Shop Visit and Q&A With Outlined Cloth

We enjoy having anyone and everyone come and visit us at the shop. It's even more exciting when you have a very influential fashion and lifestyle blogger come in and check out what we do.

Our friend Devin of Outlined Cloth came and visited the shop. He brought his (very fashionable and lovely) fiancé Marlene and lovely mother Darleen with him to check out the shop. 

For those of you who don't know, Devin is the man behind Outlined Cloth. A fashion and lifestyle blog based around functional and fashionable men's goods. His Instagram has shown a way to combine workwear with daily fashionable outfits. He has influenced many brands, as well as an unknown amount of followers with his fashion sense and ability to make any sort of clothing look good.

While they were here, we gave them a tour of our small shop and walked them through the process of building a Made-To-Order boot, from picking the leather, construction and finishing. Of course we had great conversations and laughs about the industry, and lifestyle that we all appreciate and support. 

After they toured the shop, took pictures, and chatted, I asked Devin to sit down for a little Q&A about his thoughts on Truman, and the quickly growing and changing industry that we're all apart of. 

What was your first impression of Truman? 
My first impression was, wow they do everything in here?! I was amazed and truly impressed that the whole process is done right there in the shop. I have not seen anything like that so I was just blown away.
What are your thoughts about the shop and us being in Boulder?
The best part about visiting the shop is meeting the faces behind the brand. Seeing the passion in the workers and hearing them talk about making boots. When we put on clothes on each day, sometimes we lose sight of the fact that there is an individual behind the brand putting it all together.  Being in Boulder is even more special for me as I was born and raised there. Even though I live in Los Angeles now, Boulder is my roots. I played sports there, went to college there
and even bought some of my first boots there at Crossroads Mall.
What do you think sets Truman apart from other companies? 
The one thing that sets Truman apart is their made-to-order boots. The customization that one can choose means you can get the boots you truly want, the way you want them. I have not seen made-to-order for this price point and quality anywhere on the market.
What other brands do you think go well with the Truman esthetic/lifestyle?
There are a couple other brands that align with the lifestyle and esthetic of Truman Boots and one is my favorite, California denim brand Freenote Cloth. I have been a fan of the product since their inception and was excited to see a handful of Freenote goods being carried in Truman’s shop. A few more would be @SlightlyAlabama and @Starkmade, both making quality goods for men.
 
Do you think having completely in-house manufacturing is something people care about? does it deter you when companies are made in giant factories where a bunch of other companies have their stuff made as well?
I absolutely believe as social media continues to grow and the story behind the brand becomes just as important as the products themselves, the fact they are doing it all in house is something people care about. I am not entirely turned off by a brand if they are making their products in a giant factory as I know there is a lot that goes into running a brand. But a company like Truman does catch your eye first and makes you want to know more about them and what they are doing.
Do you think it's important for a guy to have a pair (or more) of quality boots in their wardrobe? If so, why? 
Growing up in Colorado, it was always important for me to have a solid pair of boots. Now living in Los Angeles, I gravitate toward boots due to their comfort and they can be worn outside and in the office with ease.  I think it is essential for a guy to have at least one pair (and in my case a couple go-to pairs) of boots that they can interchange with any look. Boots can be dressed up and down, being one of the most versatile items in a man’s closet besides a solid pair of denim.
Is Made in America an important topic? Do you see people favoring US made, or do you think people are indifferent about it?
For me, I do my very best to seek out Made in America brands, I understand how hard it can be, so I am not one to judge a company for having to outsource work. I have seen a growing trend among menswear shoppers to seek well-made goods in the US. 
 
Do you see US manufacturing growing with clothing/boot production? Do you think it will continue to grow, or is it just a "fad”?
My personal opinion is that US manufacturing has peaked, but my hope is it will continue to grow. I think it is hard for any brand to be successful regardless of where they are making their product, but at times the cost of doing it in the US is too much for a brand to sustain long term. I really hope it is not just a fad, but being supportive is these brands is one way to make sure Made in America continues to thrive and grow.
What are your thoughts about so many new (clothing or boot) companies popping up, producing almost the same product, and most of the time being cheaply made overseas? 
They say that imitation is the best form of flattery, so I think it is good because it forces companies to continue to put out a better product. It is frustrating to see products being cheaply made,  but I think the competition is healthy because the repeat consumer will seek out well-made goods in the end.

 

Again, I'd like to thank Devin, Marlene, and Darleen for coming and checking out the shop. It is always great to have people come in and see how we build our boots from start to finish. 

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Weekly Wear In: Rocky Snuff Boots

This Rocky Snuff Leather from CF Stead tannery starts off with a white wax coating. As you break in and wear your boots, the wax will settle into the leather, burnish, or scuff off.

At first you'll notice the hard wear points: where your pants rub against them or where the boot creases as you walk. As the break in period continues and the wax continues to wear off you'll see the lovely suede texture of the leather show through. Each pair of these boots will patina differently, making them truly unique to each wearer.

 

This pair of Rocky Snuff has been worn hard for about 3 months. As you can see, the toe and heel of the boot have aged drastically while other areas (such as the top of the vamp) have stayed almost the same. This is just one example of how unique they can look after only a few months of wear time. 

Mohawk, Cf Stead, Truman Boot Co 

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Leather Care

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Step-by-Step Leather Care:

We suggest cleaning and conditioning your boots every two-or-so months (steps below). However, intermittently cleaning residual dirt from your boots will keep them looking nicer and make the conditioning process less time consuming. We suggest brushing your boots with a horsehair brush and wiping them down with a damp rag regularly.

1) Remove any loose dirt from your boots with a horsehair brush.

2) Wipe down your boots with a damp rag to remove any fine dirt particles.

3) If your boots are still visible dirty, use a mild leather shampoo (outlined below) to clean them more thoroughly. Your leather shampoo should come with directions, but they all work much the same way: add a small amount of water, lather the shampoo with a clean rag, and work into the leather in circular motions. Follow-up any shampoo application by wiping down your boots with a damp rag.

Note: allow your boots to fully dry before moving onto the next steps.

4) Apply conditioner to your boots. Most leather conditioners will come with directions, but applying them is fairly similar across the board. Take a very small amount of conditioner (less than you would think) and rub it into the leather with your finger in small, circular motions. For conditioners that are liquid at room temperature, it can help to apply them with a clean rag, sponge, or brush.

5) Let your boots sit overnight (or at least for a few hours) and then buff them with either a clean horsehair brush or rag.

Note: leather should not change in color significantly when conditioned. If it does you have likely applied to much conditioner; there is not real "fix" for this -- just remember to apply less conditioner next time.

Types of Leather Care Products:

There are several different types of leather care products on the market, and each serves a different purpose. We've categorized them into three primary classes: shampoos, conditioners, and waxes. Each type is described below, and examples of consumer-accessible products are given. The product lists are not meant to be all-encompassing, but we did our best to cover a wide range of available products.

Leather Shampoos:

If you are wearing your shoes in a very rugged environment, leather shampoo is an important product to keep them in tip-top shape. If a boot is caked in dirt and mud, wiping them down might won't be sufficient to get them clean; leather shampoos will help to remove stubborn dirt, but will leave the leather dehydrated. If you end up using a leather shampoo it is important to follow it up with a leather conditioner.

I have broken down the product examples into two categories: mild and strong. Mild shampoos are excellent to remove dirt, light stains, and so on. Strong shampoos will do that same, but will also begin to strip-out dyes, oils, waxes, polishes, and other finishes. Strong shampoos are notneeded for run-of-the-mill maintenance and should be used sparingly.

Examples: Various brands of saddle soap (mild), Saphir Renomat (strong), Bick 1 (strong)

Leather Conditioners:

altThis pair of Cranberry Horse Rumps had been worn for around three months without any treatment. They were then brushed, wiped down with a damp rag, and conditioned with Bick 4.

Conditioners are definitely the most important leather care product. Without them your boots will dry out, which will lead to cracking and deterioration over time. There is no steadfast rule regarding how often you should condition your leather footwear, but we suggest every two months as a guideline. Once you are in the habit of conditioning your boots you'll start to notice when they are becoming dry, which is the really the best way to determine if they need conditioning.

Every conditioner is different but application remains fairly consistent. The easiest way is to a put a small amount on the tip of your finger rub it into the leather in small, circular motions. I suggest conditioning the tongue (or somewhere else that is not highly visible) first so that you get a sense of how much conditioner to use. There should be little to no darkening of the leather post-conditioning, although vegetable tanned leathers (particularly undyed veg-tans) will darken more than other leathers. If the leather darkens significantly then you most likely applied too much conditioner, for which there is no real "fix." Boots will dry-out with wear, so we suggest wearing them harder than ever in the event that they have been over-conditioned.

Suedes, nubucks, roughouts, and other textured leathers can be difficult to apply conditioner to. Many people do not condition these types of leathers as they are prone to changing in appearance during the process, but there are several tricks that can be used to mitigate this. If your boots are unlined (all Trumans are vamp lined or fully lined) then you can apply the conditioner to the interior of the boot. Some leather conditioners come in a spray bottle, which makes application to the exterior of the boot very easy. Although this may affect the appearance of the leather, it will do so more evenly than applying by hand. Use a horsehair brush to even-out the appearance of the leather once it has been conditioned; if it still appears uneven, use a suede-brush to further even the leather.

Examples: Lexol Leather Conditioner, Huberd's Shoe Oil, Red Wing Boot Oil, Neatsfoot Oil, Bick 4, Venetian Shoe Cream1, Saphir Renovateur2

Leather Waxes:alt

Leather waxes are used to impart water resistance into leather and otherwise protect then from heavy wear. Unless you are working in your boots everyday, chances are such treatments will be overkill. Using wax products on leather will often result in it darkening and losing a lot of its character, so we suggest wearing your boots without a wax treatment to help you decide if you'd like to apply one.

Application of these products is done in much the same way as conditioners, but the amount that is applied is generally more generous. I suggest using the directions on the back of the product you are using to achieve the best results. Many people heat their boots after applying the wax (or heat the wax before applying it to their boots), but this does not help and is much more likely to harm the leather.

Examples: Various products referred to as "dubbin" or "wax," Huberd's Shoe Grease3, Obenauf's Leather Protector4, Burgol N-Juchtenfett5


1,2 Both Venetian shoes cream and Saphir Renovateur are multi-purpose products. They contain conditioner to keep leather from drying out, but also have some polishing waxes to give boots a mild shine.
3,4,5Huberd's Grease, Obenauf's LP, and Burgol N-Juch are primarily made with protective waxes, but there is a small amount of leather conditioner within them. We do not suggest using these products as a primary conditioners.

Leather Care Accessories:

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Shoe Trees:

Shoe trees have two primary uses: to help shoes maintain their shape while they are not being worn, and to wick moisture out of the leather.

Most shoe trees are constructed in the same way -- they have a spring-loaded shaft to ensure the tree fits the shoe length-wise, and they have a cedar toe to fill up the shoe width-wise. The toes of some shoe trees are adjustable in width, which is marginally better due to the fact that the width of the shoe is better accounted for. Some shoe trees are designed with a hinge rather than a spring, but that makes them less adjustable.

Cheaper shoe trees will be made of plastic rather than cedar. Although these will still help shoes to maintain their shape, the moisture-absorbing benefit of cedar will not be present.

Some high-end shoemakers offer lasted shoe trees, which are designed to fit perfectly into shoes made on their lasts. These are the best shoe-trees if you own a pair of their shoes, but few people use them.

Horsehair Brush:

Horsehair brushes should be one of your most-reached-for leather care tools. The soft bristles will not scratch delicate leathers, but still have enough rigidity to be useful.

These brushes can be used to dust-off your shoes, remove caked on dirt, or buff your shoes post-conditioning. If you plan to use one of these brushes to clean your shoes it is good practice to have a second brush for all polishing, buffing, etc.

Suede Brush:

Suede brushes are generally multi-piece tools. They will generally have several soft-rubber heads, nylon metal head, and a large rubber head. If you are trying to remove a stain or scuff from suede, nubuck, roughout, or other nappy leathers, we suggest using a horsehair brush before moving onto the softest head on your suede brush. If the mark won't come out with these, then move onto the sturdier portions of the suede brush.

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WELCOME TO COLORADO

 

A little over two months ago we decided to relocate to Boulder, Colorado. We had outgrown our workshop in the Pennsylvania countryside and felt a metropolitan area would better serve both the company and its employees.

The move went as smoothly as moves ever do, and we experienced essentially no downtime in production. In fact, the new workspace has already helped us to streamline some previously inefficient processes.

Although we do our best to build our boots based on their order date, this isn't always possible. One thing that needs to be taken into account is what I refer to as "lasting realty." We don't have an infinite number of lasts, so certain sizes are at a premium -- if there is an influx of orders in a certain size we have to push some orders back and brings others forward in order to keep production moving.

 

Our custom-made lasting racks have really helped in that regard. They allow us to quickly visualize the lasts we have available, which helps us to determine what uppers should be sewn in any given week. An upper that is sewn too far ahead of time runs the risk of being damaged, and an empty last is detrimental to productivity.

 

Having a larger workshop has also helped our sewing department. Our uppers are closed in batches, and having more floorspace allows our clicked-out uppers to be easily separated based on the thread color that will be used to close them. Every upper requires three different sewing machines, and an ill-timed thread change wastes a lot of time.

Production efficiency is always something we were thinking about, but our new shop has allowed us to carry out ideas that were previously unimplementable. We will always be working to improve our production methodologies, but we're very happy with the strides we have made since relocating to Boulder.

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