From the very beginning, Parkhurst's focus was to build a great boot here in the USA and work with as many American suppliers as possible. This is why we chose to start off making our boots in the USA, right here in Western New York, with the Allen boot being the first boot to launch. Eight incredibly talented women and men at a small factory here in Western New York take their time hand-crafting every pair of boots through nearly 200 manual steps. They have been working with Parkhurst since the very beginning and we owe the success of Parkhurst thus far to their hard work and dedication.
As Parkhurst grows, we are excited to expand our portfolio of manufacturing and suppliers to those within the USA and Spain who are making quality components and products.
The uppers of our boots are guided by hand through sewing machines designed for sewing leather and other thicker materials. This is contrary to what is widely done in the footwear industry today as most of the pattern stitching is automated through computers - a process which often requires extraordinarily little human interaction other than sliding a pattern into and out of a cutting/sewing machine and watching the computer run stitches. Yes, the way we do this takes longer and involves a bit more risk since it's manual, but we believe at the end of the day the human hand and eye play the most crucial parts in creating a quality, hand-crafted product. All of our upper stitches are locked by hand which adds to structural security - something a computer traditionally isn't able to do.
When it comes to sewing the outsole, aka, sole stitching, we use a method known as "lock stitching" which knots the thread internally. What does this mean for wear and longevity? If you wear out your outsole stitches either on the bottom of the outsole or on top of the welt, the outsole, welt and midsoles will not fall apart because they are knotted internally.
Patterns are traced and cut using laser-guided measuring and cutting technology. Using this technology provides a more accurate cut, more precise pattern fit and helps to utilize more of the leather hide, resulting in far less leather wasted or discarded.
Each pair of boots is constructed using a genuine, vegetable tanned leather Goodyear welt made in Massachusetts. The main style of welt we use is referred to within the industry as a split reverse welt and it provides excellent water resistance. The welts are sewn through the uppers and onto the insole with waxed thread and held onto our boots via an insole rib which is attached to the bottom of the vegetable tanned bends leather insole, creating a channel. Cork is then filled into this channel which is created. This process has helped to ensure the boots’ longevity for years to come while allowing for easy repairs and maintenance.
The lasts are designed by the founder of Parkhurst who has spent years working with experienced last-makers within the footwear industry and within the specific niche of Goodyear-welt footwear. In an industry where it is common for brands to go to existing factories around the world and use existing lasts, Parkhurst has developed its own. This is often why much footwear tends to look overall the same throughout this industry. It was an expensive, timely process (About 2 years to design, test, re-visit and wait for manufacturing to occur on each of the 9 prototypes before launching) but our lasts provide customers with a unique fit and silhouette. Why did this process take so long? There are many reasons but the main reason was the desire to achieve a great fit and look.
Mid-soles and Out-soles
Parkhurst uses genuine vegetable tanned bends leather for its midsoles. This type of leather tends to last longer and provides more comfort and conformity during the break-in process of the boot. Quality outsoles from Dainite, Goodyear, Itshide and Vibram help to ensure the boot’s longevity. Every midsole and outsole is applied and trimmed by hand. Once these have been applied, each boot is ran through the sole stitching machine, guided by hand. We use a lock-stitch sole stitching process which ensures the boots' longevity and performance should sole stitches come loose over the course of wear.
This is the final inspection to ensure everything blends together, looks good and is secure. Loose threads are trimmed and uneven edges are sanded and stained. Light heat is applied to bring out some color in each leather as well as to make sure any wax or oil from the leather is locked in.
The process of making a single pair of boots is quite labor intensive and requires heavily manual interaction. Due to this not every single pair of boots will come out looking exactly alike. Nor will they come out looking perfect from boot to boot. There may be minor quirks of the manufacturing process such as a small, crooked stitch or perhaps one or two eyelets not perfectly centered.
Parkhurst boots are made by the highly skilled and talented craftsmen and craftswomen of our partner factory here in New York and soon to be, Spain. Minor finishing touches to the boots (nailing heels and burnishing along with customization's) are performed by Parkhurst's owner at the warehouse. These experienced craftspeople are continuing a long tradition of handcrafting boots both here in New York and Spain.
As the company grows we look forward to expanding our footprint to include more US-based suppliers as well as other global suppliers/manufacturers making quality footwear and components in sustainable environments. Further, we look to cater to the preferences of our customers who demand a certain level of build and craftsmanship which may not be available in the USA.