Café Collection

Two of the best smells known to man are new leather and fresh coffee. When I found out that Wolverine launched a new limited edition line of heritage boots inspired by coffee I had to learn more about it. As expected, they are brewed to perfection.

The inspiration for the Café Collection came from Madcap Coffee Co.  in Grand Rapids Michigan, right down the road from the home of Wolverine. Each of the five styles is a nod to the local coffee shop. Madcap shares Wolverine’s commitment to craftsmanship and quality.

Like any good coffee shop, the Café Collection has something for everyone. Each is handcrafted with Horween Leather and based on the original 1000 Mile Boot design from 1914. These boots will take you 1000 Miles and then some. The Goodyear Welt allows them to be resoled for the next journey and they are all Made In The USA.

I snagged the Café Miel ($360) version. The English Tan Dublin leather caught my eye with its nod to cinnamon and honey hues. My favorite feature is the Chocolate Cambridge tongue heel accents with LTD monogram stamped on the tongue. I dig the flat waxed laces with antique brass eyelets and speed hooks that dress up the boot giving it a rugged yet refined character. The contrasting leathers give it a unique look that make people ask me “What boots are those?” everywhere I go. The Horween Leather footbed, and stacked leather sole with rubber heel make them able to be worn all day and help them to form to your foot like a glove.

The Café Mocha ($360) is a tasty blend of mildly contrasting Chocolate Cambridge and Havana Brown Chromepak leathers. It’s closest to the original brown 1000 Mile with a twist of chocolate whimsy. These make you want to kick your feet up and just drink in the day.

The Cappuccino ($400) is light and frothy with Burnt Ivory rough-out leather with smooth English Tan tongue and heel that makes for a “bold-yet-balanced boot.” The stacked leather sole with Vibram rubber traction sole combined with gold and tan Taslan laces give it a bit of a more classic rugged boot feel.

If you’re looking for something bold and rich check out the Espresso ($400). Wolverine says “You’ll enjoy its concentration of Matte Charcoal Retriever leather and a Chocolate Cambridge tongue, black eyelets, laces, and Vibram rubber forefoot.” Whether it’s the coffee grind or the work grind, this one makes an statement that is full of flavor with an intensity that will keep you going all day long.

The last and most rugged in the lineup is the Cortado ($375). “Deceptively strong and full of color” describes the Havana Brown with English Tan accents but its standout feature is the rubber lug sole. The round waxed cotton laces round out the toughness of this one.  This boot says “I came to work, but I’m staying for the party.”

Wolverine Workshop

If you’ve ever felt like a clone of everyone else that’s wearing heritage style boots you aren’t alone. Enter the Wolverine Workshop. Wolverine has created something totally unprecedented, allowing you to customize your own set of 1000 Mile Boots on a sophisticated yet simple interactive online design center. Available for both men and women, the concept is nothing short of revolutionary.

The Wolverine Workshop allows you to customize twelve different aspects of your boot. Go ahead and let that settle in a bit. Before you get started check out the videos they’ve made describing the nature of each leather. You’ll thank me later.

Start by choosing the leather on the quarter of the boot, which is the main body of the boot. There are thirteen leathers to choose from. As you hover the cursor over each leather a detailed description of its character pops up as well as the tanning and dying process. Click on the leather and that portion of the boot changes to that color on the boot. Brilliant.

Next comes the vamp, which is the toe area. The heel strap can be chosen separately, but I liked matching those two parts to create some balance. The tongue and footbed are also chosen separately so go crazy or keep it conservative. It’s your world, bud.

The sole is where you can really put your personal stamp on it. An all leather sole will give it that classic feel where a leather and rubber combo will give you a little more traction. You can choose a full Vibram rubber lug sole if you are looking to really leave your mark.

Pick from four colors for the welt stitch thread around the sole. White or red will really pop or keep it simple with brown or black. You can choose the main thread color for the boot as well as an accent color.

When it comes to eyelets Wolverine gives you six hardware options ranging from antique copper, nickel, matte black, old english brass, silver, or gold. There are six colors and styles of laces ranging from waxed flat brown, white or red, tan rawhide or classic round tan and gold.

If you’ve made it this far your last two customization options are the leather hangtag (which I usually end up using as a keychain) and monogram. Monogram is optional, but a cool addition to the tongue, heel, or hangtag if you want to throw it on. There are three fonts to choose from.

If you’re overwhelmed with the decisions and suffering from “paralysis by analysis” check out their custom gallery for inspiration. The gallery is quite impressive, with hundreds of designs that others have put together. If you truly want to be an original, get in there and just start designing yours from scratch.

Note: Huge thanks and photo creds to my wife Sara Lahman. Special thanks to Blank Slate Coffee for letting us shoot photos at the Airstream Coffee Shop.