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Thursday, July 13, 2017


HAMMER BCydwoq: Burbank-based Cydwoq makes boots that remind me of driftwood -- sculptural, smooth, simple, and pleasing to the eye, in a craggy sort of way.  I do not own any Cydwoqs.  But my wife owns many, and she assures me that they are as comfortable as they are interesting.

OluKai Irvine-based OluKai makes comfortable, well-put-together, Hawaiian-inspired footwear for people who spend a lot of time at the beach.  I do not own any OluKai boots, but I do own OluKai shoes (which I wear as slippers) and sandals, and my kids and wife wear OluKai flip flops.  In my experience, OluKai products consistently are good value for the price.

Chrome: When I lived in the real Bay Area (i.e., the Bay Area in which you can see the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge with minimal effort), Chrome was the most ubiquitous brand of messenger bags and backpacks.  Now, they've expanded their line to include everything that a bike-messenger-type urbanite needs for day-to-day living, including streetwear boots.

Marcopolini: Campbell-based Marcopolini imports high-quality, hand-made leather goods from Italy, including a few high-end streetwear boots.  I own a Marcopolini key wallet (which, for those who don’t know, is a keychain that stows your keys inside a coin-purse-like wallet, so your keys don’t punch holes in your pockets).  It is extremely well made, and its leather keeps looking better as it ages.

North Face: Alameda-based North Face makes pretty much everything an outdoors-enthusiast could want.  They also make some fairly uninteresting-looking streetwear boots, which – judging by everything I’ve bought from North Face so far – probably are as sturdy as they are dull.

Volcom: Orange County-based Volcom is a one-stop shop for skater/surfer/snowboarder fashion, from jeans to board shorts to two-piece suits.  They also have a line of hiking/streetwear-hybrid boots.  

Honorable Mention – Red Wing Boots:
Men's Katahdin Iron Works Engineer Boots, Plain-Toe Brown 7(EE) | L.L.Bean
Red Wing is not a California company.  But they do have California stores, and they are based in our fellow Blue State, Minnesota.  And they make the best boots ever.  I recently purchased a pair of Iron Rangers, with Vibram outsoles.  I have never owned more versatile shoes.  I wore them out to dinner on Friday night.  I wore them all day Saturday as I chopped, chain-sawed, and grinded tree stumps out of the mud in the rain.  That evening, I hosed the mud off them, wiped them dry with a towel, and wore them out to dinner again.  And they drew compliments.  They are work boots.  They are fashion.  They are rain boots.  They are every kind of casual boot that I need, all in one boot.  I will own these boots for the rest of my life.

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