Of all the elements that go into making a Rios of Mercedes boot, the most important is their people. The craftsmen are artists - some of the most talented in the business. They know that the people who wear Rios of Mercedes boots depend on the quality of the work they do. Each pair of Rios of Mercedes boots represents their legacy and our reputation. As co-owner Trainor Evans notes, “I like picking up old boots and remembering who made them…it is not just that these boots are handmade, but whose hands are making them.”
Rios of Mercedes have a fit like no other. Snug yet supple, Rios boots are like gloves for your feet. They won’t slip or slide like boots with synthetic components often do. The leather is cut with the natural stretch of the particular hide in mind, so that it stretches side-to-side over the ball of the foot. With all-leather construction, Rios boots mold to your feet and holds them in place with every step.
They use premium hides because they’re naturally more durable, look better and will stand up to your demands. Before cutting, the hides are situated so that each cut is made across the width of the hide instead of the length. This allows the natural fibers of the hide to move as the good Lord intended. After the hides are cut to their specific instructions, the life of the boot has begun. Each pair of Rios of Mercedes is hand-lasted, hand-stitched, hand-pegged and hand-finished. Again, we take more time to make the boots because excellence is their standard.
LEATHER TYPE AFFECTS FIT
Certain leathers will stretch to fit the customer’s foot better than others. Calfskin, kangaroo, ostrich and elephant generally will conform better to the foot than the reptiles. Reptiles, shark and stingray won’t give much to the pressure of the foot. The reason for this is the softer leathers may “shrink” down slightly when the last is removed since they have a tendency to be more springy and stretchable. However, when they are worn, they will ease back out conforming to the foot. If a soft leather boot fits a bit tight to begin with, it will gradually become less tight. This is a good thing to remember when you fit customers with foot problems. The harder finish leathers must be fitted more exactly. A tight boot over the instep or across the ball in one of these hard leathers will remain tight and may be painful. Boot makers insist whatever kind of leather is used in a boot, it has to be kept clean. Dirt, dust, grime and dryness deteriorate all leather. Rough-out boots should be cleaned with a brass suede brush If any boot gets wet, it should never be dried quickly close to a heat source. Wet boots should dry gradually and slowly – preferably while being worn. Then the oils should be restored with Lexol conditioner. After conditioning, apply lanoline based colored polish to restore deep color to the leather. Spray polish or liquid polish tend to dry out the leather and should be avoided. Rough-out leathers can be sprayed with aerosol silicone material to help them become more water-repellent if desired. Silicone spray on smooth leathers tends to leave a gummy residue that prevents good shine. There is no footwear like an ALL LEATHER boot. The leather components not only allow the foot to breathe but also conform to the foot with wearing.
OUTSOLE AND INSOLE LEATHER
Leather for outsoles and insoles are vegetable tanned. The leather is then suspended by clamps in a pool of tannins, usually tree bark and wood-soaked water, which stops the decomposition process of the hide and allows the pores of the skin to relax. After 90 days of soaking, the leather is removed and put into a tanning drum where solids (starch, etc.) are stuffed in to the hide making it heavy and thick, yet supple when it dries. The leather is then dried and rolled under pressure to increase its stiffness. The soles are taken from the center of the hide and the insoles are taken from the shoulders and bellies. The sole leather is rolled longer and with more pressure, making it firmer than the insole leather.
These two parts of the cow are very different in structure. The sole bends are made of short, compact fibers and give long wear. The insole shoulders and bellies are of long, stringy fibers and hold the channel better on the bottom of the insole to which the sole welt is sewn. The softer insole leather also quickly conforms to the footprint, making the boots truly belong to the wearer.