The 100 Mile Boot

The 100 Mile Boot

From tannery to finished boot in only 100 miles

American Bison is truly America's exotic leather. The hides have been prized for centuries by both native tribes and settlers for their high durability and beauty. Once endangered due to the massive overharvesting in the 1800s, American Bison are now sustainably managed and harvested throughout North America. Raised on ranches in the American and Canadian West, the hides which are now a byproduct of the Bison meat industry, are transported to Law Tanning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a "Wet-blue" state. Wet-blue means that the hides have been stabilized with chromium salt that turns the hides from their raw off-white color to a slightly bluish tinge, thus the name Wet-blue. This process keeps the hides from spoiling during transport from the slaughterhouse and prepares them for the tanning process. 

One of the first operations these hides undergo is a shrinking process that takes the hides from their enormous size down to less than that of a cowhide. This shrinking process accentuates the natural pebbling in the leather and results in an incredibly supple, yet durable hide. In some places, especially around the neck and shoulders, it resembles crocodile scales and in others it looks like the fine pebbling of a football.

Once shrunken they are then tanned into a beautifully rich full-gain leather with a waxy finish that wears well for both work and play. Once finished they make their way by truck 100 miles up I-41 to the quaint town of Berlin, Wisconsin where our team of bootmakers slowly transform the hides into our signature true moccasin footwear. The softness of Bison makes it a joy to work with and results in incredible uniqueness from boot to boot.

Few products can boast that the raw material and final product is created in such a small distance. Poised for a life of wear, our collection of Bison Premier Builds are a great example of the craftsmanship that our home state of Wisconsin has to offer.  It is also a story of one of America's first successful conservation efforts that saved the American Bison species and has allowed us to resume using these beautiful hides in our footwear.

Yours For Easy Feet,

Luke Kolbie


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