By way of contributing editor Eli M. Getson, The Selvedge Yard presents an interesting and rare look into the Chippewa boot brand. With a history dating back to 1901, the brand has still continued on to this day, arguably picking up steam amongst the current heritage revival. Formerly made mostly for loggers, the boot’s storied heritage and their high-quality offerings quickly made the cross over into fashion in different markets, most notably Japan. Excerpts from the interview can be seen below as we expect more developments from Chippewa in 2010 as they push the agenda of “rugged luxury”.
What’s the biggest market for Chippewa outside of the US?
“Japan– we produce Japan specific styles using fashion leather, like mixing cordovan and sand suede, don’t know if we are bought by the working guy over there, it’s pretty high end. In the last ten years there has been an amazing embrace of iconic American brands and they love us for our heritage, style, and commitment to quality. It’s fun for me when I am there to see Chippewa snake boots matched with mini-skirts, and $2000 handbags in Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo. It is very common in Japan for someone to pay $1000 USD plus for a pair of vintage Chippewa’s. We are considered a rugged luxury item there and will be doing this type of product for the US and Europe soon.”
I’ve worn Chippewa Loggers for a long time, why are they so great?
“We don’t settle, we look for best in class materials, largely made here in America. We use non tarnishable eyelets; leather Robus mid soles, leathers that are beautiful, heavy, and rugged (between 4-6 ounces per sq. ft.). We use Vibram outsoles and are the only company who does joint development with Vibram; so every shoe and boot has an extra element of performance and durability. This is a macho product, so it has to last. We are not the cheapest, but we are the best value in terms of what you get.”