"If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for a good pair of "something" to put on your feet. It's not easy to find footwear that strikes a balance of functionality and comfort. Which lead me to ask a fundamental question to myself: if you were to create a piece of footwear that matches the versatility, wearability and comfort of a pair of Bills Khakis, what would it be?
My determination to answer this question led me to one of the last remaining boot factories still in the United States, requiring a 12 hour drive to northern Maine. To say "they make boots there the old fashioned way" is an understatement. This is a factory that still practices the art of "hand sewing." It's really more arduous labor than art. With 6 inch needles and 1/8" thick thread, each of the 50 hand stitches required to attach the "plug" (the top of the boot that makes up the tongue, fore foot and toe) to the "vamp" (the leather pieces that wrap around the sides of the foot) closely resembles a wrestling match between craftsman and shoe. Without a doubt, it is the most impressive combination of skill and physical exertion that I have ever seen inside a manufacturing environment. Each boot can take up to an hour to complete. The benefit of this hand sewn construction is unparalleled comfort, with each stitched leather piece molding to the idiosyncrasies of the wearer's foot. So often, boots and shoes fall short in either comfort or functionality. The Bills Khakis Chukka Boot performs a bit like a jeep, getting you to and from work, but fully capable of going off road when called upon"