Råland Bootmaker is a one-man operation creating seriously solid boots by hand – in Sweden. Now Adam Persson, the man behind the brand, has collaborated with the Swedish store Second Sunrise to launch a RTW engineer boot in Maryam horsebutt.
As a Swede, it’s a true joy every time new shoe brands making proper shoes emerge. For a small country like us, it’s not bad with more than five brands offering Goodyear welted shoes (Skolyx, Myrqvist, Löf & Tung, Morjas, Mano and Ace of Spades). These brands all make their shoes abroad though, mainly in Spain or Portugal. The once prospering Swedish shoemaking industry disappeared during the last half of the previous century, similar to many other North-European countries. Producing in Sweden, we have a couple of established bespoke shoemakers – Melker Shoes and Skomakeri Framåt – and some smaller factories making various shoe types, but in those cases mainly basic things. That’s why Råland Bootmaker is so exciting.
Adam Persson started his shoe journey as an apprentice for one of the larger cobbler’s in Stockholm, Sweden, called Bäckmans Skoservice. After just six months he got a full time position, and he spent five years as a cobbler which also included a lot of work on welted shoes. Early on in this period, he visited the bespoke shoemaker Janne Melkersson of Melker Shoes for a shoemaking course.
– With him you learn to make shoes by hand, the traditional way. I really loved this, Adam Persson says, and he’s been back with Janne again for more shoemaking.
He also spent a few months in Greece working for Dimissianos & Miller, a brand that in a special way combine handmade, even hand welted, shoes and boots with avant garde fashion, but had to return home to Sweden when his girlfriend became pregnant, and continued at Bäckmans.
Then three years ago, Adam and his small family moved to the small city Kalmar on the Swedish east coast, where he grew up and have family and friends. He there ran his own cobbler firm in a lovely central location.
– The problem in a city like this is that there’s no good shoes to repair. I used the sole stitching machine like once a month, otherwise it was just super glue and cement and basic, simple repair jobs that dominated, he says.
Bored from the everyday job in the cobbler workshop, he started spending more time making footwear for himself, on his spare time. And then for his friends. Eventually, he decided to sell the cobbler’s workshop, since the work there wasn’t that interesting to him. Instead he bought new machinery and tools, found a place for a smaller workshop, and continued to make boots. This under his own brand – Råland Bootmaker.
It’s mainly sturdier boots that he makes, where the specialty is higher boots like engineers.
– I want to make solid stuff that can be worn hard. Also, for this type of boots, there’s not as much advanced details or demand for a perfect finish as on fine dress shoes, which is a pro when you’re new in the game of making shoes.
By now, Adam has made about 20-25 handmade pairs, and are obviously continuously improving.
– I’ve learned a lot from my time as a cobbler, from my training with others, but also learned a lot from just working myself and trying out different things.
A while back, he reached out to the store Second Sunrise, based in Stockholm and selling workwear clothing and footwear, and asked if they would be interested to sell a small range of his boots. Now, his first RTW engineer boots are available to purchase from them, in a very limited range of sizes. They are hand lasted and hand welted with hand built-heels, with outsoles stiched by machine. Made in Maryam horsebutt (shaft in black and vamp and heel in dark green dyed black), with insole’s from Garat in France, heel and leather outsole oak bark tanned by Gerberei Martin in Germany, Dr. Sole heels and Vibram sole part. Price is €1,350 (15 000 SEK) including VAT.
– It was a great experience to develop these boots. The base was a last from Springline which I modified quite a lot and had the Swedish company Brunner make up a range of sizes in. For the pattern, I made the master pattern and then had a woman in Ukraine grade the entire size range.
He’s been doing boots part time during parental leave with his second kid, and now study a university course, at the same time as he has moved in to a new larger workshop at a shared space which also house a furniture restorer, a vintage store and a photographer. Apart from the small RTW range, he now has customer orders in line that he tries to keep up with. He can do personalised orders, also modify lasts to improve fit, where price for lower boots start at about €1,100 with VAT.
– The dream would be to reach a level where I can do this full time. But it’s difficult. It’s expensive to live in Sweden so I need to charge quite a lot for the boots, and there’s of course lots of great bootmakers in the world. But I hope to find my place.