Not that long ago, boots made with the Double H label were considered generally okay for a entry-level work boot. The label got its name when the HH Brown Shoe Company (thus, “HH”) opened a manufacturing facility in Richland, Pennsylvania, in 1955.
However, while the boots with this label continue to be available, the manufacturing and quality have become really awful, as demonstrated…
…by my own personal experience recently. (And silly me, I should have known better and followed my own advice!)
Last week I was in Portland, Oregon, with a whole day open. It was raining, raining, raining, and raining again… all day long.
But that did not prevent me from using public transit and riding around the city.
However, during that transit trip, I realized that the informal short boots I had on (bad choice, I know, but all I had with me for such a short trip) weren’t going to cut it. My feet were cold and getting wet.
While waiting at a traffic light, I cleared fog off the bus window and saw a boot shop. Gee… what serendipity… ride for miles with foggy windows and only clear it when I’m at a boot shop?
I got off the bus at the next stop and walked back to the shop. Nice place, good display, non-pushy employee who just let me browse.
I saw boots I really like — Chippewa Harness Boots that have been discontinued. I would have bought a pair if they had anything near my size, but with only a 7D and 12EE available, I took a pass.
Down the row there was a display of Double H boots with lug soles and labeled “waterproof.” My wet feet got a little happy with that.
The boots were marked down 20% from MSRP. I tried them on. They fit great. And once I bought a pair of socks and put them on with these boots, my feet were warm, dry, and comfy! Sale! Out I went into the rain with dry feet in “waterproof” boots.
I got back on another bus and made my way to Langlitz Leathers for what will likely be my last visit.
Returned by bus and tram to my hotel. Took a nap.
Then it was time to go to the celebratory/retirement dinner in my honor. I checked out my black dress boots, and they were still wet. So I pulled on those Double H boots with leather jeans and went to the party. Had a great time.
When I returned to my room after the party, I realized that the pain I was feeling was not just soreness, but actually an open, bleeding sore caused by badly-built boots. Turns out that the threads used to sew the boot pull onto the boots was nylon. With a little wear, the nylon threads worked loose. It did not take long before those nylon threads cut the skin on my leg.
That’s what happens with cheap manufacturing and lack of quality control.
Another thing that I probably noticed but ignored — these boots are made in China. No wonder this happened.
When I got home, I fixed the problem by carefully sanding those threads on the boot pulls and covering them on the inside of the boot with cloth tape. But I have not worn those boots to allow time for the sore on my leg to heal.
Lessons learned: formerly well-regarded U.S. boot manufacturers may not make boots in the U.S. (or Mexico) any more. To reduce costs and keep prices down (to appeal to the working class boot buyer), manufacturing of boots was moved to China by several of these companies, including Double H.
Life is short: heed your own advice! Don’t buy crap made in China!