Mister Freedom® ROAD CHAMP Engineer Boots, brown.
NOS Nitrene rubber sole edition, Spring 2017
Made in USA.
The Mister Freedom® “Road Champ” engineer boots are the result of 2½ years of research & development that started sometime in 2006. By the end of 2009, after a painstaking process of designing, last carving, sourcing, custom leather tanning, color testing, hide selecting… the first batch of RC was finally released.
Followed many more batches throughout the years, in a wide range of brown hues. Our hides are vegetable tanned and individually hand-dyed at the factory. Fluctuation in color came with the territory, adding quite an interesting uniqueness to each pair.
MF® Road Champ 2009
MF® RC 2009
MF® RC 2011
MF® RC 2012
MF® RC 2012
MF® RC 2012
MF® RC 2013
MF® RC 2015
After an appearance in jet black hand-dyed leather in 2015, the classic Mister Freedom® Road Champ engineer boots are now back in the original brown cowhide leather of the initial release. We added the New Old Stock Nitrene rubber sole and heel of the BRC issue for good measure.
These vintage Nitrene half soles (a limited stock introduced with the MF® Trooper Boots) have proved to be longer-lasting on asphalt than Cat’s Paws. They boast a “Non Marking – Oil Resistant – Long Wearing” quality. Rubber soles are definitely less slippery than the full leather soles of the original RC.
The last, pattern, MF® signature green top, sizing, price of these 2017 brown Road Champs all remain identical to our first 2009-released RC.
The production is still a slow process, but it appears that we are mostly caught-up with the wait list now! The Mister Freedom® Road Champs are still made in very small batches, so size availability will continue to be limited and stock status quite erratic. Again, this is not a marketing strategy on our part, nor a way to aggravate customers with an artificial hype, but rather the result of us striving to keep quality standards.
We never claimed to do it best, just try to do it right.
On a broader scale, and in this golden age of disposable wares, cheap imports and reckless consumerism, we’re just happy there still is footwear manufacturing activity in the USA.
Vintage engineer boots enthusiasts will make sure to check out our friend USMC John “VEB” V.’s blog for valuable info, historical references, brand reviews and pertinent updates related to this iconic footwear category.
NOTE: The worn pair of Road Champs featured in the photos in about three years old. If the leather color and grade is the same, the soles of that old specimen were originally full leather, and feature a non-slip thin rubber pad that was added during a later custom resole.
* The Mister Freedom® Road Champ boots are the result of 2 1/2 years of R&D in California, and were originally released in 2009.
* Featuring an original Mister Freedom® panel pattern and original hand carved last.
* Inspired by 1930′s to 1950s American engineer and work boots, popular amongst motor-cyclists/servicemen/workers/engineers.
* Old school low-toe profile, à-la Johnny “Wacha got” Strabler.
* Vegetable tan cow hides, carefully selected from a reputable American tannery.
* Custom leather treatment and coloring process. Hides are not dip-dyed but individually hand-dyed. Flesh side is natural, skin side treated with 3 layers of colors for a dark chocolate brown appearance. Guaranteed to beautify with wear. The leather will develop a ‘vintage’ patina with a range of reddish brown/chocolate/olive/black tones… according to use and personal choice of oil treatment and conditioning. When conditioning is needed, we recommend Pecard Leather Dressing.
* Original MF® olive-color top roll band and shaft strap gusset, aka “green tops”.
* Vintage style steel roller buckles.
* Curve pattern instep strap, adjustable to cinch ankle and heel. Un-cinch to pull boots on.
* Vintage limited supply of USA-made NOS ‘NITRENE’ rubber half sole and heel combo, boasting a “Non Marking, Oil Resistant, Long Wearing” quality.
* Mid rise welt (approx. 10½ inches)
* Approx. 1¾ inch heel height
* Made in USA
The general consensus is to size down ½ a size from your usual sneaker size. From customers feedback, if you are a size 10 in sneakers, a size 9½ Road Champ is likely to work for you.
Fit also depends on one’s foot profile and proportions, and obviously sock thickness. Wearing a thin insole with thin cotton socks for summer, and no insole with thick wool sock for winter is an option for some.
Available Sizes (according to stock):
Retail $ 949.95
Available from www.misterfreedom.com and our Los Angeles brick & mortar store.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.
Mister Freedom® Black Road Champ (BRC) engineer boot.
Made in USA
We have always looked forward to the day we would reply “Yes!” to the formidable “Do they come in black?”
Obstinacy be praised, that day has come, the champs are back, and they’re back in black.
We understand some of you on the Road Champs waiting list have been beyond patient (I hear some put their name for a specific size two years ago!). Sincerely grateful for the support, we truly apologize for the frustration. Thankfully, there are today more options than when we first introduced our vintage-inspired RC engineer boot, sometime around 2008. Several quality contemporary brands are now offering similar flat toe profiles and BRMC Brando-style models, in a range of colors and leathers. Reviews of what’s out there today can be found on John V’s Vintage Engineer Boots blog, along with valuable info, knowledge, facts and myths around this specific style of work boots. Don’t forget to check John’s leather crafting skills on his VEB store.
Manufacturing the Road Champs in the USA has always been a real challenge for us, a very long chain of events that involves many ‘special’ people, each one a crucial link. At the end of the high-end footwear manufacturing journey, QC (Quality Control) must be unforgiving. As with the rest of what we do, we don’t claim to do it best, just trying to do it right.
As a result, we are a bit behind with our Mister Freedom® footwear output… One of the many reasons production has been backed-up is raw material issues. Faced with color inconsistency in our stock of RC uncut vegetable tanned hides, custom ordered from Horween Leather for the past eight years, we decided to make lemonade with lemons. We had a batch of Road Champ brown hides professionally hand-dyed to a beautiful and rich shade of black. After this treatment, the black-dyed cowhides went through the painstaking boot-making process… all the way to the QC verdict.
We just received the first small batch of these special edition Black Road Champs, and I have to admit I was quite disappointed… not to see my size!
🙂 The BRC look mighty sweet in person, if I may say. The underlying brown tones will resurface with normal wear, creating an attractive natural patina over time. You too will then develop an urge to take photos of your feet several times a day, mesmerizing your friends on Instagram.
For the BRC, we are also updating the sole option by mounting vintage New Old Stock rubber soles and heels. We were fortunate to find some limited stock of Nitrene which, from experience with the MF® Trooper Boots, have proved to be a bit longer-lasting on asphalt than Cat’s Paws. These old Nitrene half soles boast a “Non Marking – Oil Resistant – Long Wearing” quality. I am not one to believe any kind of advertising, but rubber is definitely less slippery than the leather soles of the original RC.
The last, pattern, MF® signature green top, sizing, price of the BRC all remain the same as the original RC.
The production of the RC has always been trickling slowly, and it is likely not to change as we continue to be regarding and selective with what bears our name. These new Mister Freedom® engineer boots will continue to be made in very small batches, and size availability will continue to be limited. This is not a marketing strategy on our part, nor a way to aggravate customers, just the result of us keeping quality standards.
In this golden age of disposable wares, cheap imports and consumerism, we’re just happy there still is footwear manufacturing activity in the USA.
This first batch of BRC will be dispatched according to the current waiting list, for those interested in a black version of our Road Champ boot. It is possible that more original brown Road Champs be available in the future, but we do not have a timeline for that.
For further info or updated order status, please contact email@example.com.
Thank you truly for the continued support,
Ok. How does this go again?
An early ‘Trooper’ proto, spotted in the bush of an undisclosed jungle location
Mister Freedom® “TROOPER BOOTS”, Made in USA, 2014.
The moment I laid my eyes on that old pair of beat-up military boots at the 2012 Inspiration Show in Long Beach, I had a feeling they were trouble. I knew these beauties would lead to Mister Freedom® second endeavor of footwear manufacturing, in the USA… Not your average relaxing walk in the park.
The original culprit vintage shoe was a US military Government issued boot, dated 13 June 1955, double buckle type, first pattern jungle boot. That pair had seen the bush, crossed the tree line a few times in its days.
I wasn’t familiar with that model, so had to do a bit of research when I got back. The story goes that these early jungle boots were nicknamed ‘Okinawa boots‘, as they often shod US advisors flying out of Okinawa en route to mingle with in-Country barefoot montagnards, during the early days(post Geneva) of the US field involvement in Vietnam.
The flat toe box of these Okinawa boots was very similar to that of the old faithful Road Champs I was wearing that day, and I thought of combining a few things for a new shoe to add to the Mister Freedom® “The Sportsman” catalog.
The plan was easy: ruthlessly lift time tested military designs, SOP in the fashion world, and add some MF® jungle juice.
We would use the Champs’ lasts and leather, some olive drab NOS military surplus heavy canvas bags, some NOS “Nitrene” rubber soles, give the shoe a ‘service boot’ type profile, and call them ‘Trooper’, cause Crocs® was taken.
Bam. There it is.
Well, after a year of R&D, we are excited to officially release the FIRST batch, a small run of hand-cut, bench-made, bushwhacking-ready “TROOPER BOOTS”!
The trooper is not for ballet dancing, but will do the bop and behave better in the field than on the runways.
After road testing three protos in 2012, figuring out sole combos, I’ll attest that they are comfortable. Although some adults have used that excuse for wearing velour sweatpants, comfort, when applied to footwear is not a bad idea.
As the designated test dummy I even took a dip in the Pacific Ocean wearing an early pair. The boots reacted well, and the sight of a grown-up advancing in the water fully clothed really amused the children.
Surprisingly, the canvas really stiffened while wet, shrinking and compressing the ankle, softening up and loosening up later when fully dried. This kinda shows that the fiber content of the canvas has some linen or hemp mixed with the cotton.
Our Trooper is an un-lined shoe combining leather and a single layer of sturdy mil-specs NOS canvas fabric. One of the challenge resided in keeping the junctions clean, in and out. A complicated origami game of folding and overlapping ensued.
Note that the MF® Trooper Boot will not come customized with someone’s ID painted on the inside. I sometimes mark my own footwear on the inside, probably because I have too much time on my hands. I use regular latex paint, and do a sloppy job not unlike what is often seen on old ID’d military boots.
While on R&R in the cold Country over Christmas, I attempted to water-proof my Troopers (along with my Pensacola Jacket) with some Otter Wax heat-activated fabric dressing. A bit involved of a process, but I am quite happy with the result. The waxed canvas ages very nicely, but so will it when left untreated.
For additional photos of the Trooper, check out USMC MSgt John “VEB” Vintage Engineer Boots blog.
Please note that the MF® Trooper Boot is in no way intended as a replica of an original US Army “Okinawa” jungle boot. Nor are we claiming they are appropriate on SOG ops.
There it is.
* An original MF® pattern, inspired by 1950’s US military jungle boots and service boots.
* MF® old school flat toe box.
* Shoe Vamp/Heel: Vegetable tanned cow hide, USA origin. Same leather we are using for the MF® Road Champ engineer boots. Rich dark brown color that will age nicely, according to specific wear and your conditioning preferences.
* Shoe Quarter/Tongue: Single layer heavy canvas from a limited stock of 60’s era NOS duffle bags, EU military surplus origin. Strong cotton-linen blend.
* Ankle Band/Eyelet Facing: Genuine Kangaroo leather, origin Australia. Besides being our choice for the MF® scutler cap head bands, Kangaroo hide was used to make soccer shoes, sometime around 6500 BC. Its qualities include non-stretch.
* Limited supply of USA made NOS ‘NITRENE’ rubber half sole and heel combo, “Non Marking, Oil Resistant, Long Wearing” they say, so that must be true…
* 1950’s NOS cotton laces, French military. Admittedly, these laces are not the perfect length for the Trooper, and need to be wrapped around the ankle, where they won’t necessarily stay in place… We’re working on sourcing the perfect laces, which should happen sometime around 6500 AD.
* Bias taped tongue. I’m only mentioning this because 1) it sounds intriguing 2) sourcing the right vintage HBT tape was unexpectedly complicated…
* Woven MF® “The Sportsman” label on reverse of said tongue.
* Made in USA
The Trooper lasts are those of our Road Champ. If you are familiar with our engineer boot, the fit is the same, if only more ‘flexible’ around the arch/ankle due to lacing.
There is no real magic formula to advise on sizing, as everyone’s foot proportions/sock preferences vary.
However, according to feedback, sizing down HALF your sneaker size seems to work. If you are a 10 in New Balance sneakers, you are probably a 9½ in the Trooper.
And like they say, it always works, sometimes.
The Trooper Boots are low maintenance, easy to break-in. I recommend just wearing them as-is and let your feet do the work. They age very nicely, faster if you chose hiking over playing Angry Birds at home. For those worrying about scuffs, mud, stains and nicks, there might be other more appropriate footwear choices out there.
If needed, leather conditioners such as Pecard can be applied to keep the leather healthy. As mentioned, the canvas can be treated with Otter Wax products, or left as-is and brushed clean when needed.
Available Sizes: 7, 7½, 8, 8½, 9, 9½, 10, 10½, 11, 11½, 12, 13
(Limited availability at the moment, not all listed sizes)
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details not mentioned above, like… “do they come in black?” or “what’s with the banana bunch?”
Available at our brick & mortar and from www.misterfreedom.com
Thank you for your support.
Many thanks to the very patient folks on the “Road Champ” waiting list…
These are going to some of you, hope you like them as much as our friend Mr Yoshiaki Oyamada from Hinoya does 🙂
Thank you for the support.
A slightly anticipated (by us) batch of the “Road Champ” moto boots is being processed…
We decided not use our original cardboard boxes for packaging anymore. Instead, the new boots will be coming in a re-usable simple raw selvedge denim bag that you can take along for grocery shopping. Saves you from answering the “paper or plastic?” million $ question every time 😉