Among the contributing factors to my buying a pair of shoes is quality, and that means durability. By lasting for a long time, one gets to secure a potentially expensive investment that can pay off in so many ways not related to money: comfort that jump-starts your day in changing the world for the better, stylishness that attracts the eye of would-be partners in social development, and freedom from worrying if your feet might get wet or even infected.
Caterpillar, thus, makes it on my list: it is a household name in quality (they call their work boots “Walking Machines”), and their classic styles are classic for a reason called style. Furthermore, although the brand name has a mixed record in social responsibility (here and here, their environmental practices, or lack thereof, are criticized; while they are also constant winners of the Pollution Prevention Awards of the Illinois Governor, and have been part of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index), the actual company manufacturing said footwear, Wolverine, is driven by three sets of values namely environmental stewardship, community involvement, and social responsibility. So I’m quite assured of my sustainable and responsible purchase. I hope.
And among their styles, nothing screams classic and timeless more than two styles: the Second Shift (sold as the Stockton, with a shock-absorbing sole, in some places) and the Colorado. The latter has been reissued in cool new colors now, and I want them, but while I don’t have a pair of Colorados yet, I do have a pair of Second Shifts. To be specific, I have a pair of honey non-steel toes.
Below is a review I originally sent to the official Caterpillar product Web site last 2 November 2014. The original can be found here.
I bought my own pair of these boots just two months shy of nine years ago, although they were of the Stockton style, which is essentially the Second Shift with shock absorbers built into the sole (as far as I notice). I’ve always wanted a trusty pair of CATs as a child since I saw my then-teenaged cousins in them. Today, I’m a daily boot wearer – of my three office shoes, two are chukkas and only one is low-cut, but I occasionally wear my work boots to the office – and juggle between Caterpillar, Dr. Martens, and Timberland; and, I have to say, after nine years, my CAT boots have emerged triumphant from a plethora of abuses that would certainly have warranted me capital punishment if I had done them on people. They’ve taken me miles all over at both slow and fast speeds; I’ve worn them to school, to the mall, and even during a whirlwind tour of the famous temples of Angkor (and I used to drag my heels when I walk); I’ve driven in them; they’ve kept my feet dry in the notorious monsoons hitting us here in the Philippines; I’ve even done martial arts and dancing in them. And they’re still tough as solid bedrock – tougher even than my Timberlands. As I got my boots in honey (looking back, I realize I actually wanted tan) and I also got the famous Yellow Boots from Timberland, I admit my use of my CAT boots gradually declined in favor of the latter. But as a testament to its timeless style, chill comfort (stays true to its name), and lasting build – my Timbs are sized a half-size too big while my CATs are just right with the same size – I’m expecting to continue reaping the benefits of this worthwhile investment in quality and get ’em out and rocking again. And I’m hoping to get another pair of CATs in the near future. 😉 A staple for every urban man.
They’re not very common anymore in the Philippines; the Duty Free Fiestamall adjacent to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport used to have a stall, and that’s where I bought my CATs. Hong Kong or Taiwan might be your best bet, but then that’s not really contributing to our own economy.
If I do get a chance to see CATs being sold here again, I’ll be sure to update. Or, if YOU know places they’re sold in, do share below!