Is it just me, or did my body start to decay when I turned 35? Stuff started to sag, flake, go limp, and just plain fall out. Things look blurry before my evening scotch. Last week I sustained a serious sports injury when I reached too far over my head to get the T.V. remote.
I thought at least my feet were safe from this slow death, but no. They keep getting wider and wider, which means my favorite boots, boots I’ve had for years, are too tight. Too bad it’s impossible to buy a new pair of old boots for obvious reasons—or is it?
Did you know Guanajuato, Mexico, an old colonial town tucked up in the mountains is known for fine leathercraft? I didn’t either, but I didn’t know about Gasolina boots. The small company advertises on all the hipster cafe-racer sites, because hand-crafted artisanship is valued by the Hipster, and that’s actually a very good thing. But rather than take advantage of the bulging wallet of the hipster crowd, Gasolina is taking the high road, selling high-quality, hand-made leather footwear for mass-produced, made-in-China prices.
Send Gasolina a detailed set of measurements, including a tracing of your foot. You can custom-order almost any aspect you choose, including shaft height, sole type, color, thread color and you can even get perforated leather in case you’re a sweaty-footed little feller like me. I ordered mine with perforated leather, no straps, gold stitching and the 10-inch shaft (settle down! There are ladies present). List price, with those options was $229—the basic “Shortcut” boot is $199. The ordering process was fast and easy, with good response via email from Gasolina.
Just a few weeks later, I got a Fedex box with the boots tucked into a heavy woolen bag inside. All of a sudden, my office smelled like 1973, redolent with leather and oily wool and I wanted to smoke an unfiltered Pall Mall. But no time to start a new vice—I slipped on my new boots instead.
I was expecting an uncomfortable, plasticky, stiff, made-in-China experience at this price level, but these boots are nicely made and don’t really need break-in, though that may be due to the flexibility of the perforated leather. They are as comfortable as a pair of hard soles can be—get some thin insoles and you could probably get away with using them as work boots—and the look is timeless class, with no plastic parts or bright logos. There is no armor other than some light padding and double leather over the ankles, but they do stay securely on your feet (opt for the adjustable strap for even more security) and the leather is tough and thick. No, they don’t qualify as ATGATT, but nobody wears ultimate protection every day unless they drive their car (you’re asking for it! – ed.).
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to like these boots as much as I do, but they’re pretty great—boots I can wear day in and day out for years (they’re re-soleable, though the soles don’t have a brand name on them—I expect them to wear quickly). Getting this kind of hand-crafted gear for under $200 is a great thing. I’d rather get my old feet back, but this is the next best thing (when can we expect the beard and flannel shirt? – ed.).