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 we have helped everyone understand the changes at Russell through the articles, interviews, and countless hours spent talking with customers. 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 may have not 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 in-stock, as well as accessories like boot conditioner and socks. Most of our core boot and shoe 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?
In the past 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, starting in 2023 we are 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. We will have three different ways to order boots:
In-stock footwear will comprise approximately 5 of our most iconic models as well as occasional special runs. These boots and shoes will be made with the leather, sole, and specifications that make them best suited for the primary use of that model. In-stock models can be returned and exchanged, making them a great option if you don’t know your Russell size, or are new to Russell entirely.
One of the things we all love about Russell is the ability to customize their look with different leathers and soles. We are making this process more streamlined, and less confusing, by offering Made-To-Order models in standard sizing on the website. Made-to-order will give you custom options for different leathers and soles at a comparable price to our in-stock models and a much quicker turnaround than the Will Russell custom shop. Each boot or shoe will have its own leather and sole options selected due to their properties and the purpose of the boot. We will be providing lots of information on each of those leathers and soles to help customers pick the combination that best fits their needs and environment. Made-To-Order boots and shoes will have a target order to delivery time of 3 months. Due to the fact that these boots are custom made for you, they are non-returnable. Our in-stock boots are a great way to find your Russell size, which is why we allow those to be returnable.
All boots in this line will be Made-To-Measure, which will require either an in person visit to our shop, or meeting us for measurements at an event. There will be a list of models available through the custom shop that will be posted on our website. While you may choose from the leathers and soles that we have available, we do not allow changes to the model’s patterns like the height of the boot. Even at our custom shop, we cannot accommodate every foot. When we reopen the wait list, the first step will be a virtual consultation. This will help you choose the best model and materials for your desired use. Keeping with previous policy, we do not accept returns on Made-To-Measure footwear as they are made for you and you alone.
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 3 to 6 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.
Is it true Made-To-Measure Footwear from the Will Russell Custom Shop will be starting at $1,500????
The short answer is yes. 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. Fost most clients, 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! We are working on a detailed size guide to help you achieve the best fit in our standard sizes as well.
If you look at any other US made custom boot maker, you will notice that they either have stopped making made-to-measure footwear, or have increased pricing even more than we are doing. The cowboy boot industry in Texas is a good example of this. We don't like it any more than you do, which is why we are working hard on alternatives like our Made-To-Order models.
My measurements are on file, can I order from the Custom Shop using those?
Unfortunately we can’t allow the use of prior measurements. This is primarily to protect customers. By allowing customers to send in their own measurements, there were many situations in the past where a customer’s inaccurate measurements resulted in ill-fitting boots. To continue this would be a waste of our time and your money. In addition, changes in time and weight loss or gain can significantly impact your measurements. Because of these factors, all new orders for the Custom Shop will require new measurements by our staff.
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 8 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. Dan 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.
Can I get a repair on my current Russells?
Yes. After taking a brief hiatus from new repair work to help us get caught up, we will once again be taking in repair jobs. When the boots arrive we will inspect them and let you know of any additional problems that need to be addressed and the cost to do so. Once you have OK’d the repair order and have paid online (or over the phone) we will start your repair work. You will receive tracking information when the repair is complete. Please keep in mind that we cannot reverse or fix dry-rot caused by leaving your boots wet.