Clinch Yeager Boots in Natural Roughout

Our restock of the Clinch Yeager Boots in Natural Roughout has arrived. Due to Clinch's small production output, these boots won't be restocked until late 2022 at the earliest.

The Yeager Boots are a near flawlessly executed service boot that will wear into one of the best looking pairs of boots in your closet. At least they did for me.

These boots hold a special place in my heart, as I picked up my pair from the Brass Tokyo store in February 2020...but more on that in a second.

Clinch is made by Brass, owned and operated by Minoru Matsuura. They started as a shoe shop focused on resoles, then evolved to shoe repairs, then to re-lasting boots on their custom lasts, then to making shoes and boots entirely in-house with a small team.

The insole is soaked, then molded to the bottom of the last. From there, the boot is built around that insole. The process for each step is chosen carefully to optimize the final product. A crimping machine is used to pull the machine sewn upper around the last to get a snug fitment; however, all of the welting process is done by hand before the outsoles are stitched on with a Rapid-E machine.

Neil's pair after 3 months of wear

On to the story about my personal pair - it was late February 2020 and I was in Japan on business. I visited the Brass Tokyo store, and to my surprise, my pair of Yeager boots (scheduled to be finished in September 2020) were done and ready to be picked up! They were a perfect fit, and the first thought in my mind was "I can't wait to show Minoruu how these boots look after I wear them for a month - because I'll be in Tokyo again in late March 2020).

Neil and his new boots, with Minoru Matsuura in Tokyo

I'll always remember these boots as the marker of a huge transition in world history, because I had to cancel my next Japan trip due to the pandemic. Whenever I visit Japan again (probably in 2022) , I'll of course visit the Brass shop in Tokyo and reminisce with Minoruu about the Before Times.

Natural Roughout Leather

The leather is a very light natural roughout cowhide, vegetable-tanned at Wickett & Craig in Pennsylvania, USA. Wickett & Craig are known for their extremely high quality veg tanned leathers, with a company history reaching all the way back to its founding in 1867.

Vegetable-tanning (a process by which hides are turned into leather after extended soaking in specific vegetable and bark tannins) produces hardier leathers that experience more drastic changes over time - natural (undyed) veg-tanned leathers tend to be among the most dynamic throughout their lifespan.

The undyed natural leather ages beautifully and quickly, picking up a patina from exposure to the outside world and anything you may trudge through. Before very long, the sandy-tan leather darkens to a much more rich and warm brown-tan, with subtle tonal highs and lows present in areas that experience more movement while you walk.

The leather is sturdy and mid-weight with medium stiff temper, but it breaks in in after only a few wears, softening and taking the shape of your foot.

Approximately 3 months of wear and brand new

Hardware and other Specs

The Yeager boots stand on custom O'Sullivan cork reproduction soles and heels. These are pretty much the optimal blend of durability, traction, and flexibility - while keeping an incredibly appealing low profile.

Raw cord is a great material for boot soles beyond the historical accuracy of its implementation, being hard-wearing, lightweight, and pleasantly flexible.

Clinch's O'Sullivan Raw Cord soles take these traits to the extreme, being more flexible, lighter weight, and just as durable as other soles - with a herringbone traction-tread pattern that gives superior grip without sacrificing sleekness.

The eyelets are brass that's been painted brown - over time the paint will chip away, adding to the overall patina-friendly nature of these boots.

Other details of note are Clinch's usual extremely precise stitch work with a very high SPI (stitches-per-inch) throughout. The components you can't see are just as impressive as well, like the custom brass nails (made in Japan) and natural cork layer beneath the leather footbed.

Full Specs of the Yeager Boot in Natural Roughout

  • Natural undyed veg tan cowhide roughout leather from Wickett & Craig
  • Hand-sewn welted construction
  • Painted brass eyelets
  • Custom brass nails made in Japan
  • Welting from Japan
  • O'Sullivan's reproduction soles
  • 6" Height
  • CN-S last
  • Resoleable and rebuildable
  • Unstructured toebox
  • Hand-made in Tokyo

All Clinch boots are made in-house at the Brass workshop in Tokyo

Styling & Wear

The Yeager Boots in Natural Roughout are one of the most versatile boots we carry. Most non-khaki/beige colored pants will work well - our favorite is black or ecru denim.

The leather can stand out a bit when brand new, given its bright color, though it darkens very quickly into something a with a bit less contrast to the rest of the world. My worn pair shown here is after about 3 months of wear.

The nap is very flat when the boots are new, but consistent wear will cause the nap to become more dramatic and becomes more fuzzy.

Obviously, roughout leathers, like suede and nubuck, have a higher amount of surface area and are more prone to collecting patina from the outside world. This includes things like indigo denim, which will crock onto and dye these boots blue - not a big deal to some folks, but certainly worth mentioning.

Notes on the CN-S Last and Fitting

Built on the CN-S last (Classic Narrow Second), these are a lower volume last with a snug, secure fit throughout. The shape is sleek, with a very low (almost flat) profile and completely unstructured toe.

Most modern lasts are optimized for mass-production. Wider, straighter, easier to pump through a production line, and easier to fit every single person into. Clinch's Classic Narrow (CN) and Classic Narrow Second (CN-S) have a snug fit that cradles your foot like a warm glove - much like the lasts of the early 20th century.

For most folks (with standard D-width feet), we recommend that you take one half size smaller than your Brannock size; if you have a particularly tall instep (you'll know if this is you) take your Brannock size. If you prefer a roomier fit - you can choose your Brannock size. The narrow waist, snug heel and healthy room in between the eyestays allows you to lace up these boots very snugly and still retain a secure, comfortable fit.

If you have wide feet (true E or wider), we do not recommend the CN-S last (unfortunately, these boots are not for you).

Inititally these boots may fit tight across your instep - this does loosen up as the boots break in.

Closing Notes

The Yeager Boots in Natural Roughout are available on Friday, July 23rd at 9am California Time.

Due to the handmade nature of Clinch Boots, our inventory is limited and we are unable to restock or special order out of season. These are expected to sell quickly, and once they're gone, we won't receive any more until late 2022.

Minoru Matsuura putting the finishing touches on a pair of Yeager boots

By Neil Berrett

All the latest

Featured blog posts

Interview with Author of "Shopping All The Way to The Woods" Rachel Gross

Interview with Author of "Shopping All The Way to The Woods" Rachel Gross

The History of American Outdoor Wear with Historian and Author Rachel Gross   From Black Sign’s Anorak Parka and Hoka snea...
NYC's Best Boot Stores: Stridewise Visits S&S NYC

NYC's Best Boot Stores: Stridewise Visits S&S NYC

Our friend Nick English at Stridewise visited S&S NYC and sat down with our manager Kyle Foxworth to discuss boots, Japanese fashion and more.
Interview with Mia Morikawa of 11.11

Interview with Mia Morikawa of 11.11

Interview with 11.11's own Mia Morikawa New 11.11 is now available at S&S and on our website! To accompany this release...