Nick Blahcuzyn escaped Stalin’s army during WWII, immigrated to the United States and learned to build boots in the Northwest. He founded Nicks Boots in 1964, and the company’s handmade boots became the go-to for hotshot crews, loggers and upland hunters. Based in Spokane, Washington, the company builds some of the best boots available using hand-welted construction and thick, durable leather. It’s known for its four-layer hand-carved leather arch that helps distribute body weight evenly through the foot, reducing foot and leg fatigue.
While a majority of the brand’s boots are substantial and designed to be used in serious work conditions, there are a few styles that are less hefty. The Robert boot is a pared-down version of the brand’s Ranger work boot. Completely customizable, the style has a 6-inch shaft and Dogger heel, and it’s completely rebuildable. Seattle-based Filson did a large custom order and is offering the style in a suede roughout 6-ounce Horween Chromexcel leather upper with Vibram western composite soles. Due to the unique arches, Nicks recommends sizing down one half-size from your normal shoe size.
Now at Filson, you can purchase a pair for $495. While that’s more than you’d drop on styles from Midwestern heritage boot brands, the quality is well worth the price. If you’d prefer to customize your own pair of Robert boots, you can fill out an extensive form on Nicks website (prices start at $467). And for first-time customers, Nicks recommends its Fit-sheet to guarantee a perfect fit.