Craft / July 2019

A Walk Down Oak Street with Oak Street Bootmakers

In a climate where cheap foreign manufacturing policies seem to be the norm, Oak Street Bootmakers staunchly defy this practice, pouring old-world craftmanship into each hand-stitched pair of boots which are all proudly made in the USA.

'These boots are made for walking’, sang Nancy Sinatra back in 1966. Now, that’s all well and good Nancy – that is what they do, after all. But sometimes we look to boots as a more utilitarian alternative to our favourite everyday shoes. It’s something the Americans have known for many years: that a well-crafted boot will work for any situation - not just a stroll in the hills or a wood-chopping session. Amongst some of the best bootmakers we've had the pleasure of coming across is Oak Street Bootmakers of Chicago. Founded by George Vlagos, the workshop seeks to "preserve the heritage of U.S. shoemaking through thoughtfully designed and attentively crafted shoes." George is actually a second-generation cobbler, who spent many of his early years learning the trade as an apprentice to his father, John.

Master Cobbler John Vlagos, father of Oak Street Bootmakers founder George Vlagos.

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Chris Cotonou