We talk a lot about our boots being "Handmade in Texas/USA". And now we'll walk through the journey of how a pair of Beans is made in our factory in South Texas. It begins with our trusted US-based suppliers and wraps up with a quality eye on every pair.
1. Choosing the Leather
We house most of our leathers here at the Anderson Bean factory. You’ll find everything from ostrich, caiman and elephant to goat skins, cow hides, etc. in our Leather Room. We also store our piping and side seams (which come from Fort Worth, Texas), our nails and tacks (which we get from Massachusetts) and the thread, labels, outsoles and heels (which all come from Northeast Boston).
2. Sizing & Cutting
As our Cutting Team works, they inspect the leathers and have a high expectation of quality and appearance. They keep an eye out for cleanliness, colors and details as they pass through. We highly specialize in cutting and know how each leather should look. In our Cutting Stations we cut the tops, vamps, collars, wingtips, heel counters, ear pulls and boot linings.
3. Inside Linings
Our lining – all American hides – come from Milwaukee, WI. We use quality lining for comfort. It is one of the most important parts of our boots. Another thing we do well is maximize our lining yield. We use as much of a hide as possible so there is little waste. We cut the lining from backbone to belly to utilize the tighter fibers in the leather. These tighter fibers help hold the boot together and give a more comfortable feel.
4. Gluing & Piping
Our piping comes from Texas Leather Trim. This piping is not only for looks. It helps round the edges and gives more comfort while riding. We use all-leather side seams and top trims for our boots.
5. Stitching & Outline
After the lining leather and top leathers come together, the stitching and outlining are introduced to the boot. A stencil is used as a guide for the stitching process and then added to its specific vamp leather and lining. This is where the style number, size and work order numbers are punched on the inside of the boot.
Once the top leather, lining and all piping are combined, all tops are sent to the Stitching Room. Here all of the tops will get a unique stitch pattern per the custom order.
7. Collar Assembly
At our Collar Assembly Station the machine will stitch and trim at the same time. The collar assembly follows, and then the stitch pattern will be completed.
8. Closing Up the Boot
Once all of the pieces of the boot become one, the closing part of the boot takes place. As the leathers of each boot flex in these stages, they are kept moist to prevent drying.
At this time, any extra siding will come off. The extra trim pieces from the inside of the boot will be trimmed off. This helps with the amount of buffing along the production line. Once the sides are trimmed, there is a smoother feel for the inside of the boots.
10. Buffing the Lining
After the boot is closed from the inside out, a series of buffing happens. This helps reduce the rough feel from the inside of the boot. The boot will be buffed down and made smooth from all aspects of the inside. Once it is buffed the boots are placed around a tube-like machine. This air-compressed machine will pull it right-side-out with the help of a worker.
11. Ear Pulls & Labels
In this department, the custom Anderson Bean Boots labels are sewn. The ear pulls are created with inlays or any specific details for the order and then attached to each boot. Reinforcing tape is applied and is doubled back around. The filament fibers in this tape help reinforce any breakage.
All our soles are provided from outside sources and then cut in-house. We are one of the only companies that still cuts them on our own. Our factory’s Sole Department houses all our materials. We use vegetable-tanned leather. This vegetable tanning takes a great These leathers are tanned in pits using tree barks, vegetable fats and some animal fats. Once tanned, the leathers are rolled which causes the fibers in the leather to shrink.
13. Leather Stacks
In the Heel Department our leather heels are prepped with a contact cement. Multiple layers are stacked and sanded to take shape as a heel. This area allows the glue to work as a paste for the heel cups. Once the heel cups are placed, they are nailed down.
14. Heel Press
Once the heel stacks are glued together and the heels are compressed, the heel caps bond with the leather stacks creating a tighter hold. After building and sanding out the imperfections, the heel is complete.
15. Ear Pulls
This is where Ear Pulls are attached to the boot. Each Team Member works hard to sew on the Anderson Bean Boots label and add any custom order inlays. From there they sew on the completed ear pull to attach them to the boots for lasting.
16. Welt & Channel Lasts
A welt channel allows the welt to be stitched to the boot. Once the boot is lasted, the channel helps connect the vamp leather and lining underneath. The channel will eventually hold the vamp leather, lining leather and the synthetic box toe.
In the factory there are a few different stages for lasting our boots. Inside the boot there is a plastic foot called the “last” which makes the shape of the boot. The lasting stage allows the vamp leather and counter leather to be nailed to the last temporarily. As the last is put into position, the vamp leather is pasted with adhesive to help hold the lining.
In this stage the welt channel comes back into play. The vamp leather, lining and welt channel are all stitched together. At this point, those parts of the boots are tucked underneath as the welt uses the channel to stitch right through it.
19. Lemon Wood Pegs
The wood pegs that are hand placed in our Anderson Bean Boots aren’t just for looks. They are pounded into each sole to solidify the joining of the outer sole to the inner sole. These pegs also have the purpose of assisting with the shank placement as well as helping mold the bottom of the boot.
20. Welt Stitching
The welt stitching can come in either a single or double stitch style and in a few different thread colors.
21. Heel Sanding
The heel portion of the outer sole is sanded in order for glue adhesive to secure the heel in place for nailing.
22. Heel Nailing
A Heel Press machine lets a heel be securely fastened to the boot. Once the heel portion of the outer soles are sanded and pasted with adhesive, the Heel Press comes into play. The boot is placed downward on this machine, allowing seven nails to be pressed into it. Together, the glue on the heel and the nails form a bond which holds the boot and heel together firmly.
23. Sanding & Polishing
In the Sanding & Polishing Room all of the AB boots get their finishing touches. Here they are buffed around the soles where needed. Then the outer edges and outer soles are stained or clear-polished for the final dress look.
24. Finishing Line
In this last stage, boots are quality-checked with strict expectations before they leave our factory. This Finishing Line allows last minute detailed inspections. Once each Anderson Bean Boot is checked, it is shipped to our Retailers or put into Stock.