Friday, December 24, 2010

Ah, the holidays...

I love this time of year.  The short days, the cold nights, warm fires, tasty cocktails, hearty roasted meals, the smell of baking, board games, time spent shopping for gifts or hand crafting them.  It is great to be out in the neighborhood amidst the holiday hustle and bustle, the store fronts decorated with lights and garland, the sound of holiday classics playing in the background.  

Market Street Shoes wishes everyone a Happy Holiday season.  We are looking forward to spending time with friends and family soon, enjoying a winter break from school or work, and wish the same for all of you.  For those of you spending the holidays elsewhere we wish you safe travels and look forward to hearing about them upon your return.  We'll be keeping regular hours until Christmas eve when we'll close at 5 PM, and we'll be closed the following day of course.  Call if you have questions or need help with those last minute items.

With that, I'll leave you with a little schmaltz...

Stockings hung by the chimney with care, but are looking a wee empty or perhaps quite bare?  Still checking to see who's been naughty or nice?  You've checked the list once, but still no dice.  Market Street Shoes comes through in a pinch with gifts for your loved ones or even that grinch.  There are hats, and gloves, socks, scarves, and mittens, footbeds, shoulder bags, and slippers soft as kittens.  And when in doubt, or are stumped what to get dear Aunt Sue, do not fret we'll be waiting with a gift card for you.

Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Just in... Saucony stocking stuffers!

We just received a big shipment of Saucony sneakers just in time for your last minute stocking stuffers or for looking funky fresh at that holiday party.  Take a peek...

For the girls, a host of Vegan Jazz Lows and Bullets.

And for the fellas, the Vegan Jazz Low, Bullet and a restock of the Jazz O.

Ho, ho, ho!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Hunter Wellingtons. Outstanding in every field!

The Wellington boot has a history steeped in the aristocratic traditions of England and was conceptualized by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, in the early 1800s. A successor to the popular leather Hessian boot being worn at the time, the wellington was conceived by the Duke as a "form follows function" update.  With the criteria that the new boot fit closer to the leg, be sturdy and battle ready, and have the versatility to transition into evening wear, Wellesley put the task to his cobbler Hoby, a fixture on London's St. James Street.  The resultant creation, dubbed the Wellington in the Duke's honor, began an enduring trend in leather footwear. Ever ready to emulate a celebrated hero, patriotic Brits took to the new style in droves and it remained a fashion staple well into the late 1800s.

Hessian Boot

Wellington (leather) Boot

While footwear traditions were forging ahead in England, across the Atlantic, entrepreneurial Americans were seeking new materials to work with as an option to leather. In 1852 Charles Goodyear had perfected his process for making vulcanized rubber, a versatile material suitable for many uses, including footwear. Shoemakers of the day didn't miss a beat and began to use vulcanized rubber in earnest realizing its benefits almost immediately - ease of use, durability, and most notably, its waterproofness. Among those to realize the potential of vulcanized rubber footwear was Henry Lee Norris.  

In 1856 Mr. Norris set off for Scotland in search of a suitable location to establish a factory for the making of his "light bulb" idea - rubber wellingtons.  Norris found a suitable location in the old Castle Silk Mills in Edinburgh, Scotland and immediately set to task.  He brought over four cobblers from America familiar with vulcanized rubber, incorporated under the name North British Rubber Company and began manufacturing rubber wellingtons.  By 1875 Norris had 600 people under his employ and was rapidly expanding into other areas of manufacture utilizing vulcanized rubber including tires, water bottles, conveyor belts and golf balls.  During World War I the company produced over one million pairs for troops fighting in the flooded trenches of Northern Europe.  The Second World War saw the increased production of not only wellingtons, but gas masks and other equipment as well, with 80% of production going to support the war effort.  In 1955, the now classic Green Hunter and Royal Hunter were introduced, both styles continuing in production today.  

Castle Silk Mills

North British Rubber Co. advert

Eventually rebranding the rubber wellington division as Hunter Boots, the North British Rubber Company established an iconic footwear collection worn everywhere; on the feet of Royals at Buckingham Palace to workers on the factory floor, from huntsmen on the Scottish Highlands to fashionistas in the streets of New York City. Timeless in their style and adept at their task, Hunter wellingtons will continue in their rich heritage for years to come.



Monday, November 22, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

The snow is falling, the kids are out early, it's a winter wonderland... time to play!  We're here regular hours; come see us to keep your feet warm and dry.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kamick, eh?

We just received a big shipment of boots from our French speaking friends to the north in Quebec, just in time for the impending dynamic weather.  The gangs' all here -Janis, Christina, Heather, Annabel, Ellie, and Heidi - and they're ready to keep your dry, and look good doing it.  Kamik boots are made in Canada, they are fully waterproof and recyclable.  In fact, once they are worn out you can send them to Kamik where they are ground-up and repurposed.  Take a look...

Janis in Black


Christina in Blue


Heather in Green


Annabel in Houndstooh


Ellie in Black


Heidi in Plum


Heidi in Khaki


Christina in  Black


...and a host of cute kid's colors!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Art Walk this Saturday...

We're hosting the pop art of local artist Babs Fulton, and her pop-modernist take on Puget Sound living.

6-9 PM, snacks and tasty beverages served.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In a dark alley...

...I want Veronica on my side.

Frye Veronica Slouch and Veronica Shorty

'Cause when you're raising hell... need a good pair of boots!

Download now or listen on posterous
04_Walk_This_Way.m4a (4924 KB)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Fresh from Portugal...

Singing in the rain...

I watch Gene Kelly in that clip and think to myself, "I wonder if Gene waterproofed his shoes before that scene".  I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to shoe care.  

I like the all of the creams and polishes and cleaners and old t-shirts and daubers and horsehair brushes and, oh, see what I mean.  I like the end result best of all; the shine on the toe of my cognac balmorals, the greasy, coal-black of my loggers, the slight burnish of black on my cherry three-eyes, and most of all, the beads of water signifying the impenetrable barrier I have bestowed upon my beloved collection of footwear with the appropriate waterproofer.  All of them get it really, the waterproofing, even those whose scuffed and marred appearance I cherish and wish to preserve, the patinated character alluding to the type of affair I have with a given pair.  None are spared.


Ideally, I like to begin the process fresh out of the box.  I begin with a damp rag, wiping the shoe, coaxing the pores in the leather to open, readying them for the flood of protective water-based polymers from the jar of Nikwax with which I will saturate the surface.  Satisfied with my liberal application, I wipe off the excess and wait for them to dry, sometimes.  Sometimes I don't.  You don't need to really, they're waterproof as soon as you've soaked them with Nikwax (the waterproofing following the journey through the leather that the water before it took,) the tiny, hydrophobic, polymers clinging to the fiber and cell structure within.  


And now, the moment I've been waiting for... the squirt bottle!  I know, I know, it is a bit silly, but the results always impress.  Even the casual observer will emit an unplanned ooh or ahh.  You don't need a squirt bottle, you could just flick the finished product with your dampened fingers, but... I pointed out my nerdiness earlier, did I not?  Either way, you'll be impressed, your footwear will be protected from the elements, and you'll have fun watching the transformative process.  I suspect you'll soon be scouring the closets of friends and relatives looking for more footwear to waterproof, not that I do that...


Follow along in the photos below to see the amazing transformation of a pair of Fidjis - in all their handmade-in-Portugal, vegetable-tanned-leather, glory - into a pair of incredibly water and stain resistant resistant footwear ready for any weather Seattle can throw its way.  The front shoe in each photo is treated, the rear shoe is not.  You'll notice the slightest bit of darkening of the treated shoe, a modest price to pay for the level of protection you receive in return.

Nikwax is available in formulations for smooth leather, nubuck and suede, and fabric and leather combinations, as well as general purpose waterproofing for bags and apparel. 

Friday, November 05, 2010

Clint Luke Leathers


Hailing from Seattle, in the mighty, Pacific Northwest, Clint Luke handcrafts leather goods purpose-built to withstand our rugged lifestyle. Luke’s leather satchels - reminiscent of vintage field and postal bags - are the epitome of utilitarian design and function. A classic day-bag, Luke’s satchels are built from full-grain, oil-tanned leathers, and nickel hardware with a simple flap closure.

Dutifully outfitted with ample interior space and an external front pocket for organization, these bags are made to last a lifetime. Clint hand selects each hide for its quality and character, with the intent that each bag will develop a rich patina through daily use. Produced in small batches, Luke’s bags will always guarantee uniqueness due to their handcrafting.

Quality, function and style. Clint Luke Leathers.