So we have them again. And what a pleasure, the latest Re-issue or should I say Re-boot of the vintage classic 'ASTRO's'.
These are HAWKINS Astronauts in all but name really, with a contemporary modern twist.
Named ASTRONAUTS from the famous 1961 photo shoot of the Mercury 7 space flight all wearing spray-painted Hawkins.
Firstly the 'Hawkins' name has been dropped though not to breach copyright laws, which is understandable.
A bit of essential history: - The original Astronauts boots were made by GT Hawkins from Northampton, an actual competitor to NPS SOLOVAIR at the time. GT HAWKINS factory shut in mid 90's. Hawkins had their own soles initially, but both Hawkins and Solovair both used a DM sole supplied by Rgriggs/Airwair during their heyday.
These are not an alternative to the ridiculously famous Dr Martens as some may think. Hawkins Astros was THE iconic skinhead boot of the day. When Steel toe capped boots were banned from all football terraces in 1969/70. Gone were the army surplus, hobnail, work boots, heavy clumsy stalwarts of the early skinhead beginnings, banished, and banned. In their place came the classic design we recognise today. And their popularity became phenomenal.
Hawkins Astros was the preferred boot of choice until Dr Martens completely exploded and saturated the market.
On inspection of the two brands, not a hell of a lot of differences to Joe Bloggs on the street.
The Astros possessed a sleeker profile, the distinctive heel. No outside welt stitching, 11 eyelets, distinctive yellow cotton stitch to leather uppers.
Now Astros have been re-issued a good many times. Even our friend Mikkel Rude commissioned his own Solovair '1969' boot, again Astros.
Let's hope Astros will always have a welcomed and deserved comeback every few years. Let's hope these current renditions will not be the last.
But for now, let's take a look at these.
In a nut-shell, absolute corkers. Wollaston wonders they are.
You'll find these boots now have the signature grey perimeter welt stitch on the signature Solovair sole. now pretty much standard on all their footwear. No inside welt this time around. but in all honesty, who doesn't polish over the stitching? The soft suspension sole is very dark, even black from a distance. I think this is a great look. A lot of folk like to polish the sides of soles black. really no need at all on these. Don't be put off by the 'high shine' in their description. High shine can give the impression of a yucky patent sheen. These haven't. the leather is exceptional quality. The finest Oxblood I've seen on modern boots in many many years. Polishing will be great ease. We haven't the yellow stitching to boot leather as original ASTRO's sported. But to be fair, that's just not possible. Dr Martens simply won't allow this to happen. Instead, we have a nice white/grey stitch to match the sole welt. The heel design and profile exactly the same as all Astros. 11 eyelets as required. We have the branded pull tag. originals never had this, but snip it off if it suits. the price tag of £180 I consider decent, to be honest. For a made in England boot of this workmanship it even seems very very reasonable. Compare these to modern Dr Martens, really just no comparison. Solovair overtook Dm's many years ago with regards to quality and durability. I'm pleased to see this trend continuing.
Yep they bloody marvellous.