At the end of last year, I splurged on several American-made boots I’d heard great things about.
Nicks. Whites. Alden. Oak Street. And Truman.
Since then, I’ve moved into a cardboard box under the bridge. But I have some of the best footwear in the world!
I’ve broken them all in and have given each their fair share of foot-time, which has been quite the endeavor—breaking in a pair of Whites the moment you finish breaking in a pair of Nicks is stupid.
But we’re not here to talk about those brands: we’re here to talk about Truman Boot Company. I picked up their Java Waxed Flesh Cap-Toe boot, and I’m excited to dive into the details with you.
Truman Java Waxed Flesh Overview
There have been several changes to the Truman Java Waxed Flesh over the years, so I think it’s important to note that I’m on the latest iteration of the boot as of 2022.
This is a cap-toe design using a Horween vegetable tanned waxed roughout leather. It has a pull tab on the back and is made with a 270-degree Goodyear storm welt.
At the founding, Truman boots were made with a stitchdown construction, similar to Nicks and Whites, but since moving their operations to Eugene, Oregon, they’ve moved to Goodyear welting.
The Java Waxed Flesh also used to have a Dainite sole, but is now decked out with a commando sole, which I prefer for this style.
Things to Consider Before Buying Truman Boots
Truman Boot Co. has a lead time of around 6-8 weeks, which feels longer than it sounds. When I ordered my boots, it took a little over 7 weeks for them to be delivered, so the estimate seems spot on.
Truman’s are a boot-lovers boot. You can expect some break-in time and a little tough love on the insole as you work the leather. But I’m guessing if you’re reading this, that’s nothing new to you—you probably even prefer it that way. You’re the real one.
One interesting tidbit that I have to share here: I went to a cobbler (Wyatt & Dad, local in North Carolina) and several of the guys had Truman boots on.
Obviously, we got to talking about boots, and the way they described Truman to me was this: there’s basically a certain limit to how well you can craft a boot, and Truman hits the mark. But so do several other brands. What Truman does that’s so special is their leather selection. So if you’re a leather nerd, you’ll love scrolling through their offerings and seeing what’s new from them.
Truman Boot Co Java Waxed Flesh Review
I love the style of the Truman Cap-Toe on their 79 last. I haven’t worn their other lasts (this is my only boot from them so far), but the 79 is my ideal balance between a slim look, with a little mature and rugged bulk to it.
In my younger days, I was all about the super-slim look, which is why my first good boot was the Thursday Captain. But the farther I get away from 30, the more I appreciate a bit of heft.
Compared to the Iron Ranger, the Java Waxed Flesh is about as wide at the waist, but instead of flaring up with the bump toe like the No. 8 Red Wing last, the toe box is flat on the top and tapers toward the tip.
Compared to the Nick’s Americana, the toe on the Truman is much slimmer, which makes the boot look less stubby overall.
I’m a big fan of the natural leather welt, midsole, and heel. I think the contrast between the dark waxed leather and the natural accents is awesome, especially paired with the lighter brown stitching in the upper and the crisp white stitch around the welt.
One final thing I appreciate about the style of Truman Boots—they’re immediately recognizable. It’s sort of like when you hear Stevie Ray Vaughn or Jimi Hendrix play guitar—you know it’s them within a few seconds of hearing the style.
I think Truman’s designs are like that. They’re unique to the brand, and when you see a pair of Truman’s out in the world, you immediately recognize them.
Leather Quality and Care
Truman Boot Co’s specialty is their leather selection, and most (if not all) their leathers come from either the Horween tannery in Chicago, or the C.F. Stead tannery in the UK.
The Java Waxed Flesh is a vegetable tanned waxed roughout leather that’s almost black at first glance. Over time, the wax dissipates and the chocolatey knapped roughout leather starts to show through.
This leather is as tough as it gets—roughout is already plenty rugged and easy to care for, but you add the layer of wax and that just gives the water resistance a boost.
There’s a lot of structure in the toe and the heel, and the leather is quite stiff out of the box. It took a little while to loosen up the leather, but once it’s broken in, the “waist” feels comfortable, but the toe and heel stay sturdy.
From what I can see, this is a 6 oz leather, which is over 2mm thick (closer to 2.5mm). That’s some pretty beefy leather, pun intended.
Enjoy the waxed upper while the wax is still there—there’s not really much you can do to return this boot to its original look once the wax wears off. This boot is definitely made to age and the beauty is in how it patinas as the roughout texture shows through.
I’m not treating this leather for a few years—the more I spend time with boots, the more I realize that I like how the leather takes on oils and dirt. If these boots ever need conditioning, a coat of Bick 4 will do—nothing that’ll change the color of the roughout and not really heavy enough to change the texture, either.
The Truman Java Waxed Flesh features a 270-degree Goodyear storm welt with a leather insole and midsole, finished off with a thick tread commando sole.
All the components of the sole make this a heavy boot, which I personally like. I know some guys aren’t fans of heavy boots, but usually the heavier the boot, the more natural, long-lasting materials are in the core of the boot.
These boots have a steel shank as well. The arch is flatter compared to Nicks and Whites, and there’s a bit more support in the arch compared to Red Wing.
The commando sole is awesome—it’s heavy-duty and the lugs are thick enough to have plenty of grip in any condition. I’ve only gotten a good chance to wear them in the warmer months, so they haven’t had to trudge through any snow, but I have no doubt they’d perform well on slick cement.
Fit and Sizing
The 79 last felt snug at the waist of my foot to start, so if you have a wider foot (like an E), I recommend bumping up to the EE width. For me, a few weeks of breaking in the boots was enough so that they feel comfortable. They’re still a little snug, but the toes and heel fit well so I’m not worried about it (plus, I think they have more stretching to go before they’re fully broken in).
If you’re worried about the slimmer last, you can also look at their 20 last Java Waxed Flesh boots—the toe is more pronounced and wider, plus there’s a little more room throughout the entirety of the boot.
The 20 last isn’t so different than the 79 last that you need a different size, but if you’re on the border between sizes, checking out the slightly roomier 20 last could be a good option.
There was some break in time required before these boots became fully comfortable, but it wasn’t too bad.
The Java Waxed Flesh leather is quite stiff, and the waist of the boot was a little snug at first. But once the leather loosened up in that area, the boots became easier to slip on and off and my foot had some breathing room.
What do Other Reviewers Say?
I love boot-fanatics. If you want to read the most informative reviews of any product ever, leave it to the boot community.
There are only a handful of reviews for this boot at the time of writing, but they’re all positive. I did see a few people mention that they ordered a half size larger than they normally would to accommodate thicker socks. I don’t personally recommend that, but if you have experience with a lot of different boot brands and like a roomier fit, that could be a good way to go.
Truman Java Waxed Flesh Alternatives
If you want to go all the way and get one of the sturdiest boots ever made, then check out the Nick’s Americana in Brown Waxed Flesh.
I prefer the slimmer look of the Truman boot, but those who like more width in the toe box might like the fit of Nick’s better.
The Americana is made with double-row stitched down construction and has a ton of arch support. It’s probably the most hard-core boot I’ve ever tried.
Grant Stone Diesel
Grant Stone is another brand you might like if you’re interested in Truman Boot Co. Grant Stone has excellent construction quality, and their boots run about $100 less expensive than Truman.
I’d say Truman’s have more of that Pacific Northwest workwear heritage vibe behind them, and Grant Stone has more of the East Coast Alden American legacy feel to them.
That might mean much to you, so I’ll break it down this way: Grant Stone boots are just as well-crafted, but the upper leathers are less rugged—you’ll find classic leathers like Horween Chromexcel for their most popular boots.
Both Truman and Grant Stone have more exotic leathers, too, like shrunken bison or kangaroo.
My Thoughts Overall On Truman Boot Company
What I Like
As far as material and construction quality go, Truman is near the top.
Truman Boot Co carries a lot of unique and hard to find leathers, and the resulting boots are at fantastic prices.
The 79 last I tried is a great balance between slim and rugged.
What I Don’t Like
Expect to wait 6-8 weeks for your boots to arrive.
Who is Truman Boot Company for?
Truman Boots are a fantastic choice for you if you’ve been wearing Red Wings for years and have learned an appreciation for fine leathers, but you’re looking to step up your boot game a notch.
A lot of guys look to brands like Nick’s and White’s as the pinnacle of boots. And I know I’ve had a lot of BootSpy YouTube subscribers say they’re still saving for their first pair of those northwestern beauties. But there’s a middle ground between good quality American boots like Red Wing and those “grail” boots that cost north of $600.
The middle ground is Truman Boot Company.
I really like my Java Waxed Flesh boots with the 79 last. They’re slim but rugged. The leather is thick and basically indestructible. The sole has tons of grip, and the midsole and insole are loaded with vegetable tanned leather.
You should have some patience if you’re going to order Truman’s—mine took seven weeks to arrive, and you can expect the same.
But otherwise, Truman Boot Company is boot making at its finest.
Are Truman boots true to size?
Truman boots run half a size large, like most heritage boot brands. You should order a half size smaller than your brannock size.
Are Truman boots waterproof?
Technically, no, Truman boots aren’t waterproof. But practically speaking, there’s very little chance your feet will get wet even if you wear these boots in a heavy rain storm or in snow all day. Waxed roughout leather and a storm welt ensure these boots are extremely water resistant.
Do Truman boots have a shank?
Yes, Truman boots typically have a steel shank in them.