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

Spring on the East Side

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

Ethan Brown is our Studio Manager which means he does a lot of things at HELM. He came to us with a background in fashion production after working at Zero + Maria Cornejo in NYC. He has been instrumental in dialing in our production end of things here and we could not operate on such a tight schedule without him. He makes sure the lights stay on, the staff gets paid, we have Topo Chico in the fridge and he also looks really good in a pair of HELM Boots. 
The East Side of Austin is our home which means we care about it a lot. HELM has always had a home on the East SIde, from our very first studio space on Riverview St., and we intend to keep it that way. We love the vibrance of this side of town, the entrepreneurial spirit and the community. 
Michael Muller is a friend of the brand and of all of us personally which means we like to spend time with him. He's an amazing photographer and an incredible musician. He's understandably busy but he is also astonishingly kind and will say yes when asked last minute to document a photoblog about East Austin and HELM Boots. 
Read on to see what happens when all of these things come together.  Ethan's words and Michael's photos tell a story about our shared love for HELM's new Spring boots and the East Side. 
As the studio manager for HELM, I get a really unique opportunity to experience the East Side on multiple levels - shifting back and forth between our offices on East Cesar Chavez and our flagship on East 6th lets me catch glimpses of the East Side I may not normally see otherwise: driving by small restaurants, boutiques and getting a daily fix at local coffee shops really lets me feel like I'm part of this growing - and changing - community. 
If you're visiting Austin this Spring, I urge you to stop in to our part of town and experience a piece of Austin that is rapidly changing. This is just a small selection of the people and places that get me through my every day - by no means is the list extensive (I've left out East Side Tamale House, Sahara Lounge, the myriad venues down 6th street, and then some!) but it's a taste of what keeps me living and working on this side of Austin.
HELM STORE:
Did you really think I wouldn't mention our own flagship? 
Working for HELM has been an absolute dream - as studio manager, I'm back and forth between our offices and our flagship here on East 6th. Joshua, Hillary, Broc and I - in conjunction with our amazing shop associates, Patrick Ratliff and Hunter Lawrence - have tried to make this a unique and comforting place with a serious emphasis on quality boots and American-made products. We burn palo santo during the day and everything just feels cozy in the late afternoon when the sun comes through the windows and lights up the austere, but comfortable, shop.
I've been told the place feels like a home which, to me, is the highest compliment. Come on in to try some HELM Boots on, particularly the new Spring styles, or get some other products such as leather care, candles, bags by local makers BEXAR and Stash or just have a beer and pass a half-hour with us - we love our community and we love having people hang out in the shop. 
EASY TIGER:
Easy Tiger is a great spot just over the highway but still with an East Austin ethos. 
The bar/café/bakery is almost a one-stop shop - come by early to grab a great coffee or fresh pastry and if you stop by a little later you can get a great selection of snacks (heavy on the sausages and pretzels!) and beer.
The staff is always great and the bridge overlooking Waller Creek is really picturesque with the vines creeping up the exterior brick of the historical building. It's a great place to have a pint or two and just enjoy the Spring day before it gets too hot. 
BREW & BREW:
Brew & Brew is recent but, really, it feels like they've been here for years.
The build-out of the inside is gorgeous. It's exactly what I want in a coffee shop: clean colors, clean light and every time I stop in, I get to have a conversation with one of the baristas - who are also all great friends at this point. The outside area is a great place to sit and have one of 30-ish beers they keep on tap and their menu is small, but perfect, for when you need something light and delicious.
I couldn't make it through 80% of my week days without being able to run over here before opening the shop or before a meeting. 
In addition, Matty B honestly makes the best cortados on this side of the planet. 
LAS CRUXES/FAREWELL/FLAT TRACK:
This is, hands down, one of my favorite spaces in Austin - on par with Vane and Maryam Nassir Zadeh in New York in terms of aesthetics and interesting selections.
Start with a quick coffee at Flat Track - if you need a great coffee but aren't exactly in the mood to head over the East 6th, this coffee shop on Cesar Chavez has close ties with Brew & Brew and is like a tiny, hidden gem that smells like perfectly roasted beans.
Head over to Farewell Books to see an amazing selection of zines, vintage and rare books - from manifestos on art and architecture to first edition hard covers to hard-to-find fashion compendiums, this is my favorite book place in Austin. The selection is carefully curated and immaculately presented, making the whole experience amazing. 
Las Cruxes is certainly my favorite stop for clothing in Austin. Veronica Ortuño has a great eye for both vintage clothing and small designers and I always feel like I'm supporting a great cause when I shop here - the light blue trousers with the elastic cuffs by Publish (you can see them in the photos!) are one of my favorite finds and they're produced with great quality. If you want something unique and well-made, Las Cruxes is always a great bet. 
SAM HILL:
Kyle Muller is a great friend of HELM - he used to have a small pop-up in our original show room and, in fact, his brother Michael Muller took all these photos of me that actually make me look photogenic: so you know they're a talented family.
Kyle's new-ish space on 4th street is honestly a wonderland - if you need any vintage men's clothing, this is the place to go. 
From vintage knits to military jackets, Kyle works really hard to find the best and most unadulterated vintage in the state of Texas. All this is in addition to the comfortable and easy space he's set up as of last November - it's a little out of the walking path, but far worth the effort if you need any vintage boots or just a unique piece of clothing to wear for the weekend.  
-Ethan Brown

Posted in Austin, friends, Sam Hill, street style

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