Bringing Them Back to Life

I was cleaning out our garage a couple of weeks ago, and found something that I thought had gone lost years ago.

I bought these Vasque Sundowners the summer before I left for college from Go With The Flow. These made it through hell and back – walking to class, pledging, tailgates & games, road trips, camping…you get the picture. These have probably been the best value for the dollar I’ve ever spent on shoes. Structurally, they are in excellent condition – ready to go. Needless to say, when I found them in an old box in the garage, I was more than excited.
They needed some serious work. First, I removed the laces and gave them a good wash.

In the meantime, I contacted Vasque to inquire about some new laces. They promptly responded and said they replacement laces could be purchased from $0.99 a pair. I got the brown boot laces, and also the red round laces – more on that shortly.
Next, I gave them a few coats of saddle soap:
Finally, I very light layer of polish:
I’m very happy to have these ‘back’. Like reconnecting with an old friend. Now – I just need to decide on the laces:
or Red:
What do you think?


  1. manifolddestiny
    01/18/2010 / 11:29 PM

    These look great! I say red laces. Also, have you considered hitting them with a coat (or 2) of Obenauf's? I think it'd make sure they stay around for a lot more tailgates.

  2. Joseph
    01/19/2010 / 1:20 AM

    Red for sure, definitely for everday use. Brown if you want to dress them up with some jeans and a blazer. I second the notion to give them some sort of waterproofing treatment. I have the same pair of cabela's mid ankle hunting boots from 1995! I had them re-soled once but they are like an old baseball mitt, unreplaceable, and more broken in than I care to replicate with another pair of boots.

  3. swirvin
    01/19/2010 / 1:52 AM

    So can give a little more details like the brand of saddle soap and the brand and color of polish. I have similar old pair that have been sitting in my closet for over 12 years.

    Thanks for a great article

  4. eoo
    01/19/2010 / 1:56 AM

    red, fo sho

  5. The Red Velvet Shoe
    01/19/2010 / 2:12 AM


  6. James
    01/19/2010 / 2:27 AM

    That was an interesting post. I vote brown, but that's just the old man in me talking.

  7. Tsell
    01/19/2010 / 3:58 AM

    "Red" Clay Soul? Easy choice…like pie a la mode…

  8. trip
    01/19/2010 / 4:55 AM

    Wow, they look brand new.

  9. David
    01/19/2010 / 6:28 AM

    I like brown a little better. But you do have both so you can just switch them out whenever you feel like it.

    Amazing transition. Definitely cool to find something like that and give them a second life. I think I have some boots I'm gonna try this with.

  10. Death Bredon
    01/19/2010 / 5:14 PM

    Red is the classic lace color of this type of boot. The color contrast helps with lacing and tying when you are in the Alps!

  11. DAM
    01/20/2010 / 4:21 PM

    eoo has a point. And was going to say red anyways – but orange would also be straight hot.

    Well done on these my friend.

  12. Ed Forbes
    01/20/2010 / 4:22 PM

    Terrific. I'd say you ought to go with red — I seem to remember everybody who wore these having either red or navy blue laces. Great stuff.

  13. Anonymous
    01/20/2010 / 4:57 PM

    What length laces did you go with?

  14. brennan
    02/13/2010 / 2:22 AM

    wow. incredible job!

  15. Scott
    02/22/2010 / 6:38 PM

    Whoa dude, did you ever get off Milledge in those…

  16. Elmo
    03/12/2015 / 9:39 PM

    Love the easy work you put in on them. Found mine after 10yrs and did the same. Saddle up!

  17. Lyn
    10/10/2016 / 1:01 PM

    Brown looks better in my opinion.

  18. Bruh1462
    04/05/2018 / 11:05 PM

    Man. Nice looking boots. Was very interested to find your write up as I recently acquired an old pair of Sundowners. One question, I am wondering, why put polish on hiking boots? I have found polish to create somewhat of a hard slippery layer, and I prefer a grease or something similar that penetrates and retains the leather’s flexibility. Not saying I’m an expert, just wondering. 

  19. Eric
    10/30/2018 / 4:42 PM

    I have a pair of 96’s with a similar story.  What length did you go with?

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