Port71, A Blog by Rockport

Shoes and Such

The Boat Builder, a boot designed on tradition

New England.
We’re from here.
We love it here.

Marblehead, MA
And one of the things we love the most about New England, is its history. A rich history of real people. Making real things. With the same passion their father did, and his father before him. It’s inspiring to watch, and it’s a privilege to be counted among them.

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So, when our product team had the opportunity to develop a new men’s boot collection from scratch, they decided they wanted to build a boot inspired by the people of these New England coastal communities.
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For inspiration, they paid a visit to Marblehead, MA, an active fishing village that was settled in 1629. Interestingly enough, in the late 19th century this was also once also a huge shoe-making town.

Win-win for us – we were also able to discover so many shoemaker’s treasures while we were there.

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We met some amazing people. People who make their living in this small community, who brave the New England winters here on the water, and who have known, and been a part of each others lives for generations.

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It wasn’t long before we made our own friends… Joe, one of the last people in New England still making wooden lobster traps by hand, Jay, and his son, Carter, who took us out on their fishing boat.

One minute we’re walking up to introduce ourselves to these people and the next, they’re inviting us out on their boats—sharing their time and their stories.

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Some days, work really doesn’t feel like work.

The team spent some time with Doug Park of Redd’s Pond Boatworks

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Inspired is an understatement. The attention to detail, the tradition of the craft. Deal done. We’d be making a boot that paid tribute to these people and the history of the New England fishing town, The Boat Builder. One full of the features and functionality (think: waterproof, slip-resistant, stability control) needed when braving the elements, putting in a hard day’s work, or just enjoying some time at the end of the day with some friends and family.

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It would feature materials inspired by the tools and raw materials they saw, ones that would stand the test of time, to keep them safe and comfortable, built to withstand the daily abuse of building, boating, living.

And every detail would be one of thought and purpose.

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Like any labor of love, we didn’t want the fun to end. So, we headed back to Marblehead and put together a little video to share with you the story of how the Boat Builders boot came to be. We hope you like it as much as we enjoyed every single step of the process.

Marblehead… we’re sort of in love. Thank you.

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Just as we were finalizing this blog post we saw an article in Marblehead  Home and Style Magazine featuring Doug; not building boats, but instead putting his talents to be used on water in a different form… building toboggans, in his Boat Builder Boots no less! For more information on Doug’s boat building business, check out his company Redd’s Pond Boatworks.

Marblehead Home And StyleDoug - BoatBuilder Winter 2015 Issue