was a University of Washington history professor in 1968 when he
financed a climbing binge cutting hiking-boot uppers at a small
factory in Kitzbuhel, Austria. The menial labor sang to the 29-year
old academic's soul. "It was the 3,000-year history,"
he says. "The materials-the leather-hooked me" By the
next summer he'd left the university and was cobbling in his basement.
Now, 30 years later, he schools eight craftspeople in the minutiae
of Vibram outsoles and D-ring eyelets. "I'm drawn to boots
that aren't gimmicky," Page says. "I do most of my mountaineering
in ten-year-old boots-nothing fancy."