After enjoying the experience of wearing the BuilderPro for the last year, we had the opportunity to connect with our resident diesel mechanic, Isaac Leuchtefeld, and get his feet in a pair of Nicks WaterWork custom handmade boots. To suit his needs, we customized them to make sure he would get the best work boots for his needs and preferences. We’re sharing our experience with both the boot and the customization process top help you get an idea of how easy Nicks makes it to get exactly what you want.
Nicks WaterWork Custom Handmade Boots: Not An Off-The-Shelf Experience
Forget searching through boxes on a shelf to search for the right size of the boot you want, or checking in every day at an online retailer to see if they’re back in stock. Nicks work boots are made by hand and the process starts when you place the order.
That said, Nicks does keep some styles in stock in common sizes, and those can be ready to ship as quickly as a few days. They’re still the same handmade quality as the rest.
If none of those fit the bill, there are a some standard configurations you can go with. However, for a boot that’s perfect for your unique needs and preferences, it’s the custom boot that you want.
Because these boots are handmade in Spokane, Washington, keep in mind that there’s a lead time. Material availability, amount of labor required, order demand, and other build chain elements all go into how long you’ll need to wait. Be patient, though—the final product is worth it. Here are the lead times at the time we’re writing:
- Standard lead time: 18 – 35 weeks
- Quick ship and best sellers: 8 – 12 weeks
- Size exchanges and warranty boots: 3 – 6 weeks
- In-stock boots: 3 – 5 business days
If you want the most options, do like we did and go with the WaterWork Custom Configuration to get exactly what you want. Decide between the Black Weathershield and Brown Weathershield leather, and customize from there. Here are the selections you can make along with what we chose to build Isaac’s boots:
- Leather: Brown Weathershield
- Boot Height: 8 inches
- Outsole: Vibram 2021 Sand (HNW wedge)
- Toe Shape: Standard
- Fitting Method: I know my size
- Boot Length (size): 9
- Boot Width: D
- Last: HNW Moderate Arch
- Hardware Configuration: Hook and Eyes
- Midsole Thickness: Thick
- Polarthin-XP Insulation: No
- Pull Loop: Yes
- Toe Structure: Soft Toe
- Toe Style: Moc Toe
- Matching Swag: No
Nicks WaterWork Custom Handmade Boots Design
The WaterWork features 365 Stitchdown construction. The idea is that the high-grade 8IR rubber midsole gets 360° stitching around the boot, sealing out water and debris while improving the overall flexibility. It results in a boot that’s ready for all 4 seasons.
Complementing the water resistance of the 365 Stitchdown, the WeatherShield leather you find on Nicks WaterWork handmade boots help keep water from penetrating the through better than standard tanned oil leathers. During the tanning process, a silicon solution is impregnated into the leather, and that’s what makes the magic happen.
Isaac typically wears a size 9, and Nicks has sizes from 3.5 – 14.5 with 1/2 sizes running the full range. If your feet are something other than medium (D) and wide (EE) widths, no worries. Nicks has a ton of choices ranging from AA to FFFF. You’re unlikely to find any other brand with that many size options.
Nicks recommends ordering a 1/2-size down from your normal boots. We went ahead and stuck with Isaac’s standard size 9, and the fit was excellent. Don’t worry if the fit isn’t quite right, though, you can exchange them as long as they’re in like-new condition (don’t wear them outside until you try them on). There’s still a lead time on new sizes, though, so give your best shot out of the gate.
When the box shows up, it’s okay to feel like a kid at Christmas as you open it—we certainly did. Go ahead and take a sniff of that brand-new leather and solidify the memory of your first pair of Nicks handmade boots. You won’t forget it.
The boots come with a leather insole. For many folks, that’s fine, and that’s what Isaac is sticking with. It will take the shape of your foot over time and feel very much like an extension of the boot. It’s removable, so go ahead and add an insole that best fits your needs if it’s not quite right for your feet.
The leather laces come long to accommodate a range of boot heights and lacing styles. Once you determine how much extra length you want, clip the excess with a pair of scissors.
The majority of high-quality off-the-shelf boots don’t require much break-in time these days. However, you need to plan on a break-in process with your Nicks WaterWork handmade boots. With the quality of the materials and construction, you’ll need a couple of weeks of daily wear to get them into their stride.
The leather will begin to loosen up as it stretches, and the sole will develop the flex it needs to move with your foot as you take each step. You’ll also notice that the boots will take the shape of your foot better than other boots through the break-in period. Once they’re settled in, they’ll be comfortable and have the best whole-foot fit you’ve ever experienced.
Wearing Nicks WaterWork Custom Boots
Before you get too carried away, there are some things to keep in to get the best experience from your investment.
At 7–8 ounces, the leather is nearly twice the industry standard for uppers. There’s no fiberboard, cork, or synthetic fibers—it’s all oak-tanned leather from right here in the USA. It’s much more durable, but the extra material also makes a heavier boot. Those material and construction choices also make the Nicks WaterWork repairable. The boot can be rebuilt, including the sole. Whether it’s wear over time or damage, visit Nicks’ repair page to schedule the work.
Multiple choices in the outsole make the WaterWork a viable option for a many jobsite environments. If you’re primarily on concrete, steel, and other hard surfaces, go with the wedge like Isaac did. If soil and rocky terrain is what you normally deal with, a lugged outsole is the better way to go.
The style of the boot varies with your choices, but in general, the standard configuration has the look of a classic logger without as pronounced of a heel. By shifting it to a wedge sole and moc toe, Issac’s version takes on a more stylish look that works with his personal tastes on and off the job.
Nicks WaterWork Custom Handmade Boots Price
The price of your boots depends on your choices. Issac’s custom configuration runs $590. However, they start as low as a $560, or $585 with a safety toe.
If you’re a tradesmen/tradeswoman, be sure to check out the Nicks Trades Program. On select models and configurations, including the WaterWork, you can get a lower price, free shipping, and expedited lead times. It’s their way of showing their appreciation for the hard work you do.
As you’re considering the investment of a handmade boot, keep in mind that Nicks is a USA-owned company based in Spokane, Washington. They’ve been in the business for nearly 60 years, and some of their bootmakers have been with them for decades. More than 98% of the material they use is directly from the United States. Even the leather comes from US-based tanneries.
The Bottom Line
We continue to be impressed with the quality and options that Nicks Handmade Boots offers. Thanks to the wide variety of customization opportunities, we were able to create a pair of boots for Isaac that fit his style and needs perfectly. Best of all, Nicks makes the process easy with a series of drop-down menus to make your selections online. If you’re on the hunt for high-quality handmade boots that you can customize to make your own, we highly recommend Nicks.
Visit Nicks Handmade Boots website by clicking here.