Designing the Better Boot
Update on the new Northwoods Boot
Kudos to the SDC community for their help in
designing this new boot!/J. Bergemann
Thanks to all the input from the folks at Sleddogcentral.com, our new 'soft boot' is
ready to got to work on your feet when the temps plummet below freezing.
The NorthWoods Boot is part boot, part sandal, and part shaggy land mammal. We start
with a standard pac boot liner, and work out from there. The soles are 100% post consumer
tire rubber, nearly a 1/4" thick with a raised dot tread. They're tough enough for
use on rock or pavement, but flexible for movement and traction. Best of all, when you
wear them out we can resole them. The tooling leather mid sole and supple Bison leather
lowers move and flex with your foot to ensure comfort and enhance the crucial circulation
of blood. We build 4 layer, dual density foam insoles with arch supports, and metatarsal
pads to cushion every step.
Choose from a list of fabrics for the voluminous uppers, then request the boot height
that suits your needs. Each boot has parachute cord laces with removable cord locks to
adjust the tension in the foot and along the legs. Leave the cord locks in place for
convenient speed lacing, or remove them for manual lacing with knots. A shock cord closure
at the cuff seals out snow and drafts.
Press release provided by Empire Canvas Works
December 4, 2004
It's rare to find a company in that lets its customers do the design work!
That's us. I'm Kevin Kinney, founder of Vulpine. We're a cottage industry in Duluth, MN
with a mission to meet unusual needs all the time. Vulpine manufactures adaptive
outerwear, meaning clothing that's altered to meet the needs of individuals with sensory,
cognitive, or physical limitations. Since our clothing is built to be accessible as well
as functional, our appeal extends to al lot of regular customers.
The most frequent request we receive is for better footwear.
We're been testing boots for 5 years now, and we're closing in on a winner- a new blend of
moccasin, mukluk, and leather boot. What we really need is input from you. Right now our
NorthWoods Boot is available through our web site
While the initial response has been grand, I'm not really satisfied that
they've finished their evolution.
Here's the current state. It's a hardsole Mukluk, with a tooling leather midsole, 5 ounce
Bison leather lowers, and a 100% post consumer rubber sole that's replaceable after wear.
We make the uppers in 3 heights from 12" to 16". The upper portions come in wind
proof nylon, reprocessed blanket wool, or polyester fleece/fleece laminates. All the
textiles have overlock stitching to prevent frayed edges. Other materials are available
upon request. The NorthWoods boots have parachute cord speed lacing and a shock cord cinch
at the top. We've exhausted our local outdoor stores of their felt liners. While the
quality of the liners is beyond our control, they seem functional. We've found an
excellent Canadian military version that's actually two layers of woven wool, but have yet
to meet their minimums.
Here's what we've learned.
Most people favor the thicker, harder sole. It wear well, and provides more protection
than the other soft boots. The speed lacing is a boon. Our customers seem to prefer
knotting the 9' laces just above the ankle to set the tension on the foot, then cinching
the remainder lightly around their calves. Wool uppers are our best sellers. The wool adds
insulation and visual appeal. We use a local mill with excellent dyeing capabilities.
Fleece uppers are popular for use in town. They're more comfortable in mild climates or
indoors. The durability of the fleece is lower, but we purchase directly from Malden
Mills, so the quality of their knits cannot be equaled. I'm surprised that the Nylon
uppers aren't more popular. They wear like iron, breathe like canvas, and dry very
That said, tell us what we've missed.
How can we meet the needs of people who rely on their footwear to keep them alive in nasty
What do you consider the most important attributes in your boots?
We hope to improve our products with your help.
As a way of saying thanks, we'd also like to offer a two pairs of improved NorthWoods
Boots to Sled Dog Central as prizes for a future contest.
Please submit your comments to us at:
Cheers, Kevin Kinney
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