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Waltzing Matilda – Leather Sandals Crafted In Maine

There’s no doubt that sandals have made a comeback of sorts in recent years. It’s not like they ever went anywhere, but there seems that in the last half-decade or so, Birkenstocks, huaraches, and other sandals have been making more regular appearances in the lookbooks and collections of the more curated end of menswear.

The boom of sliders in urban cultures certainly played a part in the sandal storm, but it’s safe to say that high-quality sandals are here to stay for a while. Tucked away in Maine is a small brand crafting leather sandals and accessories. That brand is Waltzing Matilda.

With the independent leathercraft industry swimming with wallets, cardholders, and key holders, it’s refreshing to see a small brand like Waltzing Matilda take the plunge with footwear. We had a virtual sit-down with Waltzing Matilda to get the lowdown on the young Maine label and what may be to come.

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Heddels (H): When was Waltzing Matilda started and by whom?

Waltzing Matilda (WM): WM was founded in 2013 by Mike Balistaris in Wayne, PA. His vision to create beautiful, timeless pieces from new and recycled leather was the beginning of Waltzing Matilda.

In 2020, Adam Sutton & Cynthia Rollins purchased the company. Adam had been crafting WM sandals at his factory in Brewer, Maine since 2018. They loved the brand and wanted to continue Mike’s plan for the company.

H: What is Waltzing Matilda’s ethos and goals?

WM: To produce unique, handcrafted, limited edition leather sandals and accessories using American made materials with attention to detail and quality, providing lasting looks with a unique flair.

H: Where does the name Waltzing Matilda come from?

WM: Waltzing Matilda” is Australia’s best-known bush ballad, and has been described as the country’s “unofficial national anthem”. The title was Australian slang for traveling on foot (waltzing) with one’s belongings in a “matilda” (swag) slung over one’s back.

H: Is there anything about Maine that inspires Waltzing Matilda products? Is there anything else that inspires the brand?

WM: Both Adam and Cynthia are from Maine and find Maine people to be hardworking and caring. The men and women at the factory enjoy providing details to their work and seeing it out in the world. Maine is a laid back, beautiful state.

The colors of Maine are what Waltzing Matilda is all about. The browns, blacks, blues, and greens.

H: Where do you source your leather from?

WM: Our leathers are sourced from tanneries in Maine and Illinois. The Illinois tannery, Horween, has been in existence for over 100 years.

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H: What is it about WM products that set them apart from other leather goods and sandals?

WM: The attention to detail and the quality of the leather. We are proud of the contrast stitching and designs of our bags but we are always looking for new ways to make our products stand out.

H: Do you offer repairs on your products?

WM: We do offer repairs where possible, yes. It all depends on the damage to the sandal. We do stand behind our products and will do what it takes to make a customer happy.

H: How do you see your product range expanding? Or do you plan to keep the collection small and concise?

WM: Our goal is to be small and concise but we will continue developing when the direction feels right. We have acquired many patterns from the previous owners and will introduce new products to our collection as they’re developed.

We’re working on bringing back products that were once unique to Waltzing Matilda but have not been offered over the past couple of years. Customers have been asking about them. These include portfolio covers, iPad cases, wine bags, bureau trays, wallets, more belts, and more. Even dog accessories!

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H: Lastly, how does WM score in terms of sustainability, and is there anything about your brand specifically, that sets you apart from others when it comes to sustainability and impact on the environment?

WM: We use recycled leather whenever possible and appropriate to continue unique looks that were the founding principles of Waltzing Matilda. We use as much of the leather as possible…creating small leather goods, coasters, bracelets, dog collars, etc. from the scraps to reduce waste.

We also recently provided a young boy in Pennsylvania with leather scraps for a project he is working on. We want to help the next generation of leather workers as much as possible.

Waltzing Matilda Products

Ace Sandal – Men’s Sizing

This Chromexcel piece is offered in Black (pictured), Brown, Buck, and Natural. It has a supportive EVA midsole and a rubber “dogbone” tread.

Available for $80 at Heddels.

Jordann Sandal – Women’s Sizing

A slightly trimmer cousin to the Ace, the Jordann comes in the same leather combinations (Buck pictured) and the same construction techniques but in women’s sizing.

Available for $80 at Heddels.

Unisex Chromexcel Belt

More Horween Chromexcel, hand stitching, and a silver finished brass buckle make this belt an understated classic in Brown (pictured), Black, and Natural.

Available for $80 at Heddels.


To learn more about Waltzing Matilda, check out their website or see their collection on the Heddels Shop.