The Taft Blog

10 Tips to Keep Your Shoes Looking Fresh

We get dozens of emails a day and many of them revolve around shoe care.....how do I clean my shoes? How do I condition the leather? How do I lace my boots correctly? Over the last 18 months, we have seen many examples of great shoe care...AND really bad shoe care. We combed through our emails and put together a list of ten simple things that will help prolong the life of your shoes and keep them looking fresher, longer. Read more

How to get rid of salt stains from leather shoes

One of the most common shoe care questions we get this time of year is, “how do I get these white stains out of my leather shoes?” We have a couple useful suggestions on how to get your shoes back in ship shape, but first it’s important to understand why salt stains happen in the first place.

Most people think salt stains are a result of just walking on salted roads in the winter time, but there’s more to it than that. Salt is used in the tanning process of most leathers, so when the shoe gets soaked, any internal salt rises to the top of the leather and can cause the leather to bubble and create salt stains. It’s important to understand this because it’s not just about removing the stain, but also about conditioning the leather and trying to avoid extremely wet conditions. All that being said, here’s our quick-list for getting a handle on salt stains. 

  1. Mix two parts water with one part vinegar and use it to dampen a clean cloth. Gently rub the stains with the cloth until lifted. You may need to repeat the process multiple times but in most cases, this will be enough to remove the stains. For persistent stains, a designated Salt Stain remover may be necessary. If all else fails, try taking your shoes to a local cobbler - they’ll likely have access to a wider variety of materials.
  2. Once the stains are removed, it’s crucial to condition and polish the shoes. Salt sucks the moisture out of leather, so making sure they get the treatment they need is important. Using a conditioning oil, leather lotion, or conditioning cream will ensure your shoes keep looking their best. Follow it up with the polish of your choice and you’ll be set.  

A couple tips:

Try not to let the salt stains really set in - the sooner you can remove them, the better. If you have been out in rainy or snowy conditions, try wiping down the boots with a damp cloth once you arrive at home. If you want to really hit a homerun, use shoe trees as well...moisture can cause the shape of leather to warp. Shoe trees will make sure the structure and shape of your shoe is unaffected. 

Whenever possible, avoid wearing your leather shoes in extremely wet conditions. Our shoes can stand up to the elements, but they are not winter boots. Any leather-soled shoe will be vulnerable when wet. If you’re going to be in a downpour, spare your leather shoes and opt for a pair of rain boots. Rubber soles are best in wet conditions. 

Leather soles are porous and will absorb water. When they are wet, the leather becomes softer and more prone to being damaged. If you are stuck out in the rain in leather-soled shoes, try to be as gentle as possible. It is very easy to damage your soles when they are wet and soft. 

We're hiring at our Provo, UT Headquarters

Making beautiful shoes is our bread and butter, but having impeccable customer service is what our brand is truly built on. We connect with our customers via email, text, online chat, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. We make ourselves available to our customers around the clock and go above and beyond to make sure they have a great Taft experience. We’re looking for two extremely motivated, top of their class Customer Experience Representatives. This position is currently part-time, but has long-term potential to become a full-time position with increased pay and responsibility. We hope this hire will lead to a full-time position.
Responsibilities include:
  • Responding to customer service inquiries/requests via email, social media, and our phone line (most commonly about the production of our shoes, sizing, shoe care, shipping, styling etc)
  • Make changes and adjustments to orders
  • Assist with inventory management, making regular visits to our warehouse in Bluffdale
  • Coordinate returns and exchanges 
  • Dive in to anything else that needs attention around the office
Qualifications:
  • Exceptional communicator
  • Impeccable grammar
  • Has the ability to make important decisions independently (with training)
  • Has a Bachelor’s degree, or is currently pursuing one
  • Knows and loves the Taft business model
  • Go-getter, gets satisfaction out of problem solving and assisting others
  • Total patience with customers
  • Knows when to stick to policy (kindly) and when to make an exception
  • Possesses creative problem solving skills
  • Must already be located near Taft HQ (Provo, UT)
Not required, but beneficial:
  • Previous e-commerce experience
  • Already conversational about the men’s fashion industry
  • Love for the Taft brand 

We are looking for the best and brightest people to communicate with our customers. We do our best to treat them like family and we need you to do the same. We need someone who grasps just how important this role is. One negative experience can deter potential customers, while one positive one can make a life-long brand-advocate. We don’t want this role to be seen as menial or low-level, we cannot stress this enough - customer service is the heart of our business. Your performance directly affects the growth of Taft. This is often the first experience a potential customer will have with Taft and every single word is important. There is no higher compliment we can pay than to allow someone to interact with our customers - we love and respect them, and we want you to as well. 

Compensation starting at $11.00 per hour

If you are looking to join the Taft team, please send your resume and a brief introduction to support@taftclothing.com. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

The Working Conditions at our Factory in Spain

When searching for the right manufacturing partner, my top priorities were the quality of the product they produced and also the working conditions within the factory. After sampling and visiting a number of factories, I eventually found our current partner in Almansa, Spain. The shoemaking quality is top notch (literally....they make shoes for some VERY expensive and well-known brands) and the working conditions are very, very good. I want to share some of my observations and some of the details about life in the factory. These things are very important to me and hopefully very important to you too. 

Our factory is located in Almansa, Spain

Our factory has been family-owned and operated for many, many years. The owners are on the factory floor every day and very involved in the daily operations. Everyone knows all the names of the other workers. They joke, they laugh, they drink coffee together, and they listen to American pop music together. The factory is a very happy, productive place with good lighting, comfortable temperatures, and great equipment to produce the best shoes. I have personally spent many, many hours studying shoemaking and learning about our shoes and have never felt uncomfortable. In the summer time, there is air conditioning. In the winter time, there is heating. The people are happy and enjoy what they do...and it shows in the shoes we produce. 

 Daily Schedule at the Factory 

7:00am - Begin work
9:15am - Snack break (coffee, toast, sandwich, laughs)
9:30am - Resume work
2:00pm - Siesta (Head home, lunch and nap)
4:00pm - Return to work
7:00pm - Done for the day

We produce top quality shoes and offer them at the lowest price possible. Our labor and materials are very expensive, but these are some of the best shoemakers in Europe (and the world) and we are lucky to work with them. I have found that there are two types of factories in the world - those that have "workers" and those that have "artists." I am grateful to have a manufacturing partner that is fully of craftsmen doing what they loves .... it truly results in a better product. 

-Kory

 

Taft Lineup for Fall 2016

(Please note: We WILL be restocking previous styles....these are just the new ones to look forward to.)

The Rome Boot

The Jack Boot in grey/brown

 

The Troy Boot in olive

 

The Troy Boot in black/gold

(Yes...that is gold leather lining)

 

The Mack Boot in sand

 

The Outback Boot in ash

 

The Outback Boot in taupe

 

The Mack Boot in espresso

 

The Rook in cherry

 

The Rook in grey

 

The Calder in black

 

The Beck in Cherry

 

The Kennedy in Sand

 

If you want a glimpse into our factory, check this out...

 

 

 

 

A note from Kory:

I am very proud of the new styles that we have coming. I work very hard to design unique shoes and I feel like we have some really killer shoes in this mix. The quality is always getting better and better, and these shoes are even better than our previous styles. We are introducing a new last (The London last) with the Outback boot. It's a bit more rounded and designed for comfort. The Jude Boot and the Outback Boot are made on different lasts and will give a bit different look. The London last is not as aggressive and is built for comfort, where the Jude Boot (Bristol last) is a high fashion, aggressive silhouette. We are also introducing a crepe sole. This is an extremely comfortable type of sole. We sourced a brown estate (specific type of crepe sole) sole unit in a few different colors. Very comfortable, very durable, and looks great. 

I am most excited about the Rome Boot. This is a style I have been working on for a while and finally feel like it is ready. I sourced a beautiful, milled Italian leather for the upper to give it that texture. It takes three different coats of paint (video coming!!) to get that richness in the leather. It really is a work of art and I feel very proud of this boot. I am also really excited about the Outback Boot in grey...you will find me wearing that boot every day with a pair of slim selvedge denim jeans and a flannel shirt this Fall. 

It has been an amazing, overwhelming, exciting first year for Taft. I launched our shoes last November and the reception has been amazing. I felt a lot of pressure to follow up our first releases with something really special, and I feel like we did it. Thank you all so much for the love, support, and excitement about Taft. Going the direct-to-consumer route has its challenges, but it is paying off. We can offer you top, top quality at a beautiful price point. This is a brand I have built for the people...I want everyone to have access to top quality. Thank you for an amazing year and here's to many more to come!

With love and gratitude, 

Kory

 

 

#TAFTweekend (Six Bloggers. One House. Lots of Shoes)

 

 

In March we flew out 6 of our favorite bloggers to celebrate the launch of our Spring collection. When we first imagined Taft Weekend, we knew we wanted everybody to stay in the same home, all of us under one roof. Thanks to HomeAway, our vision worked out wonderfully and we all stayed under one (beautiful) roof in Park City, Utah. The neighborhood was quiet, and the home had all the amenities we needed. Housing that many people in one place while making sure everyone could have their own space was no small task and HomeAway met it with ease. When we were lounging around the house,we spent the weekend eating delicious food, breathing mountain air, and strolling around Main Street. Our goal of the weekend was to get some honest feedback on the shoes from a group who really knows their stuff. Everybody wore Taft all weekend long and the reviews couldn't have been better. Here's a little recap of what our weekend looked like..

Thursday morning, everybody flew in to Salt Lake International Airport. We picked up the guys and our photographers in a 12 passenger van, had a quick lunch, and made our way to Park City. When we arrived to our HomeAway house each blogger had an assortment of shoes and socks laid out for them. We wanted it to feel like Christmas morning - the entire room was covered in shoes. Every shelf, every table, every couch housed a pair of shoes. One of the bests parts of the weekend was hearing the constant feedback. Everybody loved their shoes and we really couldn't ask for more than that. At Taft our goal is to make comfortable, durable, bold shoes. Hearing everybody's praises and knowing it was right in line with our goal was so rewarding.
That evening, after everyone had a little time to rest and wash up, we hit Park City Main Street for a killer dinner with Gourmand food tours. Each course was at a different restaurant and we learned a little bit about the history of Park City all along the way. The whole tour was about 3 hours total and we were shooting all along the way.
Some food tour chit-chat
The next morning we made our way to Salt Lake City for a photoshoot at The Charcoal Loft. The lighting was beautiful and everybody brought several looks to shoot. We all had the privilege of watching Justin dance and sing all weekend long and the photoshoot was no exception. Seeing how everybody styled their shoes so differently was very cool. Even though our shoes are so bold, we pride ourselves on them also being versatile - seeing how many totally different looks you could wear with the same shoe was really exciting. 
After our shoot we head over to Art Haus for lunch. Lunch was served by Da Foco Truck and it was such a cool set up. Da Foco is sort of like a hybrid food truck. They cook out of the truck but can serve you anywhere! We were all set up for lunch at Art Haus and had delicious tacos prepared by Da Foco. In addition to the tacos the fresh pineapple juice was a pretty major hit.
After lunch we went Go Kart racing! When we first thought up Taft weekend, we knew we wanted it to be filled with fun experiences. Go Kart racing was even better than we could have imagined. Marcel smoked everybody!!
Saturday, we just took things slow. We slept in, took it easy and had a late morning photoshoot followed up by lunch and a trip up the canyon. Park City is a big change of pace from Los Angeles and New York and we wanted to make sure there were plenty of opportunities to enjoy the slower lifestyle. In the evening we all came back for a killer meal at home. One of our big priorities when we were looking for a place was a kitchen that could accommodate all our food needs for the weekend. When we weren't eating out, we were cooking at home and HomeAway provided a place that easily met all of our needs. It's always nice to eat out, but nothing beats a home cooked meal and on Saturday we did just that - enjoyed a nice meal at home together. 
The next morning we packed up early and headed back to airport. Everybody made it home safely, Taft shoes in tow. 
Seeing so many people wear and love our shoes all weekend long was surreal and exciting. Even our photographers were wearing Taft. It was a great weekend to spend time together as friends and to break in some of our favorite styles. We couldn't be more grateful for HomeAway for providing the perfect backdrop for our trip, and to each of the bloggers for partying with us all weekend. 
HELPFUL LINKS
The house we stayed in (check this place out....BEAUTIFUL)

A Review of The Jude Boot

The following is a guest post from Brett Poschmann of The Poshman Blog. Brett was not paid to endorse any Taft product and the views expressed in this post are solely his. 

The first product I ever received from Taft was a pair of their no-show socks. This was about a year ago and they have become my go-to no-show sock during the warmer months. The sticky inserts in the heel make sure that they won't fall off the back of your heel (the biggest problem when wearing no-shows). So when I heard that Taft was creating a shoe line I was naturally excited. 

Ever since Taft released the new shoe line I have been dying to get my hands on a pair. The boots and shoes are really affordable because they cut out the middle man. No distributor, no big box mark ups mean that they can keep the pricing affordable. I picked the Jude boot because I haven't really seen anything else like it. I've been wanting suede Chelsea boots forever and these tick all the boxes. The contrasting elastic looks great against the beige suede, 100% would pick them again. 

My biggest apprehension was the colour. Now I'm not a messy guy but I have been known to spill a coffee here and there. Sooooo, I made sure that before I took my Judes out on the town that I protected them. I use Jason Markk to protect my shoes and it works pretty well. Just cover it in a coat, let it dry and repeat 2 more times to create a good barrier around the boot or shoe. With suede or any light-coloured shoes it is very important to protect them if you want them to last. 

The first time I slipped these bad boys on they were a little snug on my fairly wide feet. After walking in them for about 15 minutes the buttery suede had molded to my feet and the boots felt like I'd owned them for years. I decided to pair them with some light denim and my windowpane double-breasted jacket to create a slick look. You could easily pair these with dark denim or just about anything else in your wardrobe, they are very versatile. 

 

Hope you guys like this post, let me know in the comments section if you have any Taft products yourself and what you think!

-Brett

You can read more about Brett and his style on his blog at theposhman.ca and on his Instagram account @theposhman. 

 

Our TAFT Christmas Miracle

Thanks to the amazing response we have had to our shoe release and the Reddit article that was published about us, we have had a killer fourth quarter this year. We are still very new and small (yep, still just a one-man show) but we have had some amazing things happen. Because of this, we wanted to give back in whatever way we could. As a young father of two children, I understand the worry and concern of caring for children...especially at this time of year. We set aside some profits and decided to help a few families out with Christmas. 

A quick summary of the four families we were able to help with Christmas:

  • A single mother of two beautiful little girls
  • A young couple with a newborn baby in Chicago
  • A family in Texas that just lost their workshop in a fire
  • A single mother that works three jobs to care for her little babies

We overnighted four checks to each of these families on December 22nd to arrive in time to purchase some last minute gifts for their children. I have followed up with them to see what we were able to do with the money. Here is what that money was able to buy:

  1. Seven sets of Christmas pajamas
  2. Two LeapFrog educational tablets to help with spelling, vocabulary, and math
  3. One RC truck (that can handle the Texas terrain)
  4. Two Barbie dolls
  5. A number of articles of clothing for both girls and boys
  6. A much-needed accessory for a bassoon
  7. A baby swing for the newborn
  8. Stockings full of candy

We are so grateful for all of you that have made this possible. We love giving back and this year we were able to help brighten others' days because of your support. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!

TAFT