Anyone wear custom “forest fire” boots?

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by Mikewood, Dec 22, 2017.

  1. Mikewood

    Mikewood Guide

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    I am considering some custom hand made boots from nicks, whites or another vendor. As you may know they are expensive but can be rebuilt many times. What brand do you have and how well do they last? Think I might go rough side out but not sure about the heel. There are a ton of options but not much explanation of what is what. I just don’t want to fly to Spokane WA to buy boots.

    Thanks if you have a pair post pics please.
     
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  2. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've got some White's. Fantastic boots. I will try and get some pictures. I believe it was sold and bought by another company in 2014 or 2015 though, which is rarely a good thing for the consumer. I have heard great things about Nick's, I think @Hawkcreek might use them
     
  3. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    Whites here. Quite a few pairs and many rebuilds over many years. My newest are since the buyout, they're still good. I've also got a pair of Nicks, but kind of prefer the Whites.
    No real good reason, just habit.

    20171125_095017.jpg
     
  4. perrymk

    perrymk Supporter Supporter

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    I wear Allegiance Footwear boots. Technically a work boot but I use them for hiking. After several hundred miles there is virtually no wear, only some discoloration due to the muck I hike through. Mine are semi-custom in that I had a few changes made to a standard model. One pays a little extra for this but still the total was under $250 (it may have been $210 but I don't recall for sure). In addition I replaced the insoles with heat moldable insoles at a cost of $40-50.
     
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  5. derfalmaus

    derfalmaus Scout

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    I've had White's, wearing a pair of Nick's right now and will be getting measured for a pair of Frank's when they come to Texas in January. I have EXTREMELY high arches and wide feet and they're literally the only boot that supports my arch without a custom insert. Frank used to be the manager for Nick's and started his own shop when Nick's was purchased. If you want the details Nick's used to do, I recommend Frank's: https://franksboots.com/.
     
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  6. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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  7. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Whites are garbage. I bought my first pair almost 20 years ago and they WERE a good boot. I still have and wear that original pair. I bought another pair around 2012 or so and they made it about 3 years before needing full rebuild. That rebuild lasted exactly ONE working (construction not anything especially hard on boots like a fire line) day before they were coming apart. I went to Nicks after that and couldn't be happier. I've heard a lot of people say Whites hurt their feet and took them time to break in but other than being a little stiff for the first few days I never found Whites to be a hard break in. My Nicks on the other hand took me quite a while to break in and they did in fact hurt my feet for a bit. I've had them about 5 years now and they still look new. I havent gotten a pair of Franks yet but my next pair of boots will be from one of those two companies for sure.

    I got rough out on my Nicks, both pairs of Whites were smooth side out. It depends on what you're doing. For me I dont think I'd get rough out again. The smooth side out was easier to keep oiled up and waterproofed to some degree, the rough out collects dirt/mud easier but doesnt show scratches near as easy if that matters to you. Stacked leather heels from these companies are the real deal and being that they can come off (dont ask me how I know) but its a pretty easy self repair. That being said its only happened once and it was entirely my fault.

    I wear heavy boots every day, once they are formed to my foot I'd rather wear them than slippers.

    Any of those companies should be able to build you a fitted pair of boots without visiting them in person. Call them to know what exactly they want but my first pair of Whites I drew a pattern of my foot and took some measurements and they build them off of that while I was stationed on the other side of the country.

    A final note, they are not the ideal hiking boot. At least none of mine are to me. I sweated through my pair of Nicks once on a "super easy" hike with some forum members. @xRangerx will remember that hike I'm sure.
     
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  8. field-expedient

    field-expedient Misfit Supporter Bushclass II

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    Whites here too, several pairs and several rebuilds. been wearing them for over twenty years, always been happy with them.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    I would disagree that Whites are garbage, although it sounds like @Hawkcreek had better luck with Nicks.
    I use my Whites on firelines and other woods work, they're every day on my feet as well. I never had a pair last over about 3 seasons without a need to be at least resoled even 20 years ago.
    Never had the boot fail faster than the soles wearing out, that's all I ask.
    The reason I wear them isnt that I expect a lifetimes wear, that's unrealistic. Boots are a wear item and operating expense to me. But I expect them to take care of my feet and these do. As will Nicks, or Franks I'm sure.
     
  10. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    How could I forget that easy hike through the woods?
     
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  11. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Do your boots have the fire rated sole? I know the fire sole isn't as durable as the standard vibram but as I'm not a firefighter I never opt for that. On my boots it's always the stitching or the brass that starts to go long before the sole (working around cattle I found barn yard muck is HARD on the thread). I got the fire rated thread on my Nicks because I was working as a welder at the time and they told me even that wasn't as long wearing as the standard cotton thread but so far it's holding up great.
     
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  12. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    Two fold answer @Hawkcreek.

    I wear the smokejumper which is fire rated, its UL listed inside the tongue. That's the picture above.

    I also keep a pair of whites packers, they have the mini vibram and I don't think they are UL listed.

    I would say the smokejumper is a longer wearing sole, but it's a lot deeper tread. So not sure it's apples to apples. Both vibram brand though.

    I spend a lot of time in corrals and manure, obviously, and it's pretty hard on boots for sure.
    Just as bad as ash on fires.
    I guess ones extreme acidic, the other alkaline.
     
  13. blacksprucy

    blacksprucy Tracker

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    I second the comment about Franks Boots. I have been a Nicks customer for over 15 years, but now am wearing Franks boots. Nicks has expanded their operation to cater to the fashion market after the business was recently sold to another owner. It seems a lot of their focus is getting diverted that direction at the expense of their work boot operation now. They still make extremely good work boots, but after recently getting a new pair of Franks boots lately I am convinced Franks quality and toughness surpasses what Nicks is currently producing out of their factory right now. Apparently, the shop foreman and a number of the craftsmen did not like the new direction Nicks was going, so quit and started up their own shop.

    If you do not like the high logger heel (I hate it - does not work with my foot), both Nicks and Franks make a regular low heel boot. Is still has a heel, but not stacked leather - more like a hiking boot. Franks calls theirs the Groundpounder which is the model I purchased.

    https://franksboots.com/work-boots/

    Wait times from them is around 4-6 weeks.

    Franks is a small operation and you can just call them up and discuss what you need/want or e-mail them - jr@franksboots.com

    They can size you up very accurately from foot tracings which you then mail in and they then determine your size or have a pair custom made from the tracings. Personally, I have not found the need for the custom fit and the correctly sized boot fit like a glove.

    Regarding rough-out vs smooth-out boots. Rough-outs will be more resistant to scuffs and cuts in leather than smooth. Smooth is generally more water resistant (once greased up). I work in wet environments so opted for the smooth.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
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  14. Simplejack

    Simplejack Scout

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    Just darkened up with a few coats of Lincolns wax polish. Then oiled and greased in some mermac . Made in 04 and had 20180707_002344.jpg 1 rebuild and 1 resole. 20180708_154845.jpg
     
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