Boot comfort

There are times in my line of work when I have to be on my feet all day long, and dressed in a suit as well. Since I don’t own a pair of shoes, having comfortable boots is a necessity. Over the next several days, I will be at a conference, running up and down hallways, standing at a table providing information, and spending much more time on my feet than I usually do.

Generally speaking, I find cowboy boots are more comfortable than motorcycle boots. Also, there are more styles of “dress” cowboy boots on the market to choose from.

Pictured here is a pair of Ariat cowboy boots that have a rubber tread, so they’ll work well as a motorcycle boot, too. They have a great built-in insole as well. The combination of the insole and the rubber tread, as well as being made of a very soft cowhide, make them quite comfortable. I wore them all day yesterday and I was on my feet or standing for many hours. My feet didn’t hurt a bit.

Of the cowboy boots in my collection, two manufacturers stand out above the crowd: Lucchese and Dan Post. Each of these bootmakers build their boots on quality lasts (forms) and install insoles that are comfortable. Nocona boots aren’t bad, either, but don’t quite have the comfort of Dan Post boots.

What manufacturers make boots that I find to be uncomfortable? Acme by far is the worst, followed by Cowtown and Code West. I’ve discarded any Laredo boots that I had because they’re very uncomfortable and were cheaply made. Unfortunately, I find that Tony Lama, once a premier boot maker, has fallen short in my boot comfort ratings. Justin can be good or not so good, depending on the boot. Justin comfort is inconsistent. Sendras look hot, but to be really fair, they’re not all that comfortable to stand in for a long time. Boots made in Mexico by independent boot makers can really vary. Mezcalero Boots are teriffic, but Rudel and Villano are not. Rios of Mercedes are fair, and Largato are a bit better. You just have to try them on and walk/stand in them a while to see how they feel to you.

Motorcycle boots aren’t ordinarily worn with dress clothes, but I have been spotted from time to time wearing H-D Police Enforcer Boots which by far are the most comfortable tall “bike cop” boots that I own. Far more comfortable that Dehners, IMHO.

Final words: you really have to try on the boots and walk in them. Walk around a store, up and down the aisles, and stand. Just stand in them. Often you can tell after 5 minutes of standing in a pair of boots if they are comfortable to you. Tell the sales guy why you’re doing that — to evaluate how the boots really feel to you. That’s the only way you can tell. If a sales guy doesn’t want you to spend the time doing that, then go somewhere else. And don’t buy the poppycock that “the boots will break in.” The break-in happens in the flex of the sole (for walking) and in the creases at the ankles. It has nothing to do with sole comfort while standing. Don’t let a sales guy tell you any different.

In closing, boot comfort for walking and standing is really measured in the quality of an insole. That makes all the difference. If you like a boot but the insole is not of good quality, you can always buy good quality insoles, like Dr. Sholl’s gel insoles, which are really quite good. (Don’t get the cheap thin foam insoles, which feel good for a few hours then flatten out and aren’t so good any more.)

Life is short. Wear your boots. Stand and be proud while booted.

Why did I create my own web site?

Some people have asked me why I created my web site, Well, it’s a simple story, really. I had left a job after almost 20 years to care for an elderly uncle through the winter of his life. At first, I only needed to spend a few hours a week tending to his and his wife’s needs for grocery shopping, transportation for medical visits, sitting and talking with him, and other daily activities. My post-full-time-job consulting “career” also involved learning how to write HTML and update web pages for a non-profit organization, a government, and a political candidate.

Just about the same time, my partner walked into our bedroom and tripped over yet another pair of boots on the floor (he’s the neatnick; I’m not). He was upset, and said that I didn’t really know how many boots I had, where they were, or if even would wear them any more.

So one thing led to the other. I discovered that my ISP offered “free” web hosting, so for a while, I just began to use their HTML editor and post some text and pictures of my boots to inventory my collection and get my partner’s complaints addressed. However, soon I discovered that my ISP’s “free” web space was slow, difficult to use, and wasn’t providing a good “experience” for visitors to my website. Many would drop in and quickly leave because the pages weren’t responsive, slow to load, and (honestly), were ugly.

A few months later, I found that the domain,, was available. I bought it. I asked questions and got a lot of help from people more knowledgeable than me, especially the technical guru behind the website, Bill. He and his partner Larry ( webmaster) offered advice and suggestions, comments and constructive criticism, as did a few other guys who I met through hotboots who also know a lot about these things. I sincerely appreciate their help. Bill and Larry both strongly urged me to put my website on a web host, which would improve the speed and was a heck of a lot easier to use. I took their advice (which is always good) and put on Hurricane Electric, which provides superb, virtually uninterrupted highly reliable service and support.

As my uncle’s health was deteriorating and I was spending more time with him, I had learned enough about web building that I didn’t have to (nor have time to) spend as much time on it. I spent time with my uncle until he passed away at the rich old age of 95, with dignity and honor, at home with his loving wife of 64 years nearby. I’ll never regret that experience and the honor of caring for such a wonderful, sweet man.

Soon after squaring away my uncle’s affairs, and with the urging of my partner, I re-entered the full-time job market and was quickly employed. I love my job, but working full-time has its drawbacks in that I don’t have nearly as much time to work on my website as I would like. But when I do, it’s fun. I have learned a lot and thank goodness on how well Google works so I can inquire about certain web techniques and learn from examples of others.

So why did I create my own website? Several reasons, really: to inventory my boot and leather gear collection; to learn HTML and web techniques; to exercise my mind by learning new skills; and to have fun. That’s it — it’s an avocation that is fun. It’s not about me; it’s not an ego thing. It’s just fun.

Suit and Boots

It was “suit and boots” time again at our state legislature for this civic activist yesterday. I testified before a committee which is considering a bill to repeal our state’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law. I believe the law should be retained. There are far too many head injuries of motorcyclists in other states where the law is not in place. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear the opposing arguments about freedom, heat, etc., etc., but I don’t buy it. And I hope the bill dies in committee, which it looks like it will.

I was wearing my Dan Post Brown Ostrich Leg Cowboy Boots and this new brown leather blazer, shirt & tie, etc. A few bikers were there were in traditional “biker” attire — chaps, jeans, boots, and vests with a zillion metal pins on them. What was amusing to me is that the bikers were really holding up the security line, and several of them had to help each other take off the other’s boots. It was interesting viewing for this Bootman!

So there I am, standing behind this huge line of bikers at security, them in the boots and leathers (my customary attire) and me in a suit (not customary attire). The guard looked at me and said, “let me look in your bag and then you can go around.” So I by-passed the show in the building lobby. Imagine, being a boot & leather man and yet having a suit be the reason why I’m given the fast lane. I just laughed all the way to the hearing room.

Since I was on the opposing side of several of the booted bikers in the audience, let’s say they weren’t all that happy with me. As I was leaving, one of them stuck his boot out so that I had to step over his leg or risk tripping. As I was stepping over him, I just smiled and said, “nice Wescos. I have several pairs of those boots myself.” He gave me a puzzled look.

Anyway, as I go about my daily routine, be it at work or as a community and civic activist, I’m booted all the way…. but perhaps not always in leather, as much as I would like to be.

Bartering for Boots

I once lived in a European economy where much was exchanged on barter, rather than for cash. I could offer a product or service in exchange for another, and ultimately, I would get what I needed and was able to help others.

Bartering isn’t done that much in the U.S. But it can be done if you know when, how, and where to look. For example, I have a buddy who runs a business. He is often overwhelmed with tax questions. While I’m no expert, I’ve been around the block once or twice. So in exchange for advice and consultation, he gave me something from his inventory: a new pair of Chippewa oil-tanned Engineer Boots. While I wasn’t necessarily looking for another pair of boots that I already have, I wouldn’t turn ’em down, either. They are very comfortable boots. They’re unlined, so you can feel the tall boot shaft rubbing gently on the calf (a good feeling!). I am certain that I will put them to good use while riding my motorcycle. I’ll then feel a tad less badly about muckin’ in snud, mud, or other wet stuff in the older pair, which take abuse well and come back for more.


Just computing tax returns today for seniors; then preparing home-made chicken soup later.

I am in my Nocona diamondback rattlesnake cowboy boots this morning. These boots are so comfortable, look great with blue jeans, and make an excellent sound when I walk in them. Someone asked me recently what boots I think are most comfortable, and these are among them.

I’ll switch to some Biker Boots after I return from the seniors’ visits, as someone is coming by to look at my Harley that’s for sale. So the switch to biker attire and boots is needed. I’ll take the Harley for a short ride to warm it up. Thank goodness all evidence of “snud” (posted about yesterday) is gone.


It was rainy and wet yesterday, and I worked from home. Today (Saturday), it’s clearing. Riding on the roads after such weather causes “SNUD” — Snow/Mud combination. Kinda fun sometimes just to get off the bike and walk around….

My old Chippewa Oil-Tanned Engineer Boots fill the bill. Comfy old boots that have been everywhere and have done everything, including tramping in some SNUD. Now, time to clean the Harley….

Men Into Leather and BDSM

There is a common assumption among many in the gay world that all men who enjoy leather also always are into BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, and Sado-Mascochism, sometimes referred to SM or S&M). According to Wikipedia, BDSM “defines a spectrum of behaviors, including dominance, submission, punishment, masochism, bondage, role play, and a large variety of other activities, frequently sexual in nature.

And while it’s true that many men who are into BDSM are into leather and uniforms which fulfill their role playing for such activities, I contend that it is not true the other way around: not all men who are into leather are into BDSM. Many guys into BDSM use leather products, such as restraints, collars, whips, paddles, and similar items as part of their sex play. Some who enjoy BDSM have told me that they get much more of a sexual charge in certain “SM scenes”. I’ll leave it at that; this is a G-rated Blog.

As for me, I have witnessed actual torture in some parts of the world. I have observed man’s inhumanity to man. It was dreadful, frightening, and I felt woefully deficient and horrible if I couldn’t put a stop to it. What I saw was so repugnant and horrifying that I had nightmares for years following. I tried to help those who were tortured recover from their wounds, both physical and mental, and my “mental wounds” will never go away.

Because of my own experience, I could not consider engaging in BDSM activities, nor would I find it interesting, “fun,” or sexually stimulating. In fact, if my mind is diverted to memories of those past witnessed events, I lose all interest in whatever I’m doing, turn pale, my stomach starts turning, and I need to sit down and do something to bring my mind back to reality and the current day.

Do I think BDSM is bad? Do I think poorly of men who engage in these activities? No! I truly believe that everyone can do and enjoy what they like, as long as the activities are consensual, safe sex is practiced, drugs aren’t involved, and that there is a complete discussion among all participants beforehand. Honestly, I think one of the best writers on the topic is John Pendal, Mr. International Leather 2003. Read his writings (click on the index page then “Harness” columns).

As for me? I’m into leather because I’m a Biker, I like it, it feels good, is durable, warm, comfortable, and looks good on me (or I feel that it does). Are the Leathercops going to confiscate my gear because I’m not into BDSM? Ha! I’d like to know who they are and for them to try. That could be fun!

Dirt Clods (oops)

I get home from work most days about a half-hour before my partner does. I go shed the work clothes and (especially in winter) put on the leather and tall boots. Some days I put food out for the birds and squirrels in the feeder in our back yard to save my partner the time, especially if it’s cold or wet, as it was yesterday.

So here I am, in Wesco Motor Patrol Boots which have Vibram 100R non-marring soles. But I forget that it’s wet and before I know it, dirt and leaves get into the sole treads (as shown.) ooops…. What’s worse, I don’t have a way to hose off the boot soles since our outside water faucets are turned off to prevent freezing. Without thinking (sometimes that’s my middle name), I walk into the house and start dinner preparations.

The dirt dries, falls out… ooops. Clods galore, wherever I have walked. My partner is none too happy about that, and makes pronouncements, “At this specific date and time, you will vacuum the basement stairs!” and continues to grumble. Well, he has a point. Perhaps if I feed the birds, I should go do that in my dress clothes with leather-soled boots so I won’t be as likely to pick up all the dirt in the soles of boots with big treads. Okay, BB, that’s my plan. Meanwhile, I’m sweeping, vacuuming… such is the life of a Bootman.

An Avocation

I’d like to thank an exceptionally intelligent friend and who has a superb grasp of the English language who shared his insights with me about my blog post about my interest in boots and leather being a fetish or not.

What he said, which is an accurate statement, is that my interest in boots and leather is an avocation, which is defined as, “An activity taken up in addition to one’s regular work or profession, usually for enjoyment; a hobby.”

That’s spot on: I get into my “boot and leather thing” by building my website, participating on-line, and communicating about boots and leather purely as a personal interest, beyond my profession. My profession is in an entirely different field, for which I have won international recognition.

Further, my astute friend pointed out that the term “fetish” is further defined as an irrational obsession. You can split hairs, but I know when to spend time with my interest in boots, and when to do other things. Boots don’t obsess me, though perhaps I do devote more time to this hobby than perhaps other things. But my interest isn’t irrational. For example, I wear the boots and leather I have regularly; not just “have it” to have it. I don’t go into debt about it; and I don’t toss aside responsibilities to my partner, my family, my friends, nor my community. Therefore, I don’t think my avocation represents being irrational.

My friend concluded by saying that most people are too lazy to look up a real meaning of a word, and use the word “fetish” with reckless abandon. He went on to say that some may label me with that word because they don’t bother to understand what it means. And that’s the trouble with many folks these days, they just repeat what they hear without really knowing the meaning of what they are saying.

I’d like to thank my smart, well educated friend for his enlightenment. I’m blessed to have people like him in my life, which make my life so much richer.