Have you ever heard of the Truman Boot Company? My guess is not. That’s because since 2014 Vince Romano and his small team have been quietly going about their business of refining their boot building process by making less than 1000 pair annually in their micro-factory in Eastern Pennsylvania. They are by far the smallest boot company in the United States.
Before starting his boot company Vince ran large-scale sheep and cattle operations around the world. New Zealand, Washington, Missouri, Chile, and Columbia. He led the entire operation and specialized in grazing and grass management. He is committed to sustainability and is one of the youngest people in Pennsylvania with a raw milk license on his farm.
During five years of traveling the world he worked hard in the work boots he wore and consequently they always fell apart. A natural tinkerer, he decided to take a pair of his boots apart and figure out how to make his own. He had no previous experience as a cobbler but after trial and error he had a finished product. And they were good. When he first got started making boots commercially he had to build his own jacks and lasts.
Vince knows leathers. His history with cattle makes him an insider on where to get the best hides and what makes the best leather. He told me that a dairy cow yields about 20 square feet of hide, whereas a beef cow can be 24-30 square feet. An old cow isn’t going to have as quality a hide as a young beef cow.
Let’s talk about the boots. Truman Boots are 100% hand made using stitch down construction. Stitch down is a little bit different than a goodyear welt method. The vamp (front of the boot) is flared out and stitched directly to the midsole a little more than 1/4 of the way back. The rest of the midsole is then nailed into place. Then a second stitch runs 3/4 of the way back to attach the outsole. Then the heels are nailed and glued. All of their boots have a leather-lined vamp, leather heel counter, leather insole and stacked leather heel. It’s a Leatherpalooza.
The boots are all triple stitched with industrial thread and they come with both waxed cotton and leather laces that are unique to Truman. They arrive in a custom-branded Truman Co. box and a handsome canvas tote bag with their namesake on it: Truman the border collie.
The area where Truman really shines is customization. There are seven parts of the boot that are fully customizable. You can choose to have a pull up tab or not, as well as a cap toe vs. plain toe (structured and unstructured). Then pick from 7 eyelets or 4 eyelets plus 3 speed hooks in antique brass or nickel. Your decision on the sole is likely to be a difficult one. Choose from studded Dainite, Commando, Dainite Logger half-sole, or Lactae Hevea Country. After you figure out the perfect set-up it’s time to choose the leather.
What leathers he has on hand varies because he is always experimenting with new things, but at the time this article was written there were leathers with exotic names like waxy black kudu, black waxed flesh, teak waxy mohawk, java waxed flesh, coyote roughout, dark olive, classic shoulder oiled, natural dublin, snuff waxy mohawk, and chocolate shrunken bison. Chocolate shrunken bison, people!
I ended up with a Java Waxed Flesh pair. Waxed flesh is a rough side out (suede) leather that has been impregnated with wax. The wax gives it a semi-smooth texture with a slight sheen. Over time the wax has worn away at flex points and scuffs exposing the nap of the hide. The cap toe dresses them up a little and the antique brass hardware is pure class all the way. Admittedly these have been the toughest boots I’ve ever had to break in, but that’s due to their quality construction. I absolutely love every aspect of these boots and find myself visiting their website weekly to scout for next pair.
As far as tanneries, he uses houses from all around he world. Seidel, Stead, Horween, Teneria, and Tasman to name a few. All the boots are made to order, so be patient. Each pair takes anywhere from 4-12 weeks.
Truman Boots run true to Brannock size, so no need to size up or down. If you’re a size 10 by golly, you’re still a size 10. You aren’t going to find these in any stockists or retail stores so head over to TrumanBoot.com to start dreaming and drooling over your perfect pair. These custom boots are going to run you anywhere from $400-510 but you can be sure that nobody else will have a pair like them.
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