Better-Made Boots: Built in America


IMG_3761I’ve really started to enjoy wearing well-made shoes and boots. Over the last three years I’ve purchased Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots and Red Wing Iron Rangers.

The 1000 mile boot (top) has great style and has broken-in really well and the Rangers (bottom) have been my go-to boots for both work and the weekend. They’re more utilitarian – you can see they’ve taken a beating – but they still clean up pretty well.

Did these shoes cost more than shoes coming from overseas? Absolutely. Are they worth it? In my opinion, yes. The fact that they can be re-crafted (new soles, new heels, etc.) just means that I will be able to get extended life out of them. In the long run, I will have spent less money while getting to wear better shoes.


The Saga of the Iron: Made in USA


Our iron bit the dust recently and we really wanted to find a new one that was American-made. We’ve decided that, when something reaches the end of its useful life, we’ll make a solid effort to find a Made-in-USA replacement.

We checked out our local Sears, which had many brands in stock, but not one made in the USA. An online search brought up some blog posts that recommended Oreck brand irons. Unfortunately, the Oreck website currently lists their one iron as no longer available.

Just for fun, we searched ebay and what did we find but a Made-in-USA General Electric steam iron, still new in the box, that dates to sometime in the mid-1970’s.
Is it safe to use a 40 year old appliance? Who knows? It just came in the mail so I guess we’re going to find out! Fingers crossed.

Update, April 5, 2016: More than two years later, it still works like a charm!


Americanologist Hall of Shame #1

An ebay seller that goes by the name of charms.bead.bracelet is offering Chinese-made charms using “Made in USA” as a design element. The ebay page clearly states that the charms were made in China, but a retail buyer would not see that anywhere on the item. We posted a complaint on their page and reported the item to ebay. Two days later, the auction was “ended” and the charms were re-listed as a new item.

All-American Pop-up Market

In September 2013, we went to the All-American Pop-up Market in Boston, organized by a group called American Field. There were over 50 vendors at the show with goods ranging from shoes to hats,leather goods and items for the home.


The market was held at a very cool building, The Historic SOWA Power Station in Boston, built in 1891 was the largest of its kind in the world. Today, it’s the site of shows, markets, festivals and even wedding receptions.

The L.L. Bean Bootmobile was parked out front.

The folks from the Ball and Buck store in Boston brought along their barber and gave haircuts in the back of a pickup truck!


We watched an employee of L.L. Bean put together one of its signature tote bags. Yes, L.L. Bean still makes some items here in the US and they were on display.


We stopped by the Rancourt booth too. Not only did we get to watch them stitch a classic penny loafer, I ended up spending a good half hour using their custom design page to create a bunch of wish-list shoes for myself.

This table was, from Tyler Casey Designs, was one of the most beautiful items at the market.

One couple's search for a Made-in-USA lifestyle