Your Feet Will Thank You for Reading This
If you haven’t heard of Helm Boots, get ready to discover some of the best of what Austin style has to offer. The last time we checked in with our little slice of leather heaven, Joshua Bingaman and his team had proudly introduced a brand new, American-made line of boots.
We described how Joshua had been beating down the doors of the somewhat suspicious classic American shoe-making factories that produce monster-brand boots like Red Wing. Helm Boots wanted to bring their previous line, made in Istanbul, over to the U.S. to have more control and design freedom with their product.
The story of how Joshua managed to get his boot in the door (see what I did there?) of these factories is so classically Austin, you could eat it from a taco.
At first, Joshua experienced resistance from factory owners whose families had run their companies for generations. They were hesitant about getting involved with a small production line from little old Austin, TX.
Then, one of the factory owners’ sons decided to come to Austin for SXSW, and Joshua heard through the grapevine that he was visiting. Not someone to pass up an opportunity, Joshua reached out to the owner’s son and showed him the best of what SXSW had to offer.
Some time later, Helm Boots went into production in the U.S., at one of the oldest factories in the country.
Growing Company With a Community Focus
What began as a little startup without a brick and mortar home has grown into a reputable and respectable shoe design company that’s putting Austin on the map.
I asked Joshua what exciting things have been going on with Helm recently. His answer surprised me, as he shared how he had just outfitted Mumford and Sons, and how Andre 3000’s stylist was about to drop by to pick up a few pairs of boots.
What excited Joshua the most, though, was that a recent financial investment into the company made it possible to provide his employees with more job security.
That’s the kind of local flavor we love here at the Austinot.
In our last interview, Helm Boots was nestled into a small and somewhat obscure location in East Austin. Now, however, they feature a well-designed flagship location on 6th Street, east of I-35.
The shop smells like leather and awesomeness. It reflects the unique heritage style that has taken Austin by storm in the last 10 years. It represents a return to a permanent style, while keeping a fashion forward approach.
The boots reflect all this. I sat in wonder, considering how anyone could make cow hide look so different on each boot. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to strap them on under my favorite suit or lace them up under my favorite pair of work jeans to cut down a tree.
Local Business With a Global Impact
What makes Helm Boots so exciting is that the company is locally grounded, passionate about the Austin community. That is easily reflected in Joshua’s enthusiasm about taking care of his people. But Helm also isn’t afraid to risk and grow.
Over the summer, Joshua ventured out to the West Coast with a troupe of Helm employees to put the best of Austin boot making on display. They made a big imprint. This fall, they’ll visit their factories to oversee and talk about increasing production. Go along for the adventure through their Instagram and Facebook.
Austinites think local when it comes to our food, fun and flavors. Should it be any different with our fashion?
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@ATXtherapist wants to know:
What is your favorite pair of Helm Boots?