SOLOVAIR X HEAD'S THREAD'S & HEAVY TREADS
The latest Solovair collaboration is a true labour of love project led by Samuel, owner of Head's Threads & Heavy Treads. HTandHT is rooted in subculture and style, in particular reggae and heavy boots hence our collaborative Astronaut Boot being a good fit.
The limited edition 11 Eye Astronaut Boot sees HTandHT opt for a premium full grain, waxy burgundy leather with brass eyelets, a stitchless welt, Solovair pull tags and our signature soft suspension classic soles. Made on the 493 last for it's favoured fitting properties, we do not see these being available for long.
We asked Samuel to tell us a little bit more about himself, HTandHT and his love of heavy duty footwear.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
When I was in high school, people knew me as the kid with the red boots. When I run into my old classmates, it makes them smile to see I’m still wearing them.
I first got into the skinhead subculture when I was 15 or 16. I had been into punk for several years at that point, but then I heard a song called ‘Chaos’ by the 4 Skins. I shaved my head shortly thereafter. It didn’t make my life any easier, to say the least, but I loved every second of it, and still do.
It’s a subculture. It created a place of belonging when I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere else. Modern trends, different from one day to the next, were very unappealing to me. That hasn’t changed.
Skinhead gave me substance, and featured a built-in rejection of the status quo. I loved the music, the attitude, and the big boots. It’s never been about race or politics (nor has the skinhead subculture, properly understood, ever been). It’s always been about music, style, and friendship. Class structure in the US is a little different from the UK, but skinheads everywhere value hard work and respect.
The bonds I have developed with people from all over the United States since my early days are very precious to me, not to mention the connections I’ve made through social media over the past 10 years or so.
I’ve grown a lot, as people are apt to do, and a few things have changed for me. Now married to the love of my life, we have two kids, ages 2 and 4, with another on the way. I’ve been in college part-time, on and off, for about 8 years while working on my bachelor’s degree. As a member of the Anglican church, my faith is central to my life now, but I’ll always love the subculture. I even wear my boots on Sundays and our entire parish is excited for this project.
When did you first discover Solovair?
About 15 years ago, my friend Noah told me about Solovair, that it was the real deal when it came to “bovver boots.” Looking back, I wish I would have dove in earlier, but it was a while before I gave them a shot. It would be several years before I bought my first pair, but I should have listened to Noah! A few years prior he gave me my first pair of Gripfast. He obviously knew what he was talking about.
In early 2017, I bought my first pair of Solovair, 11 eye rub-off derby boots. I still have them and wear them sometimes, but my collection has exploded since then, so now I have many more to choose from. Now I’ve got a few pairs of 8 eye derbies, Englanders, brogues, Southerners, Astronauts, vintage Solovair police boots, and nice pair of the old Soli white tops. Last year I bought my first pair of the new Solovair Gripfast and I couldn’t be happier with them.
How did Head’s Threads and Heavy Treads come about?
When I was 17, I was locked up for 8 months in Juvenile Justice program (similar to a borstal in the UK) for vandalism and battery. My bunky, nicknamed “Heavy,” called me Head because, well, I have a big head. This ended up being the inspiration for the name of the brand and logo.
Different factions of skins have different musical tastes and styles. As I teenager I was more into the punk, oi, and hardcore scene, like most American skins. I wore boots, braces, and mostly band shirts. As I got older, I calmed down some, and started listening to a lot more reggae and ska. Simultaneously, I started to go for a sharper style of dress. I still love punk and oi, but it’s not as relatable as it once was. I’d had a few classic button downs over the years, but that’s when I started becoming an avid collector.
Head’s Threads first started with a Facebook group I made in 2017, under a different name, to sell clothes and boots I didn’t wear anymore. Without a lot of group members, it became somewhat bothersome, and eventually I just started creating and sharing content and inviting people to join. It slowly ended-up becoming a style-focused subculture group. We’re now just shy of 1,000 members, and the page has grown to about 1,750 followers. The group is filled with old school and new school skins, and there is a heavy focus on boots. Our group members are very knowledgeable and make the group what it is.
I’ve always used the group to promote brands I love. Skins, local and online, took notice and started to come to me for recommendations. Then early last year, my friend Mike, half-joking, said I should become a designer. I went for it, having no idea that it would lead to such an amazing opportunity to work with Solovair. I renamed the group and made a page to go with it. Shortly thereafter I started the company.
When I finally reached out to Solovair, I was given this golden opportunity, and my excitement has not waned for even a second.
Why did you decide on the particular model you have had us make? What are your influences and inspiration behind the boot?
In the US punk and oi scene, steel toed boots have always been the favorite, but the UK scene seems to prefer the non-steel-toed styles. A number of polls I did in various groups confirmed this trend.
We went through a number of prototypes early on. After several months working with Solovair, I finally decided on sleek Astronauts and more thuggish steel-toed 8 eye derby boots with commando soles. The best of both worlds! Both were inspired by traditional subculture aesthetics.
Some details have been tweaked to make them unique. The waxy burgundy leather was my favorite, by far. I’ve always loved brass eyelets and they look great with the burgundy leather.
What is your goal with your brand?
For now, I am focusing on starting projects with established brands I love so much as a “collaborative clobberist,” but who knows?
The website, www.htandht.com, has a bunch of t-shirts available. I’ve spoken with a number of tailors around the world and would love to release some HTandHT brand button-downs someday. I’ve my own paracord boots laces by hand for years and have started selling them in the US. Orders are really picking up and they’ve been very-well received. It can be very time-consuming, but I love making them and seeing how pleased the buyers have been.
This is a labour of love. I already have a full-time job, so for me, it’s not about money. When it comes to HTandHT, having a way to share my passion for quality subculture styles is my bottom line.
The Solovair x HTandHT 11 Eye Astronaut Boot is available here.