It is that time of year again when schools open for the next school year. In years past, I helped great nephews of high school age to get boots to wear to school. As far as I know, all those I got booted are still wearing them, even to college.
At a recent motorcycle police rodeo, I overheard a motor officer speaking with his son about going back to school. That conversation wasn’t unusual, but my ears perked up when I heard the son ask his Dad,
“Could you get me a pair of boots to wear to school?”
Dad stepped back and said, “you always wear sneakers. What’s with boots?”
I smiled when his son said, “you look so cool in your boots. I want a pair.”
Dad said, “the boots are part of my uniform — and honestly if I didn’t have to wear these hot boots all day, I’d rather not. You see me in sneakers around the house.”
Son wouldn’t be discouraged. He continued, “I wasn’t talking about tall boots like those” (pointing to his father’s boots), “but more like those” (pointing to a pair of short tech boots on another cop).
Dad looked at the other cop’s boots and said, “okay, those are pretty much like sneakers. I’ll get you a pair if you want.”
Hours later at lunch, I happened to be sitting across the table from the same cop. We were talking about the competition, and I asked him, “what do you think about shorter tech boots for duty wear?”
The cop’s answer was about what I expected. “Those kind of boots are sh*t for riding. No protection. Not like my Dehners.” Okay, he’s “old-school” and an old-school tall boot guy myself, I appreciate that. But he continued, “those kind of boots are fine for my kid who goes through shoes faster than the food in the fridge.” He smiled and continued, “If my kid wants a pair, that’s fine because they’re cheap and about when they fall apart, he will need a new pair anyway.”
That got me to thinking and wondering his opinion about my Chippewa Firefighter boots that I had on. I pointed to my boots and asked the cop, “what do you think about these?” … fearing a reply that I didn’t want to hear.
The cop looked at my boots and said, “those are okay. Guys in the fire department wear them. They seem to hold up okay.”
I replied, “these boots are over five years old and have been my most frequently selected boots when I ride my Harley.” The cop said, “yeah, they look okay. What kind of boots did you say they were?” I told him “Chippewa Firefighters,” and he asked, “Do they have a steel toe?” to which I replied “yes, they do.”
The cop said, “that’s great… my son seems to hurt his toes a lot; I don’t know how he does it. I’ll see if my son would like a pair of those.”
Then a couple more cops started speaking with this officer about a different subject, and our conversation ended.
I found it both interesting and insightful that at least one “old-school” motor officer generally prefers tall equestrian-style boots with a uniform, prefers not to wear them off duty, yet thinks that shorter tactical-style boots are poorly made, fall apart, and are not appropriate to wear for protection while operating a police motorcycle. However, his evaluation of shorter tac boots were of a pair made by Bates that really did look like sneakers. He seemed to be impressed with my Chippewa Firefighters.
Life is short: know your boots.