I received a comment on my blog post about whether or not lug-sole Chippewa Firefighter Boots (27422, “Ruttman”) were no longer manufactured. The author of the comment had a similar experience that I did when trying to find out about current production from the manufacturer, Justin Brands. Their marketing kids are rather clueless, and only know how to respond with prepared “canned” cut-and-paste replies.
While pondering the situation regarding discontinuance and lack of availability of some of the most popular Chippewa boots, I visited Chippewa’s website and was astounded when I discovered…
…that what I thought were exceptionally popular Chippewa Harness Boots are no longer there. Whattt???
Then I began to surf around to see if I can find those boots on retailer’s websites. This surfing validated that indeed, those boots are almost gone … from anywhere.
But to my amazement, I saw this on a retailer’s website when I looked up those boots:WTF?
I know the laws of supply-and-demand may make these boots more costly than what I have paid for them before — US$200. But US$1,000????
That must be an anomaly in that retailer’s website, but man oh man, what a colossal mistake to let that happen!
Anyway, what I think really happened is that these boots were the focus of the class action lawsuit brought in California against Chippewa (Justin Brands) for alleged fraud — that is, claiming their boots were “handcrafted in the U.S.A.” when sourcing the materials from which they were made from other countries. The boots therefore were not really “made in the USA” — but assembled in the USA — big difference.
Already as you can see on all boot retailer websites, when you look at Chippewa boots, they all say, “Due to manufacturer’s restrictions, currently this product cannot be shipped to California.”While I am not an attorney and I do not live in California, I learned how to add two and two and have a theory on what’s going on.
Justin Brands (owner of the Chippewa boots label) is avoiding any more difficulties with over-zealous attorneys in California, and is penalizing men (and women) who live in California from being able to order and receive their boots … all due to this lawsuit. While Justin Brands did not admit liability (they never do), to settle the lawsuit, they offered a pittance to people in California who bought Chippewa boots. But they won’t allow their boots to be sold or shipped to California evermore. Frankly, I understand that, and probably would have made the same decision if I were an attorney advising Justin Brands about Chippewa-labeled boots.
This most recent lawsuit about Chippewa Boots in California was probably the “last straw” for Justin Brands. They remember well the silliness of California’s “Proposition 65” requiring a warning label to be applied to their boots about the potential for getting cancer if you ingest their boots. (See this past blog post for an explanation).
I think these rugged and well-designed harness boots have been taken out of production… sadly… and the alternative choices made with labels of “Frye”, “Harley-Davidson”, “Ad-Tec”, or “X-Element” are cheap junk made in China. Boots of that style made with the labels of Dingo, Durango, Double H, Carolina, and so forth are not nearly as good. Really sad to see this happen.
A reasonable, well-made current lightweight alternative to the Chippewa harness boots are made by Boulet of Canada. Their boots are reasonably priced and available without restriction.
The top-of-the-line harness boots are available from Wesco and White’s Boots (called “Freedom Square”). Both of these manufacturer’s harness boots are made in the USA of high quality materials. However, these boots are quite pricey and heavy! They WILL last beyond the original purchaser’s lifetime.
Life is short: get and wear good quality boots when you can.