is larger than the other, yet both shoes felt equally constricting. I laced up both boots - a process that took longer than I am used because of the boot height and wondered how long I would be able to keep them on before the blood flow to my nether extremeties would be cut off...
Despite the extreme fit I could feel that the length was correct and that they were equally snug everywhere. I tried walking around a bit and felt like Herman Munster from The Munsters as the boots had absolutely no give at all. In fact it felt like they were as stiff as ski boots when those are clinched down tight. I contacted Nick's via emal and asked if perhaps they hadn't accounted for the comfort insoles in the boot sizing but the reply came back that the boots are initially often "uncomfortably snug". I can see that I am going to have a long and difficult break-in period and don't foresee going outside with them for a long time - they are going to be worn inside for a couple of hours at a time and won't see the outdoors until I know I can walk normally and for more than a couple of hundred meters.
These are some serious boots and the build quality is nonpareil. The leather is cut from a single hide so everything matches perfectly and the stitching is clean and solid. I have a feeling that these are going to be my favorite heavy footwear for years to come, once I get past the break-in period.

Nick's After waiting for 2 months these boots have finally arrived and are ready for the length break-in process
Nick's "Ranger" Boots have arrived
First time wearing the boots After waiting for 2 months these boots have finally arrived and are ready for the length break-in process
First time wearing the boots
After two days wearing at home After waiting for 2 months these boots have finally arrived and are ready for the length break-in process
After two days wearing at home
Thick soles on the Rangers After waiting for 2 months these boots have finally arrived and are ready for the length break-in process
Thick soles on the Rangers
67 views since 2020-06-30, page last modified on 2020-06-30.