Why was Parkhurst started?
The idea for Parkhurst was born, and continues, here in Buffalo, New York. The goal was simple - build a quality boot with soul, but one which struck a balance between dress and work - or as we like to refer to it, elegant but rugged. We are grateful to work with factories and component suppliers in both New York and Spain who all posses the technology, skill and heritage to help make this small idea become a reality. In the future, we welcome opportunities to work with skilled craftspeople from everywhere to make the best quality product we can make and offer it at a competitive price to our valued customers.
We use a time-honored build called Goodyear welt construction. This build allows your boots to be re-soled over time and with wear. We do this while focusing on components used to build our boots such as rugged upper leathers as well as leather and metal components. Our boots are limited production run styles which means for the most part, re-stocks of sizes and styles introduced do not take place once they are gone. Are Parkhurst boots perfect? No. But we will always provide you with a rugged, quality built boot at a valuable price-point.
Design Inspiration and Value
Our boots are designed to be sleekly handsome, while also infinitely capable in many different conditions. How do we help to achieve this? By designing our own lasts, patterns and moldings for our footwear. This also includes customizing components such as outsoles, heels and leather heel counters. When name brand components such as outsoles or heels simply don't work out, most often seen not fitting our lasts in all sizes, we make our own. We want our customers to be confident knowing they received a great value while experiencing a more tailored product and solid build.
Parkhurst aims to create footwear with character, soul, and a long life - something which delivers a great look but also provides value. We believe a well-made pair of boots tends to look better the more they've been worn. While this rolls up into the design objective, there is also functionality offered. Our leathers are tanned with plenty of wax and natural oils in order to provide the purest form of elemental resistance, all while developing a gorgeous patina - especially our full vegetable tanned and combination tanned models.
Sourcing Responsibility and Operation
We recognize our responsibility to our customers to create a quality boot. We do this by working with experienced factories as well as supply chains in regions of the world which share the same labor and quality values as we do. It is important to us that we use as many sturdy components as possible in our build, and to do this requires sourcing and building with manufacturers/component suppliers in both Europe (Spain and sometimes Portugal) and the U.S. Our Spanish partners possess the necessary skilled labor and technology to help build a very specific boot for our customers. We are also working on projects with our friends in Portugal. Granted, as many of you may already know from following Parkhurst, the vast majority of both our U.S.-based suppliers and manufacturers closed down from the events of Covid-19 and never re-opened. Therefore, assembly to specification from start to finish was no longer possible in the U.S. Finishing assembly and final touches are performed here in Buffalo, New York in our warehouse and repair shop on each boot prior to them shipping out to the customer. This can include sanding, burnishing, cutting and gluing heel pads, etc. Small things, but we consider them our finishing steps.
Domestically, our components and raw materials are purchased from distributors, tanneries and manufacturers in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania. We continue to do business with those who are still open and who made it through the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the supply chain/labor landscape being what it is. Unfortunately as a result of both, we saw nearly every one of our original manufacturers in the U.S. close during this time period with none left who have capabilities to produce a boot to the specifications needed from start to finish. Having the ground shift beneath our feet has provided Parkhurst with a unique opportunity to expand production, but also improve the construction of our boots while doing so by moving more towards a predominantly leather build. Our factory in Spain has been integral not only in providing a quality build by generational shoe-makers, but also in providing vegetable tanned leather components such as custom leather heel counters (made to fit our last), midsoles, insoles, outsoles and heel stacks all coming from a single source. Most suppliers and component manufacturers there are often in the very same town in which the shoe factories are located - and are often third or fourth generation family owned businesses. This helps us to ensure a steady flow of components when needed should our suppliers here encounter challenges.
We use upper leather hides from North American and European cattle as well as game leathers when available. Each production hide we use is what's called a first-quality tannery run, which means it's the best quality you can get from a tannery.
Sustainability is hugely important to us. While there is always work to be done and improvements to be made at any given time, we are excited to have almost half of our production now made from solar-generated power providing electricity to the machines which are used to make our boots. This has been a work in progress for a couple of years now.
If you maintain your boots properly, they can last for years—and be easily re-soled when the time comes. Mainstream cemented shoe-making involves using nearly 100% synthetic materials in the shoe-making process and emits a few dozen pounds of carbon dioxide per pair. With over 2 billion pairs of shoes produced that way per year—and often thrown away far too quickly—the impact on the environment becomes staggering. We're hoping to change that in part by working with an efficient operation while using quality builds and components. All of our product packaging comes from a recycled source, is recyclable or comes from organic cotton. Add this to our carbon-neutral shipping program within the USA (where trees are planted to help offset carbon emissions) and our impact on the environment becomes smaller than other major shoe brands who manufacture with larger factories.
So what is the bottom line with Parkhurst?
Attractive, quality footwear with soul and purpose. The world doesn’t need one more pair of disposable boots. We make footwear that lasts and can be maintained—not disposed of. That's us. That's Parkhurst.