You know the phenomenon. No matter how hard your try, eventually, the little plastic tip on the end of your shoelaces (the official term is "aglet") will get crunched up, and slowly, you find yourself with a set of frayed laces. You could do the classic trick of burning the ends with a match to seize the fibers, but that's a temporary solution, and eventually, you'll end up exactly where you started.
Shoelaces are, of course, replaceable, and if you simply need a white or black pair for sneakers, or perhaps the classic golden variagated laces often found in leather workboots, you can switch them out if you like. But, so many pairs of shoes rely on the complement and/or contrast of the laces as a design element, and so often, you can't find a replacement.
So, instead, let's figure out how to fix shoelaces so they stay compact, useable, and fray-free.
Second only to my shovel, I count my big rainboots as my most essential yard work possession. Ever since I got them as a gift in 2010, they've kept my feet dry as I've tromped through muddy backyard gardens, turned compost piles, and cleared some seriously weedy rows of peppers on a local farm. (They made a cameo appearance on our article about digging a garden patch using only a shovel.)
Constant use has taken its toll on the natural rubber, though, so it was time to put into practice one of my favorite Depression-era maxims on frugality: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."
Let's take a look at how I patched up my leaky wellies.
I love a full-on furniture project, replete with solid joinery, elegant design, and high-quality materials. But, as any maker knows, those can take weeks or even months to sketch, mill up stock, test, fix mistakes, and rub on a finish.
So, do you know what I love even more? A simple woodworking project you can complete in a single day, or better yet, an afternoon. Something to get you some shop time, create some sawdust and shavings, and be put to practical use by dinnertime.
The team over at Gear Patrol captured a great inside look at the Legendary L.L. Bean factory in Brunswick, Maine and their process for making their iconic Bean Boots.
If you don't already own a pair of Bean Boots, I cannot recommend them enough. Their simple design and rugged craftsmanship have lasted me many years and many more into the future.
The winter to spring is a time of contrasts: the days can be bright and sunny, but the air and wind still cool and bitter. Or the air warms up, but the fog and drizzle moves in, so that it feels like early summer but the trees are all still barren branches.
So, it's the still the season of layers, but lighter ones; flexible systems that breathe, look sharp, and still keep you warm and dry during days that span lions and lambs and showers and flowers and those sorts of things. Here are five staples to invest in now (or pull out from the back of your closet) that will still be useful as the season develops, and you can snatch again come fall.
You know those tasks. The ones that you know won't actually consume that much time, but you imagine will take *just* long enough that you just can't motivate yourself to just step up and get it done.
Shining your shoes doesn't have to be one of them. True story. Provided you've got the right gear and a little technique, you can bring your leather shoes and boots back into shape in less than sixty seconds.
This time of year, footwear choices can be a gamble. Overthink it, and you're stuck in snow or hiking boots all day. Under-prepare, and your socks and feet stay wet, cold, and covered in road salt.
The answer, of course, is to opt for the middle, and choose a natural weather-resistant material that's stylish no matter what the season: leather.
Here at ManMade, "value" is all about getting a product which has a quality you're comfortable with at a price that you're comfortable paying. For us, that means we're rarely recommending
It happens to me regularly. I'll be cruising down the aisles of a secondhand shop or antique market, and I'll stumble across a great pair of warm and worn cowboy boots. I'll do the mental exercise in my head... "Can I actually pull off a cowboy boot? And would I even wear them if I bought them?" I'll shuffle around a bit, and then commit to at least trying them on, and usually
“It is totally impossible to be well-dressed in cheap shoes.” – Hardy Amies
Handmade shoes are one of those things. The "once you try it, you'll never look back kinda thing..." And, yeah, they're a bigger initial investment. But they'll probably last for the rest of your life with proper care and maintenance.
Saville Row shoemakers Foster and Son were recently featured in The Victoria and Albert Museum‘s, How Was It Made? video series. This entry, The Art of Shoe Making, chronicles a cobbler at Foster and Son creating a pair of brogues from scratch...and its crazy fascinating.
Fashion trends come and go, but true class never tires. And unless it's a suede jacket with fringe on the sleeves or a pair of bondage pants, investing in quality, handmade leather goods is always a wise decision for every guy. They'll last for decades, look better with age, and simply make you look like a guy. I've rounded up fifteen quality leathergoods that particularly hit the spot this week.
One day you will be tearing down a plaster and lathe ceiling, or cutting up some wood pallets in the back yard, or cleaning up a gutted bathroom, and you will bring your foot down on a two- or three-inch long nail. The metal will pierce the skin, cruise through the soft abductor hallucis muscle that forms the arch of your foot, and, if you step down hard enough, take out a tiny chip of bone from one of your metatarsal. I'll let you imagine the sound of that for a minute.
You could take the advice of a guy who's speaking from experience (I stepped off a ladder onto a nail sticking out of piece of lathe while wearing, of all things, old
A new pair of shoes is a great thing, especially a quality pair with leather uppers that you plan to break in and wear for years.
Properly cared for, a quality pair of shoes will last a lifetime. Of course, that means you'll want to opt for a classic, timeless design rather than a trendier style, but we'd probably do that anyway.Then, there's the "properly cared for" aspect: maintaining the leather uppers and the soles so that they look clean and tidy, even after years of marks, scuffs, and others signs of use.
With temperatures cooling down, it's time to put the sandals and sneakers away an opt for something better suited for the season: boots. A quality pair of boots should be a staple in anyone's closet. They can be dressed up, dressed down, worn inside and outside, keep your feet warm, provide ankle and insole support, and most importanly, help you look sharp and manly at the same time.
"I think we're all done with living in a disposable era. Most people are seeking out quality that comes from our country."
So begins this fascinating and, (I'll say it), hopeful look into the process of making sturdy, well-made and hand sewn shoes and boots from Oak Street Bootmakers, which are designed in Chicago and handcrafted in Maine.