Renaissance Faire Boots
Anyone working at Renaissance Festivals knows how important it is to wear comfortable footwear. Thus, the desire for ren faire boots has skyrocketed and created such wonderful companies as RenBoots, Medieval Moccasins, and the granddaddy of them all, Bald Mountain Boots.
Andrew got some Bald Mountain Boots at the end of 2002. He immediately raved about how comfortable they were. His feet stopped hurting.
I, on the other hand, found a cool way to make "period"-looking boots without shelling out the $600-800 to Bald Mountain. I bought a pair of black Roper boots, wrapped some leather around them and tied it with some leather string, and I can count on one hand how many people have said, "Are those cowboy boots?"
It worked beautifully. The problem was, they were not very comfortable. Those boots were not made for walking.
So last summer, I decided I would buy some "real" boots. I ran across a leather worker who frequents Amtgard events, Jim Cook. His character there goes by the last name of Gunn. It was a wonderful match. Jim worked at Tandy's Leather and our intern at the time told me about how much people raved about his boots. So I decided to drop him a line.
Jim told me that he learned to make boots from the ex-wife of the guy who runs Bald Mountain. He'd made about twenty pairs, and each was better than the last. The price was a bit less than Bald Mountain and as much as I like supporting independent business folk, I decided to give it a try. What could go wrong? He even guaranteed his boots--no risk.
Most of the time when you see a satisfaction guarantee, those offering it are counting on the fact that you will no take them up on the offer. Jim had had no dissatisfied customers so, it sounded like a great deal all around. So I placed my order, got my feet sized for the custom-boot molding and waited.
The boots were ready just in time for Dragon*Con. I met up with him, put the boots on, and well... they didn't quite fit right. I figured it'd take a wee bit, but they were quite honestly uncomfortable.
After a few more gigs with them, I finally contacted Jim at Texas Ren Fest, and he said, let's meet. He even had us hook with his mentor. Lo and behold there was an error. His mentor said, that it happens, so Jim promised to make me a new pair.
In January, we met up. I gave him back the boots and he re-cast my feet for boots asking that he have 'em ready before Excalibur Fantasy Faire. Thursday I got a phone call him. I went to pick them up on Friday.
He made a few modifications from what he learned. I forget what pair this one was, but when I put them on, they fit like a glove. I finally understood what Andrew and others had talked about when it comes to boot comfort. These were perfect. I wore broke them in this past weekend and could never have been happier.
There's a lot to be said about honor and loyalty in the independent business world, and Jim Cook knows that firsthand. He lives it. Yeah, he could've shafted me altogether, especially since he doesn't make boots regularly. This is just a hobby for him. A little bad press wouldn't have hurt him at all.
Instead, he lived up to his commitment to provide incredibly comfortable Renaissance festival footwear which makes me more than happy to recommend him to others.
Unfortunately, Jim Cook is no longer taking orders for boots.