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Helm sold their first pair of boots in 2009 back when they were based in Istanbul, but founder Joshua Bingaman packed up and moved the company to Austin, Texas. The Muller boot was the first boot they designed when they landed stateside and it’s probably fair to say it’s their signature boot.
WATCH MY 5 FAVORITE BOOTS OF 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y7_Bu7XGB0
This is a pretty low profile shoe: the shaft is under 6 inches, the heel isn’t too high, and the leather sole helps to keep the profile pretty subtle.
Besides the brilliant teak color of the leather, it’s a really minimalist shoe: antique brass eyelets, toecap, leather sole. The brand is really well known for the white strip of rubber that runs through the sole, which makes it a tiny bit more sneaker-like. Some people hate it, I quite like it.
The boot is also super lightweight, partly because it’s Blake stitched and it has a fiberglass shank.
It’s a welcome change from these chunkier, clunkier workboots I’ve been wearing lately — this shoe is basic, fits snug, and above all it’s super versatile.
There are very few shoes I can wear with a t-shirt and with slacks, and while this color may not be super friendly to *every* workplace I think these shoes could work well in dressier outfits.
This is Horween’s Chromexcel, a super popular leather that is used by brands as cheap as Thorogood and as expensive as Viberg and Alden. It’s made over 28 working days and uses all five floors of the Horween Leather Company’s facility in Chicago. It’s hot stuffed with a bunch of fats and oils and waxes — food grade beef tallow winds up in there — which gives it a nice depth of color.
Chromexcel is combination-tanned, so it’s both vegetable-tanned and chrome-tanned. This teak color isn’t quite as deep as the brown variety, but this boot is also sold in brown and black Chromexcel if that’s your jam.
WATCH TWO FANCY CHROMEXCEL BOOTS FACE OFF — VIBERG VS ALDEN — HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnH0qh6U8Ys
Most people suggest Venetian Shoe Cream for Chromexcel, but it does have petroleum distillate in it and Helm prefers the more “natural” products from Otter Wax. They like the shea butter- and carnauba wax-based Otter Wax's Leather Salve for general conditioning, for shinier leather Blackrock's Leather 'n' Rich, for softer leather Huberd's Shoe Oil, and Otter Wax's Boot Wax for extra weather resistance.
This has a leather outsole, which I don’t love. I mean, leather soles do have some pros: they’re relatively soft and flexible, they’ve got a nice sleek profile. But they get scratched up super easily and the grip sucks. The sole is a downside here, but the boot is sometimes available with a rubber sole (in limited editions) and Helm has a bunch of super similar boots with rubber on the soles, like the Zind.
After the leather outsole there’s a rubber midsole — which makes the famous white strip — a fiberglass shank, then a leather insole and some foam on the inside for extra springiness.
One interesting touch is there’s a quote stamped on the insole of every shoe. Mine says “Your path is at your feet whether you feel like it or not,” a quote from abstract painter Agnes Martin. They change it every season.
Finally, this sole is Blake stitched, so it’s not as water resistant as a Goodyear welt. To be fair, no one is saying this is a clompy outdoorsy boot that’s meant to be able to traverse a mountain stream in the first place, but you may find that a con. It does contribute to the boot’s very light weight, though.
LIKE LIGHTER BOOTS? CHECK OUT THE OAK STREET TRENCH BOOT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmDPAspLx-E
FIT & SIZING
These fit true to size and they’re available in D and EE widths. The fit is pretty snug, but it wasn’t too tight. I did get some abrasion on my heel and pinky toe as I was wearing them in. After a few weeks I still don’t love being on my feet in these all day. The shoe does break in, but it takes a little longer than I was expecting.
A pair of these is $385. BUT IF YOU GOOGLE "STRIDEWISE HELM REVIEW" YOU CAN GET 15% OFF WITH MY CODE!!! THIS IS VERY GREAT!
*Made in USA
*Not that water resistant
*Not everyone loves the white strip in the sole
*Leather sole gets beat up easily
*Doesn't break in super quickly