Frequently Asked Questions
Transitions in the leadership of companies like Russell are never easy, especially when that company has been operating virtually unchanged for nearly 125 years. I hope that through the articles, interviews, and countless hours spent with customers talking about our plans for the future, that we have helped everyone understand Russell's future trajectory. Over the last few months we have been taking a long hard look at each part of Russell to help us prepare for that future. What I hope to do today is provide customers some answers to questions you may have been thinking of, but have not yet seen answers for.
Where are all the products I know and love?
The new website just launched over Thanksgiving and, for now, it will primarily be for informational purposes. We do have a few select styles that we have standard sizes available, as well as accessories like boot conditioner and socks. Most of our core styles will be returning in 2023, so don't be alarmed. Right now our focus is on the custom orders in the pipeline. Read on for more on that.
What will Russell's product offering look like in 2023?
When we took over operations at Russell, there were more than 120 models of boots and shoes, over 50 leathers, and over 25 soles for customers to choose from. Over time these options just sort of built up to the point that it became very difficult for customers to figure out what combination they needed for their pursuits. There was very little information available about the different materials and their benefits, and even more confusingly, there were often several materials that looked exactly the same but had wildly different properties.
Because of this we are drastically reducing the number of materials available and honing them to a curated selection for each of the core models we will be keeping in production. These models like the Zephyr, Cavalier, PH, and Birdshooter will all have a "Classic" configuration with a fixed leather and sole combination that we keep in stock, as well as a made-to-order option for those who want a different look or different use. In addition, our new offerings will come standard with many of what were previously "upgrade options" like Poron cushioning.
For example: The Zephyr will be an in stock product offered in a double vamp configuration with our classic Red-Maple Oil tan leather, an oak-leather midsole, and Vibram Oxford sole. The Zephyr II will be available made-to-order in standard sizes sizes. Although the height, and construction will stay the same, customers will be able to select from several different leather and sole options like American Bison, Bullhide and Pecos Goucho as well as sole options like the Vibram Aspen Gumlite, Lactae Havea Plantation Crepe, and Vibram Roccia Lug Sole. Specialty models like the Wyman Boot will be made once a year and will be a great opportunity to highlight these excellent, but very specialized models. All totaled we will have about 25 models available to order through the website with some seasonal offerings as well.
Why aren't you allowing custom orders currently?????
When our team took over operations at Russell in October, there was a 15 month wait time on custom orders, and that lead time was continuing to grow. Rather than continue to take new orders, which would result in continued frustration from customers regarding the long lead time, we made the difficult decision to stop taking new custom orders for the first time in 124 years. No company ever wants to stop taking new orders, but in this situation, it was absolutely necessary. We will be taking the next few months to catch up on these orders so that when we start taking new orders again, the lead time will be around 3 months. While it may frustrate some that the custom shop is not taking new orders currently, it is the right thing to do for all our customers. We anticipate the re-opening of the Custom Shop in May of 2023.
Is it true Made-To-Measure Boots from the Will Russell Custom Shop will be starting at $1,500????
The short answer is yes. As we have been working on tracking our efforts at Russell, one thing has been blatantly apparent: custom measured orders take a really long time to make. To give you a comparison, it takes over 15 hours longer to make a custom measured boot when compared to a standard size of the exact same model and materials. This is due to the build-up process of creating a last to match your foot, as well as the tedious measurements to adjust the patterns to accommodate your foot as well. Made-to-measure boots are great for those who have feet that don't line up with standard sizes, but for everyone else, the right standard size will mold itself to your foot for a custom fit, without the custom price. That is the beauty of the all-leather moccasin construction!! In addition, many of our models will be Made-to-order, giving you options for different leathers and soles at a comparable price to our in-stock models and a much quicker turnaround than the custom shop.
Where and how can I get my Russells Re-soled?
We just launched our Licensed Re-soling service with our longtime partners Appleton Cobbler Shoppe. This service will help serve to provide our customers with faster re-soling times (2-3 weeks) rather than the 6 weeks it was taking us at the workshop. Our Licensed partners have access to all our soles and materials so you can typically get the same soles we have offered in the past. Brian and John have been working directly with Russell for over a decade and are incredibly talented. I am sure that you will find them a great resource. Visit the Service page of the website for contact information to get the re-soling process started.
Have a question we have not answered? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org