As we embark on Labor Day weekend, we’re excited to highlight our new Made In America collection, and share a little about the labor and soul that is put into each hand-stitched shoe.
Our Director of Men’s Footwear, Patrick Armitage, is no stranger to quality materials and exquisite design. It was only fitting that we partner with three American tanneries to produce a collection of exclusive, hand-sewn footwear crafted with the same standards we hold our own. From hand-crafted designs to premium leather, the collection offers a range of styles that are sure to become closet staples, and last for years to come. We caught up with Patrick to discuss the exciting range of shoes from the Harrisburg boot to the Lewiston slipper. He shared his take as to what makes this collection different from any other, and what aspects of each shoe is his favorite.
What comes to mind when a product is ‘Made in America?’
There’s something romantic about the heritage, the craftsmanship, and the artisan techniques. There was a time when these skills were passed down from parent to child. Anything we can do to keep this industry alive – it’s worth the effort. It’s like your grandmother’s recipe. It takes longer to prepare, requires finding the freshest ingredients, but the end result is so worth the effort. I completely ‘geek-out’ watching a craftsman, with two needles, hand stitch a slipper upper or the sound of a Goodyear welt machine on the factory floor…there’s nothing like it.
A lot of footwear is made in the US, how do these stand apart?
The Made in America, UGG for Men collection – are made by hand. Leather quality is essential. Every tanner has a recipe for different leathers. And when they get it right… you don’t change it! And don’t even get me started about the smell of good leather. I don’t have to explain this to those out there that know.
What details of this line are you particularly proud of?
There is so much effort required to stitch and last these shoes when being made by hand…it’s not an easy task. It’s hard work executed with strong, experienced hands. When you wear a pair of these shoes, you are wearing and showcasing this labor and the soul that was put into making them. Each pair is unique.
There’s a lot of history between the Horween Tannery, Addison Shoe Company, and the Quoddy Workshop – can you talk a little to why these partnerships are so special?
The nature of working with leather requires adjusting and manipulation that can only be done by hand. Quoddy – our partner for our Made in USA slipper collection has a great video on their site. It gives you a peek into the quality construction. Quoddy is keeping hand-sewn footwear alive and well.
Horween – in my opinion, is one of the highest quality leathers available. Horween has been creating their beautiful product generation after generation for over 100 years – since 1905. They took the stand to never cutting corners – their focus has always been on quality… and it shows. In fact, one of the leathers we use was developed 100 years ago.
The Addison Shoe Co. has had a long history making high quality footwear. They are our source of Goodyear welted construction. The process and quality of this type of construction will allow years of wear. The Made in America collection is very special, and it comes from combining quality materials and craftsmanship.
Can you give us a sneak peek of any upcoming new UGG for Men styles?
Sneak peek? Two innovations: Twinsole and Treadlite for UGG. You’ll need to make room in your closet.