style.: Hitched to a Teardrop, Helm Boots on the Road


Johsua Bingaman

Johsua Bingaman


tracks of a teardrop

Tactile from a distance and approachable to the touch, a teardrop trailer made of old fence board, might be parking itself in front of a storefront near you. When you see it, ease in a little closer where geometric shapes give way to a miniature interior or, at its back helm, white shelves where boots protrude as if they’re fresh homemade rolls out of the oven. Then, and only then, you’ll be experiencing Helm Boots, which has hitched itself to a multi-city, multi-coast road tour by means of a teardrop and a host of family and friends.

What’s new is their fifth season line, out now. What’s fresh is their tear drop trailer announcing it all the was to its intended destination, New York City. And at six years old Helm Boots founded by Joshua Bingaman, is a brand with feeling as an objective.

“I want people to experience commitment. Thats what I’m about, that’s what Helm is about – people, product and profit – in that order.”

With quite the personal touch, Bingaman, a former college English major – brings his love of language into his craft, literally. Pull the tongue forward from within every boot, and you’ll find a quote by a poet he loves, etched within every shoe, every season – how’s that for something eternal, poets everywhere should be proud.

While one could call easily label his U.S. based, handmade and handcrafted brand, Americana – of the culture and history of America – it’s so much more than that, it’s a brand that’s an American family.

Now into its tenth season, holding a boot, as I held a boot one after another, one can experience astute details and thoughtfulness from the sole of the shoes, its hand stitching, to the poetic insignia within.

Bingaman’s family has grown healthily with an economic jolt in the last couple months, hiring more staff to meet demand and interest coming from across all cultures, coffee, tech, film, music – Nick Cave and Leon Bridges to name a couple – showing Bingaman himself he’s long been at the Helm of something beyond the zeitgeist of Americana.

With Helm Boots Bingaman says, “I wanted to create something that was missing. A boot that nods to heritage – one that can be a work book or a dress boot. A boot that was thoughtful, designed by someone who cared.”

An entrepreneur in coffee previously, Bingaman knew the power of a well crafted product and it meeting a community. He began having parties at his flagship store, every fourth Friday. They quickly grew and outgrew the store. He thought,  “What can we do out front [of the store]? I wasn’t going to get a van. But this trailer, it was cool and hey, why not.” Then, a little less than four days ago, he had another hunch, “What if we took it on the road? I said ‘Let’s do it.’ And, It’s been the quickest four days, I tell ya’.”

The simplified road plan of cities includes up to seventeen of them with room for brands and coffee shops and people and whomever, to contact him along the way, in towns unknown and familiar, as long as they hit New York by the beginning of the bi-annual trade show, Liberty Fairs, their ultimate destination.

“This whole thing is better than a catalog,” said Bingaman. He’s right, its a party and everyone’s invited.

Yesterday, LA had its chance with a first of a two day pop-up at Alchemy Works, and in front of Blacktop Coffee, complete with Texas bites and live music.  The party continues today and into the sunset hours of the night.

For any and all other cities, follow the tear drop’s trails road schedule on their Instagram. 


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