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Exploring the Craftsmanship Behind JK Boots

William Barton

Boots, Leather, Heritage Fashion, Denim, Workwear

William founded BootSpy in 2020 with a simple mission: test and review popular men’s boots and give a real, honest opinion. Since then, we've welcomed over 5 million readers on our boot reviews and boot care guides. Reach out to him for your own personalized boot recommendation at william@bootspy.com. Or join 50,000+ subscribers on the BootSpy YouTube channel, or send him a message on the BootSpy Instagram. Read full bio.

Last Updated: Mar 15, 2024
4 min read

As the founder of BootSpy, I’ve always been fascinated by the craftsmanship and detailed processes involved in creating the perfect pair of boots.

This intrigue led me to JK Boots, where I had the privilege of experiencing a factory tour guided by Tim Khadzhi, the son of John Khadzhi, JK’s founder.

This visit not only allowed me to witness the intricate steps involved in boot making but also to share these insights with fellow boot enthusiasts.

Here’s a glimpse into my journey through the JK Boots factory, exploring the meticulous art of boot crafting.

Walk through the JK Boots workshop with me in this factory tour video.

The Beginning: Selecting and Cutting the Leather

JK Factory Leather Cutting

Our tour commenced at what JK Boots refers to as the Uppers department. This is where the journey of a boot begins, with the careful selection and cutting of leather.

I was intrigued by how the craftsmen meticulously chose the best parts of the hide, ensuring the durability and quality of the boots.

The emphasis on using the strongest parts of the hide for critical areas like the vamp and toe was a testament to JK Boots’ commitment to quality.

The Art of Skiving and Sewing

JK Factory Sewing the Upper

Skiving and sewing are crucial steps in boot making, and at JK Boots, these processes are handled with utmost precision.

The skiving machine delicately feathers the edges of the leather, preparing it for the sewing phase. It was fascinating to watch the sewers at work, each specializing in different parts of the boot to ensure perfection.

JK Factory Adding eyelets
This cool punchy machine quickly adds eyelets to the sewn upper

The dedication to mastering specific sections of the boot highlights the level of expertise involved in creating JK Boots.

Lasting: Shaping the Boot

JK Factory boot lasting

The lasting department plays a pivotal role in giving the boot its shape. Witnessing the transformation of the upper, soaked in hot water and then skillfully shaped around the last, was remarkable.

The process of dry lasting, which allows the leather to retain its shape and memory, ensures that each pair of boots fits perfectly.

JK Factory boot lasting 2

It’s clear that lasting is not just a step in the process but an art form in itself at JK Boots.

The Shank and Bottoming: Foundation of the Boot

JK Factory boot lasting 2 1

The discussion about the choice between leather and steel shanks was particularly enlightening. JK Boots’ preference for leather shanks, due to their flexibility and comfort, showcases their understanding of what makes a boot both durable and comfortable.

JK Factory adding a vibram lug sole

Watching the bottoming process, where the foundation of the boot is secured with precision, reinforced the craftsmanship that JK Boots prides itself on.

Finishing Touches: A Commitment to Perfection

JK Factory finishing qc

The final stages of boot making involve careful attention to detail, from the sanding and finishing to the quality control checks.

The finishing process, where the boots are stained and polished, adds the final touch of beauty to the craftsmanship.

JK Boots’ rigorous quality control, with multiple QC stations, ensures that only the best products reach their customers.

The Unboxing Experience: Beyond Just Boots

JK OT Boots
Rocking my JK O.T. Boots

What sets JK Boots apart is not just their commitment to crafting the finest boots but also their dedication to customer service.

The inclusion of leather oil, insoles, and detailed care instructions with every pair of boots reflects their commitment to ensuring a lasting relationship with their customers.

It’s clear that for JK Boots, making boots is not just a business; it’s about delivering an experience that honors the craftsmanship and care that goes into each pair.

Reflections on the JK Boots Factory Tour

JK Factory finishing qc 1

My tour of the JK Boots factory was more than just a walkthrough; it was an immersive experience into the world of boot making.

From the selection of leather to the final quality checks, each step is a testament to JK Boots’ dedication to quality, craftsmanship, and customer satisfaction.

As I walked through the factory, it was evident that JK Boots isn’t just creating boots; they are crafting legacies that are meant to last. I left not only with a deeper appreciation for the art of boot making but also with a pair of boots that I knew were crafted with passion and precision.

My personal favorite JK Boot is the O.T. — a lightweight version of a classic PNW work boot.

JK Boots O.T.

The JK O.T. is my go-to work boot. It blends rugged Pacific Northwest construction methods with a lighter, more flexible build and a shock absorbent sole so it’s a lot easier to stand and work on your feet all day.

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