Determining Good Value in Boots

br363Sometimes people send me email to ask my opinion on a certain pair of boots — new or used. I appreciate that people recognize that I have learned a thing or two about boots. I am happy to respond to questions as I have time.

Recently, I was asked my opinion about Justin Bent Rail model 363 boots, pictured here. “Are these boots a good value?”

Not having this model of boot in my collection, I looked it up on-line. I started first at Justin’s website, then cross-referenced it by looking at five boot retailer websites. While all retailers use substantially the same image and written description, not all are the same. It is helpful to compare.

The Justin Bent Rail line was introduced in 2009. Generally, the boots are moderately durable, but the products from which they are made are not always leather. There have been some complaints about that in various internet forums I visit from time to time.

The Bent Rail 363 boot is made of what Justin labels as “Testa Torino”. They do not call it leather. This is just a made-up name for a product that for some reason they want to make sound Italian. (Testa means “head” and Torino [Turin] is the name of a major city in Northern Italy.) There is no such thing as a “testa torino” specialty leather.

When I see made-up names like that, it makes me become doubtful of the product quality. If a boot company will not say with certainty whether a model of boots is made of real leather or not, then I have to assume that the product (that model of boots) is composed of synthetic materials. If synthetic materials compose the shaft or foot (or both), then the boots are worth crap — a price of about $160 for a pair of synthetic boots isn’t worth it. It only costs Justin about $10 for the entire pair of boots, including assembly. You do the math — how much of the $150 mark-up do all the “middlemen” get?

Some websites that offer these boots for sale have the usual disclaimer that says, “product may be made or assembled in the USA.” That is a key indicator that the source of the products from which the boots are made is from a supplier that well may be located in India or China — well-known sources of crappy products. If the boots were truly made of U.S.-sourced products, they would say so. They don’t. So that is another reason to be doubtful about product quality.

Also, when they say “assembled” — it truly means “assemble” as in an assembly line for automobiles. Robotic/automated methods are employed to make the boots, saving the company a lot of money since fewer humans have to be employed to run machines instead of actually make a pair of boots one-at-a-time.

My overall recommendation: do not buy these boots. Their value is low and the quality is dubious. This is a matter of “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) again.

Life is short: learn how to read between the lines.

Note: the information in this post reflects my experienced opinion, but is not meant to be a slam against Justin boots. I own many pairs of Justin boots and am happy with what I have. Not all Justin boots are made the same, use the same products, are made in the same facility, or made by the same methods. The point of this post is to educate readers that you have to read product descriptions carefully, especially when language or terms are used to infer something that does not really exist — “testa torino” — really?