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New Product Information

Designing the Better Boot

Update on the  new Northwoods Boot

Kudos to the SDC community for their help in designing this new boot!/J. Bergemann

Vulpine's New Northwoods Boot

Thanks to all the input from the folks at, our new 'soft boot' is ready to got to work on your feet when the temps plummet below freezing.

The NorthWoods Boot is part boot, part sandal, and part shaggy land mammal. We start with a standard pac boot liner, and work out from there. The soles are 100% post consumer tire rubber, nearly a 1/4" thick with a raised dot tread. They're tough enough for use on rock or pavement, but flexible for movement and traction. Best of all, when you wear them out we can resole them. The tooling leather mid sole and supple Bison leather lowers move and flex with your foot to ensure comfort and enhance the crucial circulation of blood. We build 4 layer, dual density foam insoles with arch supports, and metatarsal pads to cushion every step.

Choose from a list of fabrics for the voluminous uppers, then request the boot height that suits your needs. Each boot has parachute cord laces with removable cord locks to adjust the tension in the foot and along the legs. Leave the cord locks in place for convenient speed lacing, or remove them for manual lacing with knots. A shock cord closure at the cuff seals out snow and drafts.

Kevin Kinney

Press release provided by Empire Canvas Works
December 4, 2004

It's rare to find a company in that lets its customers do the design work!
That's us. I'm Kevin Kinney, founder of Vulpine. We're a cottage industry in Duluth, MN with a mission to meet unusual needs all the time. Vulpine manufactures adaptive outerwear, meaning clothing that's altered to meet the needs of individuals with sensory, cognitive, or physical limitations. Since our clothing is built to be accessible as well as functional, our appeal extends to al lot of regular customers.Vulpine NorthWoods Boot

The most frequent request we receive is for better footwear.
We're been testing boots for 5 years now, and we're closing in on a winner- a new blend of moccasin, mukluk, and leather boot. What we really need is input from you. Right now our NorthWoods Boot is available through our web site

While the initial response has been grand, I'm not really satisfied that they've finished their evolution.
Here's the current state. It's a hardsole Mukluk, with a tooling leather midsole, 5 ounce Bison leather lowers, and a 100% post consumer rubber sole that's replaceable after wear. We make the uppers in 3 heights from 12" to 16". The upper portions come in wind proof nylon, reprocessed blanket wool, or polyester fleece/fleece laminates. All the textiles have overlock stitching to prevent frayed edges. Other materials are available upon request. The NorthWoods boots have parachute cord speed lacing and a shock cord cinch at the top. We've exhausted our local outdoor stores of their felt liners. While the quality of the liners is beyond our control, they seem functional. We've found an excellent Canadian military version that's actually two layers of woven wool, but have yet to meet their minimums.

Here's what we've learned.
Most people favor the thicker, harder sole. It wear well, and provides more protection than the other soft boots. The speed lacing is a boon. Our customers seem to prefer knotting the 9' laces just above the ankle to set the tension on the foot, then cinching the remainder lightly around their calves. Wool uppers are our best sellers. The wool adds insulation and visual appeal. We use a local mill with excellent dyeing capabilities. Fleece uppers are popular for use in town. They're more comfortable in mild climates or indoors. The durability of the fleece is lower, but we purchase directly from Malden Mills, so the quality of their knits cannot be equaled. I'm surprised that the Nylon uppers aren't more popular. They wear like iron, breathe like canvas, and dry very quickly.

That said, tell us what we've missed.
How can we meet the needs of people who rely on their footwear to keep them alive in nasty climates?
What do you consider the most important attributes in your boots?

We hope to improve our products with your help.
As a way of saying thanks, we'd also like to offer a two pairs of improved NorthWoods Boots to Sled Dog Central as prizes for a future contest.

Please submit your comments to us at:

Cheers, Kevin Kinney

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