Whenever we hear the name Carhartt, we immediately picture durable, rugged overalls and winter jackets. Back in the day, those were the most durable clothing you could get.
Don’t get me Carhartt still makes one of the best work outfits in the world. But what’s their approach to boots? How are they making these boots? In other words, who makes Carhartt boots?
Carhartt boots are made in their own manufacturing facilities in China and Mexico. The only boots they make in the US are their ‘Made in USA’ lineup boots. Other than that, everything else is outsourced to these countries. However, the designing process is done in their headquarters located in Dearborn, Michigan.
That’s the short story. But the story doesn’t end there. There’s a lot more about the quality of these boots. And there’s an interesting video down below.
Without stretching this any further, let’s start-
How Did Carhartt Start Out: The Founding and History of Carhartt
Hamilton Carhartt founded Hamilton Carhartt & Company in 1889. Initially, the company started making overalls with 2 sewing machines in a tiny loft. The earlier days weren’t easy for Carhartt. The lack of market research led to many failures.
But that failure led to extensive market research along with direct interactions with railroad workers. That’s when Carhartt found what the people really needed. Since then, they’ve been making one of the most durable apparel in the market.
In no more than 20 years after being founded, Carhartt expanded into 8 facilities including the UK and Canada. But like every other company at that time, they were at the brink of extinction during the Great Depression.
Luckily, Carhartt stood back during WWII. They offered 7 of their facilities to make coveralls, jungle suits for soldiers and marines.
Since then, Carhartt evolved into a company focused on extending durability with trademarked technologies such as heavy-duty threads, reinforced rivets, and high-quality materials resistant to water, flame, and abrasion.
Although this is just a short summary of their history. The actual story is quite long. If you’re interested to know more, give their story a read.
Who Makes Carhartt Boots?
The manufacturing process is controlled by the Carhartt headquarters located in Dearborn, Michigan. The manufacturing facilities are located in different parts of the world. But Carhartt does take the initiative to help local suppliers.
Red Wing Shoes were partnered with Carhartt to produce the welt, Ortholite insoles and tongues, heel guards, and everything related to the waterproofing effects.
But that ended in the spring of 2012. Since then, Carhartt collaborated with Black Diamond Group to produce the elements. With Black Diamond Group’s reputation, Carhartt has become an even more formidable footwear brand.
Now that you know how they source the components of the boots, let’s focus on where they are made.
Where Are Carhartt Boots Made? Are Carhartt Boots Made in USA?
Carhartt’s Made in USA lineup is the only lineup that’s made in the states. Unlike many other brands, a large percentage of their production is done in the USA. The company employs 2700 American workers. And 970 of them are UFCW union members.
Along with boots, they produce other products in their 4 facilities located in Tennessee and Kentucky. The interesting fact is these are the same facilities Hamilton Carhartt’s son Wylie Carhartt established in 1937 after his death.
Is Carhartt Made in Mexico? Are There Any Other Countries?
Other than the US, Carhartt has production facilities in Mexico and China. Even though Carhartt boots aren’t that cheap, they could keep the price at this point by outsourcing to affordable countries such as Mexico and China. Aside from their Made in USA lineup, other boots are produced here.
As I’ve already said, their main headquarters is located in Dearborn, Michigan. But they have a separate headquarter for their Europe branch in Amsterdam.
Carhartt Work In Progress (WIP)
Carhartt was mainly a brand geared towards blue-collar people. But that changed during the ‘80s and ‘90s. When a lot of big-shots in the hip-hop music world started wearing Carhartt, it spiked a huge interest in Europe apart from America where it was already popular.
This led to creating the Work in Progress label in 1989. The main target was to target consumers in Asia and Europe who value impeccable designs and refined details. Needless to say, Carhartt still holds on to its original brand DNA even after more than 100 years.
Are Carhartt Boots Good?
Carhartt might make impeccable winter jackets and overalls. But they haven’t quite mastered how to make the most durable work boots. Some of their models including 6’’ Wedge boots are kind of a disgrace in the work boots. Although the Force and Flex are far better in terms of quality.
The truth is you’ll be paying most of the money for the Carhartt brand name. If you want that, then go ahead. But in terms of quality, you can get better quality with a pair of Thorogood, Red Wing, or Danner boots by paying a little extra.
I haven’t cut any Carhartt boots in half as Rose Anvil did. But I can give you some info.
First of all, they outsource every pair of boots that’s not in the Made in USA lineup. So, the production cost is already less. If they can’t make it up with good quality materials, then it’s just a disappointment.
I do hope they’ll prove us wrong by coming up with boots made with better quality. The plastic welt, 1.8mm leather(pretty thin for work boots), and rubber sole are the main problems with the Wedge model.
If you want to know more, check out this video from Rose Anvil. He’ll do a lot better job of explaining-
How Long Do Carhartt Boots Last?
It all depends on how you’re using the boots and which model you’re using. For example, you can’t expect to work in rugged conditions with the 6” Wedge boots. The soft rubber sole will wear out quite fast.
But as the brand is focusing more on comfort, they let up on durability. With casual use, you can expect Carhartt boots to last up to 6 years. For running, you shouldn’t expect more than 2 years. But if you really want a durable and long-lasting pair of work boots, I’d suggest you look elsewhere.
The truth is Carhartt hasn’t figured out how to make the best work boots yet. There’s no denying they’re one of the best work outfit brands out there. But in terms of boots, they’re behind in the competition.
These days every brand outsources its manufacturing in cheap labor countries. Even Apple does it. So, that’s not the issue. If Carhartt wants to keep its reputation intact, I sure hope it’ll do something about the manufacturing process and the quality of the materials.