A One On One With White's Boots
As the legend goes, Edward White established a one man shoe shop in Connecticut before the Civil War. He was the first of three generations of bootmakers to span from 1853 to 1972—a remarkable feat for a family business in America. Edward never dreamed the ‘White boot’ would soon be a source of pride to lineman and log drivers and smokejumpers in the Pacific Northwest. His only dream was to make a good boot and get paid for it.
What makes White’s Boots stand out from other American Made brands?
That after 170 years, we still build our boots the same way. Old school craftmanship. We're one of the last remaining boot manufacturers in the states that still offer a hand-welted Stitchdown product. There's a pretty significant difference between our Handsewn Stitchdown(hand-welted) boots and standard Stitchdown boots. During the hand-welting process, the bootmaker uses an awl and thread to stitch the vamp (the piece of leather that comprises the toe and main body of the upper) directly into the insole of the boot, 3 stitches to the inch. In addition to removing the need for either the canvas welt strip associated with a Goodyear Welt, or the glue associated with a standard Stitchdown, a hand-welt is by far the most durable construction type available - a very slow one-boot-at-a-time process.
We're still very hands-on when it comes to the boot ordering process. We have a team that will analyze each customer's foot tracings and measurements to ensure they're getting the best fitting pair of boots for their specific feet. If you're local, we have dedicated fitting specialists at our retail store in Spokane that will take an even closer look. Every now and then, a customer will require their own set of custom Lasts to help with fitting issues. We still make those by hand through a process that hasn't changed since the early 1900s.
Most people will wear our boots because of the fit and comfort. The higher arch support you get from our lineup Arch-Ease™ Lasts helps align your back and keep your posture correct. Otto White spent 20 years studying the anatomy of the foot and found his way to a ‘scientifically built’ boot. In 1926, Arch-Ease™ was trademarked. We currently offer more than 15 different Lasts and have a team of experts to help each customer find the best fit for their feet.
Can you share a moment or story as a bootmaker that encouraged you?
The best part of being a bootmaker is in the training of other bootmakers. It’s very time-consuming and difficult to learn the art of shoemaking. It takes about 2000-3000 pair, that’s about 3 years to really get the process down. It’s a great feeling seeing a bootmaker that you have trained to be able to be a successful bootmaker himself.
What do you like about White’s Boots?