WIN Hand-Tooled Leather Chukkas for Father's Day!
UPDATE: Congratulations to Elke from Blodgett, Oregon! She was randomly selected as the grand prize winner of this contest. Be sure you're subscribed to our email newsletter and following us on Instagram to learn about future giveaways!
Amazing things happen when talented makers team up, especially when those makers hail from small American companies with a passion for fine leather goods. This Father’s Day, Oregon’s Soft Star Shoes has joined forces with Minnesota’s Jameson Leatherworks to create the ultimate drool-worthy gift for Dad: a special-edition “Papa Nature” Chukka Boot. Code named #ProjectRadDad, this shoe takes Soft Star’s classic handcrafted Hawthorne Chukka style and ups the ante with Jameson Leatherwork’s amazing Pacific Northwest-inspired artwork. One lucky winner will receive a custom-made pair in their size, announced just in time for Father’s Day!
The contest will run from Thursday, June 9th through Tuesday, June 14th and will be hosted through Soft Star's Instagram Profile, @SoftStarShoes. An active Instagram account is needed to enter.
- Follow us (@SoftStarShoes) on Instagram
- Follow @JamesonLeatherworks on Instagram
- "Like" at least one of the contest posts (on either Instagram account)
- Tag a friend in one of the contest posts (on either Instagram account)
Behind the Scenes:
While the product itself speaks to the skill of the collaborators, the process of creating these amazing chukkas might be an even greater testament to their makers’ ingenuity. Soft Star’s Production and Design Lead, Keita Beard, and Kyle Jameson (of his eponymous Leatherworks company) faced substantial obstacles in bringing their vision to fruition.
First of all, the leather variety normally used for the Hawthorne style was too pliable for proper leather tooling, while the type most favored for Jameson projects was a bit too stiff to create a shoe with Soft Star’s trademark flexibility. The makers settled on a vegetable-tanned leather with a consistency that struck a balance between the two criteria.
The greatest challenge concerned a critical element in the shoe construction process: water. Normally, a Hawthorne Chukka is cut-out, sewn together, and then dipped into a vat of hot water with a shoe form inserted inside; the shoe is later removed and allowed to dry on the mold, leaving it with its classic chukka shape. However, for this project, this sequence posed several problems for Kyle Jameson. For one, since tooling usually happens on a flat piece of leather, working on a 3-dimensional, fully-assembled shoe would be difficult. However, if Jameson were to tool and dye the newly cut leather before assembly, the design would be softened and warped by the shoe-shaping hot water bath later in the process. Undeterred, Keita and Kyle decided to bring a third collaborator into the project: the U.S. Postal Service.
The final process went like this: first, Keita sourced the chosen leather and shaped it into a completed pair of chukkas, subjecting the shoes to the same spa treatment received by all Hawthornes. Then, Keita deconstructed the shoes, removing the soles and undoing a saddle seam so that the uppers could be laid out, leaving their side panels relatively flat while maintaining the round toe molded during the water bath. These “flat” uppers were then mailed to Moorhead, Minnesota, where Kyle worked his magic.
After impressing the side panels with a stunning Pacific Northwest forest scene of mountains, streams, and evergreens, Kyle strategically dyed the design to add further depth and give the shoes a rich, striated mahogany finish. Finally, Kyle shipped the tooled leather pieces back to Soft Star, where Keita reassembled them into the fantastic finished product.