My Favorite Pair of Shoes No. 01 by Kyle Muller

Posted on July 24, 2014 by HELM Handmade | 0 Comments

Who are you?
Kyle Muller / Art Director

 

What’s your favorite pair of shoes?
Vietnam Combat Boots (1960s)

 

Why?
They belonged to my father who was a fighter pilot. The black leather is worn, scuffed and they fit like a glove. When getting laced up, I feel a swelling of pride and sentimentality... plus they are steel-toed and ready to rumble. 

 

Where did you get them?
Richard “Raccoon” Muller

 

Share something that’s happened to you while wearing those shoes.
I wore them everyday for about two years straight… so a lot. The boots defiantly had two different owners.One was pulling Gs in an F-14 Tomcat, and flying missions as Naval Aviator in Top Gun… the other walked around, went to parties and frequented bars in New York.I asked my Father about the boots and this is what he said…
"When I was a young aviator – I wanted to look 'spiffy' in my flight suit/flying attire – so I spit-polished the boots to make ‘em shine! Took me over an hour! When the C.O. (Commanding Officer) saw them – he told me to undo all of my work and 'never polish them again!' It seems that shoe polish is flammable – and according to him – I was asking for trouble!”

 

Still haven’t polished them. 

 

What sign are you?
Capricorn/Aquarius (cusp)

 

Posted in boots, friends

Heritage

Posted on July 15, 2014 by HELM Handmade | 0 Comments

You may have noticed that we don't always carry our styles forever - in fact, because we believe that style is something that should be unique, HELM usually only produces our designs for a single season. Once that style runs out, it's gone from our stock forever - but hopefully on your feet forever, a truly unique and well-crafted piece!

An exception to this rule are our Heritage Styles. Based off of traditional American shoe design, this collection features our Mullers in Black, Teak and Brown and our Sam Original Boot

Why do we produce these season after season? Because we believe that they embody the HELM spirit - something truly timeless and classic, with a modern twist - and because they age so well; we've never seen a Muller age just like any other one. The leathers we select reflect the wearer's lifestyle and habits and tell the world who you are and how you like to live life. 

We've done a small editorial featuring some awesome models with photographer Olivia Vale - enjoy and don't forget the Mullers and Sam Original are available now! Click the pictures or the links for more information. 

    

The Muller Teak 

  

L to R: The Muller Brown, The Sam Original and the Muller Teak 

  

L to R the Muller Teak, the Muller Brown

the Muller Black

Posted in american made, Austin, boots, fashion

Go Camping and Chop Our Boots in Half

Posted on July 08, 2014 by HELM Handmade | 1 Comment

"We’ve seen countless “making of” videos, which are interesting, but today we see a refreshing spin on the concept." - Selectism 7/8/14

We got some coverage this week from two blogs that we really, REALLY admire and which we're stoked to share with you. Click the images below to read what Esquire recommends you do in the Muller boot. Personally, we love this boot outside but think it is more suited to picnicking or perhaps glamping if that is, in fact, a thing. However we also respect whatever it is you may want to throw at it. On a related note about throwing, see what Selectism has to say about our boot sawing video. Clearly this boot can handle a lot, save for a table saw. 

 

 

 

 

Posted in boots, news, press

HELM did some sole searching

Posted on July 02, 2014 by HELM Handmade | 0 Comments

 

Pictured above is the Dot Sole - peeled down off a boot so you can see the cutaway view. We've used this sole on all of our leather-soled boots since the beginning of US production. We liked it for a lot of reasons: it had a low profile which works for more formal settings, it had a rubber layer that made for a less slippery sole, it was flexible. There was one major reason we didn't like it however: It seemed to wear out fast for some of our customers. We started thinking about how the cowboy boots we all own (this IS Texas after all) have leather soles and they seem to take forever to wear out, even in the toughest conditions. As we are dedicated to producing a boot that is truly an investment, we started looking for a new sole to use. We talked to a source out in El Paso that uses Mexican hides to make their 11 iron leather soles. We also looked in Argentina where we ultimately decided on a 9 iron (thickness measurement) that is treated with a water resistant coating. The slimmer line plus the water resistance led us to choose the South American option - Beginning with this newest restock of Mullers and Sams. These boots should now provide you with more durability and longer wear. 

We had to give up a little in terms of flexibility but the new sole provides more traction, longer wear and sturdy craftsmanship while still maintaining the low profile that defines these styles. 

 

The good-looking new soles pictured above. 

 

Posted in american made, boots

Father's Day is this Sunday

Posted on June 11, 2014 by HELM Handmade | 0 Comments

It's that time of year again- time to tell the man who made you that he's a good dude. Hopefully he's a good dude because, well, you deserve it. Usually a good way to tell your dad you appreciate him is with some sort of gift: bacon, tools, whiskey or fine leather boots are all good ideas. HELM will be participating in Northern Grade  this weekend so you should absolutely come out for that if you are looking for something. The shindig will be going down at Fair Market (old TOPS warehouse on East 5th) on Saturday and Sunday and will be stellar. You'll definitely find a gift there for pops and probably a few for yourself. 

If you need more help deciding, the HELM staff handpicked some recommendations based on type of dad you may have. Do you have a Classic Dad? Stylish Dad? Outdoor Dad? See our picks below for each one. SIdenote: We also had a lot of fun naming types of dads (goth dad, robodad and sad dad were a few that didn't make the cut).

A lot of the products can be ordered on our site www.helmboots.com but you can also call the store 512-609-8150 if you see something that isn't featured on our website. We'd be happy to help you get the right gift for your dad this year. 

 

 

             

Field Trip: Dripping Springs Vodka Distillery

Posted on April 23, 2014 by HELM Handmade | 0 Comments

Our Fourth Friday events at the store (Psst- We have one this Friday, the 25th, 6-8pm) have grown to be a consistently well-attended event at the store and we, in turn, are stepping up our beverage game. Last month we featured a punch with fresh juice from JuiceLand and vodka from Dripping Springs. It went well (read: super delicious) so we thought we should do it again this month. Ethan, our genius Studio Manager, contacted Dripping Springs and they graciously donated a case of their finest micro distilled, small batch, slow filtered, non GMO corn vodka made with pure, mineral rich artesian spring water from the Texas Hill Country. We made an afternoon of picking it up today - even stopping at Flores Tacos in Dripping Springs for lunch. Jen at DSV was super kind to take time out of her day and show us around the distillery. We commented that it was like the HELM Boots of Vodkas. Everything is small batch, handcrafted and takes time; There is a small dedicated family of staff and they are way more interested in producing a high quality product and sticking to their core values than in building a glitzy, flashy company. Take this for instance: Jen told us that to produce their Orange Vodka they use fresh oranges that they hand zest themselves - no artificial flavorings. On the days that they are zesting, the staff works through flats of the fruit by hand and the entire facility smells like oranges. How awesome is that? Jen gifted us a bottle and we plan on making a fair quantity of O-snaps this Summer (DSV Orange + Ginger Ale). 

   

Joshua checking out the handmade copper distilling tanks

 

The Railroad boots in the distilling room

 

The Dash Chestnut + Texas sun in the distilling room. 

 

Broc outside the bottling room in the Dash Chestnut

 

Dork tops belong only in Texas

 

Vodka ready to be consumed by us JKJKJK. Not ALL of it. 

 

Broc and Joshua: HELM studs

 

Empty bottles, ready to be filled. 

 

The Texas Hill Country land that the distillery is located on. 

Posted in american made, Hard Work

FAQ series- Why No Women's Boots?

Posted on April 02, 2014 by HELM Handmade | 0 Comments

We get a lot of inquiries each day about why we don't make women's boots, when will we make women's boots and hey, why don't you make women's boots? The short answer is that we will, soon. There is also a longer explanation if you are interested. 

Our factory has made traditional Maine hand-sewn shoes and boots for awhile. This is what they sometimes look like:

They can also take the shape of a boot, a moc, a slipper, a slip-on, etc. The point is our factory is really good at this, has done it for awhile and has all the necessary supplies to make these including lasts for men, women and kids. Lots of them. In the last 3-4 years they have diversified and begun to make welted footwear as well. This is like opening an entirely new factory. They had to buy new machines, new supplies and new lasts. SInce it was a new operation for them they chose to focus on just buying lasts for men to keep costs down. The lasts are the single most important part of shoe making and can be quite expensive to acquire. You have to have multiple pairs for each size you plan to make in each style you plan to make. It adds up. 

For a client like us who has been making men's boots all along, the men's only last issue wasn't really an issue. As more people have started seeing our designs though, we have a lot of women tell us that they also want to wear them. There is apparently a market for classic, minimalist boots for women that don't have heels or buckles or embellishments of some sort. Currently we size down to a men's 7 which is a women's 8.5/9. It probably seems that we should just buy a few pairs of women's lasts in sizes 6,7 and 8 and start making our patterns on those... only it isn't that simple. A women's foot is different than a man's and we would not only have to buy the lasts but we would also have to re-engineer our patterns. It would be a lot of time and money. We have been exploring it and it isn't out of the question, it will just take awhile. 

The other solution, and the one we are engaging for Fall 2014, is to have a few hand-sewn styles made for men and women. We have wanted to do this since we started working with our factory in 2012 but they have a had a waiting list until now. (We said they were really good at this.) We're stoked on the designs of the hand-sewns. There will be two styles, both boots of course. One will be black black black waxed canvas and SB Foot leather and Vibram Cristy sole and the other will be natural Chromexcel and olive green waxed canvas and a Cutthroat sole. You will have to stay tuned for that one. It has a crazy story all it's own. 

   

So there you have it. HELM Boots for women are on their way in Fall 2014! 

Posted in american made, Austin

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