Bass boots have been proven over 100 years of hard service.
As early as the 1880s, Bass dominated outdoor footwear construction for the American frontier, a place of rugged living in untamed nature. The company’s founder, George H. Bass started out making hardwearing shoes for the workers and pioneers of the country, always adhering to his motto “Build the best possible shoe for the purpose to which it is to be used.”
Today, the Scout boot is a modern Bass icon that draws on this prestigious heritage. Designed and revamped from our archives into a fresh, ‘of-the-moment’ style, the boot is made for urban terrains and is designed to be worn with today’s contemporary wardrobes.
Drawing on the original Bass Quail Hunter boot of the 1920s - whose iconic style is captured in the period’s advertising posters and artwork – the Scout mixes a classic design profile and traditional construction with modern materials: a Vibram® rubber lug outsole and today’s best oil-rich, pull-up leathers.
But there’s more to know about the Bass Quail Hunters.
Because the history of Bass is the history of America, its early shoes and boots were designed for the frontier hunters and woodsmen working on rough terrain through sun, snow, and storms. By the time the 1920s rolled around, the ‘featherlight’ Bass Quail Hunters were an established favourite across the whole of America.
Why were the boots so popular?
Initially providing comfort for workers and hunters used to weighty ‘old-fashioned’ footwear as the only way of getting the sturdy performance and protection they needed, the style reached a wider audience thanks to the period’s technological innovations. The boots were made with the Goodyear Welt Construction method that changed everything.
Welt construction had been around for a while, altering the functionality and lifetime of a shoe or boot drastically. By adding in a welt (a long strip of leather) between the upper and the outsole, sewing it in and leaving behind a tell-tale line of exposed stitching, a boot became incredibly water-resistant with a much longer lifespan. Just by cutting through those exposed stitches, a broken sole could be replaced and, with a well-kept upper, the boot or shoe could be wearable for up to twenty years.
Over 200 operations go into making a pair of high-quality Goodyear welted boots.
These include hand-cutting, gluing, tacking, moulding, shaving, stitching, pulling, trimming, and punching, as part of a time-tested process that’s been handed down through generations of Bass craftspeople.
In the case of the Scout boot, oil-rich, pull-up leathers (that develop a distinguished patina with age) are hand cut and pressed to a uniform thickness to form the boot’s upper, the material that will make up its timeless profile.
Holes are punched by hand and excess material is shaved off by our artisans. Tip, vamp, tongue, and quarters are handstitched together and the boot is assembled, including being hand-tacked with nails. The Goodyear welt is sewn to the upper leather and then additional materials are added for in-built comfort and quality construction.
Just as it is with our classic Weejuns moccasin construction, the Scout’s apron stitching is done by hand on the last, setting Bass boots and shoes apart as authentically handmade to time-honoured, traditional methods.
How has the Scout been updated for modern times?
While maintaining all the details that have seen Bass boots stand the test of time, the Scout has the addition of round waxy laces, in keeping with a contemporary audience, and is finished with modern brass ski-hooks and eyelets that weren’t on the original. A mid-rise and high-rise version give the option of a day-to-day or bolder look. Then versatile shades include rich brown and black at the more neutral end, with a vibrant burnt-red for a bolder pop of colour.
One of the biggest differences though is the use of modern high-performance materials, with a Goodyear-welted Vibram® rubber lug sole for superior stability and grip across any surface; something we’re sure the American pioneers of days past would have loved to get their hands on.
So, while the Scout operates at its own iconic frequency, it owes a debt to the Bass boots that came before and the path first trodden by great American pioneers, captains of industry, workers, huntsmen, and even the humble quail.
Click here to shop the new season collection.
Keep up to date with our latest collections and product drops. Sign up to receive our email newsletter and you’ll be one of the first to hear about new season collections, collaborations and special events.