Altberg Military Combat Boots
Caring for Your Altberg Boots
Drying Leather when Wet
Drying your boots too quickly can shrink the boots.
Never dry your Altberg Boots quickly.
Never dry boots near heat.
Never force-dry boots in any way.
If the boot leather is going through a continuous wet/dry cycle, hardening of the leather will occur, resulting in flex cracking across the joint. Regular use of Leder-Gris Wax will considerably extend your boot life.
Never store boots without first treating them with Leder-Gris or Leder-Bok.
We recommend regular use of Leder-Gris Green Label Wax – it has been specifically developed for Altberg water-repellent leathers.
Brush in Leder-Gris when the leather is just dry or almost dry. Use the brush to vigorously work the wax oils into and below the surface of the leather.
In wet or adverse conditions, use Leder Gris Original – it contains more leather oil and is designed to protect and waterproof the leather in tough conditions.
In more arduous conditions we recommend the occasional use of Leder-Gris Xtreme, (red label).
In very hot climates, cover your boots with damp cloth after removal to slow down the rate of moisture evaporation.
Suede / Nubuck / Fabric Boots
Only use Leder-Bok for suede, nubook and fabric boots. Use when the boots are damp – slow down the drying time, especially in hot countries.
Drying Your Altberg Boots
Altberg Boots - Only the Best Leathers
Alberg Boots are made from only the very best hides from a single tannery in the north of Italy.
Altberg’s philosophy is to concentrate on quality – that’s why they only work with just the one tannery, and don’t play the field to secure the lowest possible price. Altberg is quality first – even if they have to pay a premium for the best.
Very little finish is used on Altberg leather, to keep it as natural as possible. Any shade variation or slight surface mark is natural and will not affect the durability or performance of your Altberg Boots in any way.
Around the foot area of the boot, Altberg uses highest quality Anfibio water-repellant leather.
The collar and tongue areas of your Altberg Boots are made from soft-tanned full grain water repellent leather – the highest quality Italian hides, tanned to a supple finish whilst retaining strength and durability.
The History of Alt-Berg Boots
During the 1920s and 30s, William Shepherd became a master boot and shoemaker at the Rochdale Shoe Company.
Following the closure of the factory, he formed a co-operative with his fellow workers, following in the footsteps of the founders of the Co-operative movement, which originated in Rochdale.
The co-operative was initially a success, but unfortunately they had started their venture in the harshest of economic times and eventually their co-operative had to close.
However, Willian Shepherd was undaunted by this set-back and was determined to continue his tradition of boot and shoemaking. He started again, and eventually his business became established. He mastered new techniques and was one of the first to use the new generation of machinery and materials that emerged during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
By 1960 his Rochdale factory was doing well, and William decided to expand. He opened a second factory in Gallowfields, situated on a hill overlooking the market town of Richmond, in the Yorkshire Dales, (a part of the country that he loved).
Up until the late 1940s, Gallowfields had been used as a British Army camp, and the second factory started life in several of the disused buildings after the site closed. The conditions were cold, damp and draughty, but the views were great - and so bootmaking came to Richmond!
The new factory was a resounding success, and by the early 1970s it was producing 25,000 pairs of shoes per week and employed 320 people.
However, harsh economic times in the 1980s, including two recessions and cheap competition from abroad, was too much for the Richmond factory, and on a sad day in late 1989 the receivers were called in, the assets auctioned, and the doors closed for the last time.
But that’s only part of the story. The skills and traditions refused to die. Using redundancy money, and working out of a delipidated ex-WW1 building, just 100 yards from the old factory, 5 ex-employees started making walking boots – and so Alt-Berg was born.
The first 5 years were a continual struggle, with mounting overdrafts and ancient machinery, but gradually, through hard work and determination, new machines were acquired, and through word of mouth the orders began to flow.
By the year 2000, the demand for Alt-Berg boots was so high that Orton’s of Earl Shilton in Leicester, a family-owned boot maker, were contracted to assist in manufacturing, but this unfortunately this factory closed in 2002.
Alt-Berg then took a courageous and radical step, opening a second factory in the Treviso area of Italy, where boot making is still a thriving industry and skills, materials and components are readily available.
Mike Sheehan, the owner and founder of Alt-Berg says that his monthly visits to the Treviso factory reminds him of how it used to be when he first started working with William Shepherd way back in 1969 – a real community of bootmakers.
Today, there are 40 bootmakers working in the Treviso factory, whilst 20 people work in the Richmond factory, making all their specialist boots.
Alt-Berg boots are considered to be some of the best boots in the world - a ongoing testament to their skills and knowledge built up over 80 years.
“In the early days of Alt-Berg, things were very bleak, and we had some days when we had no money, no orders, and the machines kept breaking down… I didn’t know if we could last another week… But I was taught – by a good man, who had survived the dark days of the 30’s depression – and he would say… ‘when times are bad, just concentrate on making good boots… there’ll always be someone who wants a pair of good boots…’ and that’s what we did, and that’s what we still do…”
Alt-Berg Senior Bootmaker