Central California native John Lofgren makes grail-level boots inspired by iconic silhouettes of the 20th century. For 17 years, he lived in Japan and operated two cult-favorite stores: H.T.C. and Speedway. While immersed in retail, Lofgren started his own label that championed uncompromising quality and tasteful designs. While his footwear is relatively hard to come by in the United States, you can pick up a few styles at shops like Self Edge and Standard and Strange, the latter of which just released a new collaboration for pre-sale.

A super-limited run of 24 pieces, the Standard and Strange x John Lofgren Black Cat boot is based on the iconic M-43 issued during WWII. The original 1943 model had a composite sole, welted construction, an unstructured toe and rough-out leather. Lofgren’s M-43 is built around the same Munson last used for the original style and keeps many of the same features. Made in Japan, it has a Goodyear welt and a Vibram 705 sole with a 700 heel. For the leather, Standard and Strange opted for a black rough-out Japanese steerhide, tanned in Himeji.

Available in half-sizes from 7 to 11, these boots run true to size and retail for $795. Currently available for pre-sale, the Black Cat boots will ship on May 19. With such an incredibly limited run, you should act fast if these strike your fancy — they won’t be around long.

An Interview with John Lofgren

John Lofgren is uncompromising in his line of Japanese-made footwear. We caught up with him to discuss the inspiration behind his brand, Japanese craftsmanship and his favorite shoe models. Read the Story