A boot can be well made of high-quality materials, but if it isn’t comfortable, it doesn’t matter. Stetson does not believe that you should have to “break in” a new pair of boots. Stetson boots are designed to be comfortable from the very first step.
Most Stetson boots feature a 9-iron sole. An “iron” is an old shoemaking unit of measure for thickness. Three “irons” represent 1/16 of an inch; so therefore, a 9-iron sole is 3/16 of an inch thick.
The thicker the sole typically means you have less flexibility and less comfort. The key is to have the thinnest sole possible and still maintain durability.
Sole leather comes from old cows. Because the cows are old they have had a lifetime of scratching against fences, barbwire, etc., and so the hide on the sides becomes scratched.
The very best soles come from the part of the hide near the spine, which doesn’t get scratched. Stetson uses only premium back-cut soles.
Using the same high-quality leather as their soles, their heels are made from a stack of five to six pieces of leather that are glued together.
Some boots use robus, a composite. Others use plastic or leather-wrapped plastic. But for the best performance over time, 100% leather is the best wayand the Stetson way.
After the welt is attached to the vamp using the Goodyear welt process there is a void between the insole and outsole.
Stetson boots use only 100% virgin cork to fill the void. Virgin cork is the best choice because it will not break down over time, and, just like a cork in a wine bottle, it performs well when the sole gets wet.
The more rows of stitches you have, the higher the perceived quality. Stetson boots feature 10-row stitching. Obviously, it takes twice as long to embroider 10 rows of stitches than 5, but it looks better and lasts longer, which makes it worth the cost.
Some boots are lined with pig leather or synthetic materials, but for the best breathability and durability, cow leather linings are the best solution. Although a properly constructed boot really doesn’t need a cushioned insole, Stetson customers have come to expect some cushioning.
Stetson boots feature a latex foam insole (latex is a closed-cell foam and resists breaking down over time) under a full leather insole for greater comfort and durability.
Stetson developed their own, proprietary lasts for each Stetson boot. A properly balanced last is the final step in ensuring a comfortable fit.
Stetson develops and wear tests each last on a variety of people to ensure a comfortable fit that works well for a wide variety of feet.