Before we launch into the specifics on the Hender Scheme MIP-26’s, know that we get it. These are absurd—a seemingly unwearable leather homage to an iconic piece of footwear, a sculpture masquerading as a tool, a monument to frivolity, a piece of footwear designed to be less functional at every single opportunity, impervious to justification, immune to rationale. But they’re also an achievement in leatherworking and footwear construction and probably represent some landmark moment in bootmaking. It’s honestly unclear, which is appropriate for something this absurd.
If you’re venturing into the Hender Scheme waters, however, function isn’t what you’re after—to reiterate, these are a cover version of a product made iconic for being weather-proof, affordable, and basically indestructible, but a cover version that is none of those things—and they deliver extra on the form part. Using natural veg-tanned leather for the entire upper and a smattering of triple- and double-stitch constructions, Hender Scheme somehow managed to recreate every single Duck Boot detail, down to the raised seams on the toe-box**. For the sole, they swapped in a stacked crepe number, and they seem to graciously provide both square leather laces and round cotton ones for those who have a preference on those types of things.
(**Seriously, if you’re familiar with the Duck Boot, you know all the words to this song already.)
Have I been calling these Buffalo BiL.L. Bean’s in Slack? Who’s to say. Are these going to make the wearer look hooved like Mr. Tumnus? Also not sure. But are they one of the most impressive, meticulous examples of everything Hender Scheme does well? Absolutely.
Available for $885 at Canoe Club