More Amusing Searches

I cannot help but to laugh sometimes at what people search for on the internet, and they get directed to this blog or my website. Here are some of the latest…

1. What cowboys are wearing this year

Response: clothes. Always a good choice. Boots too, but that goes without saying.

2. What did cowboy have on boots?

Response: well, if he were on a farm or ranch, then this would be one time where I could use a word on this blog that would not be considered to be profane (in that context.) The word? Shit.

Man, when I lived on a farm and worked the barn and pasture, it was quite common that a LOT of cow, horse, and other animal shit got on my boots.

No problem, though — a quick spray with a hose at the barn washed it off.

3. What’s the name for cowboy boots?

Response: ??? Um, perhaps “Fred” or “Trent” or “Spike” or ….
I dunno, I have never named my boots. So the name for cowboy boots is, um, “cowboy boots.” Now you know.

4. What’s the difference between a rubber sole and a leather sole in a boot?

Response: one is made of rubber (actually, nitrile, a type of rubber), and another is made of leather. Rubber soles give a bit better traction, particularly in wet environments on working farms. Leather soles are usually worn on dress boots. Now you know.

5. The right or proper way to wear cowboy (or western) boots.

Man, this comes up so many times in searches that land on the Wearing Cowboy Boots page on my website. Short story? The proper way to wear boots is to pull them on and let your pants legs fall over them to stack on the boot foot. Stand tall, smile, and walk with a confident stride. The boots will contribute to your appearance as a strong, confident man (or woman.) That’s it, pure and simple.

6. How to wear socks over boots

Response: I would not recommend wearing socks over boots. Instead, I recommend wearing socks over your feet, and then pull on the boots over your socks. Simple.

7. is boot cut pants for boots for jeans over boot (sic)

Response: I think what this person was asking is if jeans labeled “boot cut” are designed to wear over boots. The answer is — yes! Just as the label says, “sized to fit over your boots.”

Honestly, though, most regular guys wear straight-leg jeans with boots. The jeans are wide enough at the opening to fit over boots and (in my opinion) look even better than boot-cut jeans, because you can see more of the boot shaft under the leg of the jeans. That’s a hot look that many women (and some men) admire.

8. How to wear men’s cowboy boots and not look like a cowboy

Oh brother, someone from Houston, Texas, is worried about wearing boots and not looking like a cowboy? Really?

Well, if you want to wear cowboy boots and do not want to look like a cowboy, then wear other types of clothing, like khakis, dress slacks, or even a suit. Don’t wear a hat (ball cap or traditional cowboy hat.) Wear a dress shirt with a collar and a single pocket, instead of a twill or double-pocket shirt with a western yoke. And top off the “non-cowboy” look by wearing a necktie. Real cowboys don’t wear a noose (not if they can avoid it.) Real cowboys appear casual and comfortable in their boots.

One last piece of advice on how not to look like a cowboy — hunch over, droop your shoulders, look timid, tiptoe or shuffle your feet, and squint your eyes. Look stiff and rigid. Yeah, that way you definitely will not have any remote appearance of looking like a casually-dressed, comfortable, confident cowboy. You will look more like the office clone back here on the East Coast.

Life is short: wear boots!

Persistence for the Partner

It seems as if every day presents a new challenge for my partner. His health condition remains difficult, but let me assure you, he is fairing as best as he can. He is working part-time, resting and eating well. However, his medical condition remains fragile, and messes with his head. Literally. He can’t think logically and easily gets overwhelmed, which results in confusion, agitation, and bouts of emotion.

We are in it for the long-haul. I am as committed to him as ever….
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Replacement Wesco Boots?

Last week, I sold a pair of tall black Wesco harness boots. Those boots were very good-looking, and I liked them a lot. I received a lot of compliments on them when I wore them. However, they did not fit me any more and I agreed with my partner’s assessment that keeping them would not be a good idea, as they would collect dust and make me feel sad because I couldn’t wear them.

The boots sold at auction for a great price — more than I paid for them originally. A couple people noticed that and sent me a message asking if I would replace them with a new pair, especially since the prices for Wesco boots are going up on April 1.

My reply?

No, I will not replace them with another pair of Wesco boots. While Wesco boots are top-of-the-line and are solid as a tank, I have plenty of other motorcycle boots that I like to wear. I have arrived at the point in my life where I choose boots for practical reasons and for comfort. I hate to say it, but Wesco boots are so heavy that my feet feel tired when I wear them. I do not attend leather fetish events where the boots would make a commanding appearance. I wear boots for practical reasons — for safety when I ride my Harley.

Since I have other Wesco boots that still fit fine, as well as a stable of other good-quality motorcycle boots, I really do not “need” another pair of tall Wesco harness boots. I can do without replacing them, and keeping the funds in savings.

Generally, I am rather fiscally frugal, and the appeal to save money is greater to me than the appeal to pay a princely sum for another pair of boots that I do not need.

This is a difficult decision to make for someone like me, but at my age, it is time that I realize that priorities are changing. Collecting more boots that I will not wear but once in a while is not that good of an idea. Time to focus on the future. Save money, continue to build my reserve fund, retirement investments, and so forth.

My partner is in full agreement.

Does this mean that I have stopped acquiring boots and never will buy another pair? Not likely. But my priorities for buying boots that are built like a tank, are heavy and expensive, have changed.

Life is short: be willing to reassess priorities.

Justin Brands is Like General Motors? What?

Someone sent me an email recently that said:

First, let me say I love your reviews and videos on the various boots. Keep up the good work! I wanted to get your opinion on Chippewa’s harness boots.

I was in a store today and almost bought a pair, but couldn’t decide between the black or the bison.

The quality seemed to be good, but I notice on the box that they are now a division of Justin boots. Do you think they are still a good choice, or would Wesco be better in the long run?

I understand his concern. Within the last decade, we have seen some major boot brands leave the United States and source bootmaking by whatever methods and companies can do it cheaper, while simultaneously increasing the profit margin for the label owner.

Here is what I said in my reply…

Thank you for the compliments on my website and videos. I appreciate your taking the time to write to me and share that, as well as ask a question.

Chippewa boots have been owned by a consolidated company called Justin Brands since 1984. Justin Brands also owns the companies that make boots with the labels of Tony Lama, Justin, Justin Original Work Boots, and Nocona.

Think of Justin Brands as the General Motors of the boot industry. One company with different brands under one umbrella. (What gets confusing is that Justin Brands is one company under a larger umbrella of Berkshire Hathaway, a huge conglomerate that owns many companies that make everything from candy to bricks, or offers products like insurance or newspapers.)

When we have to worry is when a bootmaker begins sourcing production in China, India, or Pakistan. That’s when lower quality materials and workmanship occur. We saw this happen, for example, with Frye boots. Once made in the U.S. with quality materials and standards, these boots are now made by whatever Chinese company gives the owner of the label (Li & Fung) the lowest bid, or best return on their investment.

So far, Justin Brands has kept production in the United States for most of their boots, and outsource only a few of the cowboy boots (Nocona, Tony Lama, Justin) to just over the border in Northern Mexico — which is okay, because boots made in Mexico are well-made of good materials.

You see a lot of Chippewa boots in my collection, and let me tell you, I’m rather finicky about quality. My Chippewa boots have held up well under rather stressful conditions of every-day wear and riding my Harley.

You said that you almost bought a pair — I’d say, go get them. The choice between black and bison is more personal, as whether you like black or brown, or the texture of smooth grain leather or a more “pebble” surface as found on bison. Either are a good choice.

Of course, I wouldn’t dissuade you from buying Wesco boots, either. Those are top-of-the-line in quality and construction, and are still made by a small family-owned company in Oregon. Trouble is, for a lot of guys, the cost of Wesco boots being more than double that of Chippewa boots tends to be a major issue. To me, Chippewa is to Chevrolet as Wesco is to Hummer. A Chevy will get you where you want to go in casual comfort, while a Hummer will get you where you want to go as if you were riding in a tank.

By the way, I noticed in 2010 that a small tag line on the boxes of Chippewa boots indicates the ownership by Justin Brands. I don’t think they said that on their boxes before that, even though Chippewa boots has been owned and operated by Justin Brands since 1984.

Thanks for asking, and enjoy your boots!


Life is short: know your boot brands.

Amusing Internet Searches

Every now and then, I look at internet searches that bring visitors to my website. Here are some of the more recent and amusing searches. Some I can answer, some I cannot, and one — I haven’t a clue. Here goes:

1. Good boots to wear with cows.

I guess the best recommendation that I can make for boots to wear with cows are boots that are made of skins such as lizard, ostrich, kangaroo, or goat. I betcha that cows would object if you wore leather boots made of… you know… their brethren.

2. How to cut jeans to fut over booys

While I have enjoyed many visits to Australia (see origination of this search), and I know we share the same language — I still cannot figure out what “fut over booys” means. At all. (Perhaps this is a typing error since this was done on one of those i-gadgets).

3. What to say when someone asks why you are wearing cowboy boots.

Good question! Here are some suggestions —

a. I like how they look. Aren’t they cool? Let me lift my pants so you can see them better.

b. If you think these boots are cool, you should see my boyfriend’s boots! Wow!

c. I got them as a gift, and appreciate the thoughtfulness of (name of giver.)

d. These boots are more comfortable than your (dorky) dress shoes.

e. I’m tired of dressing like a clone.

f. My horse suggested the boots.

g. These boots fit and feel better than my horse’s shoes.

h. Why not?

4. Can you wear men’s motorcycle boots in summer?

Well, duh… summer is prime riding season. Bikers wear boots.

Answer, seriously: YES! You can (as yes, it is possible) to wear motorcycle boots in the summer. It is also preferable, as you “should.”

However, some guys have had a bad experience with boots feeling hot during the summer. Boots that do not fit well or were made of materials other than leather (such as “man-made uppers”) that do not breathe probably resulted in your feet and legs feeling fried, hot, and clammy.

Best way to resolve that situation is to invest in quality all-leather boots that fit you correctly. Please — size of your sneakers is probably way off from the true size of your foot and correct boot size. Go into a shoe store and get both feet measured. (Funny thing, but most motorcycle dealers that also carry boots seldom have a device that measures foot size for boots.) Once you know your “shoe size,” you can find a pair of boots that will fit.

Good quality, well-made boots, like Chippewa Firefighters or harness/engineer boots will not only feel good (and not be hot), they also will look good and protect you at the same time.

5. How should men wear cowboy boots?

Tah-dum: on their feet. ‘nuf said. (I still can’t believe how frequently this question is entered into a search engine.)

Life is short: wear boots on your feet … and have a nice day!

Evidence: Harley Riders’ Footwear

The following images were taken from a photo that I took of a group of men and women who I went on a motorcycle ride with recently. These guys ride regularly and belong to the same group that I do. We ride together often (as often as my schedule permits, anyway.)

This proves beyond doubt that real bikers wear boots. See any sneakers? No? End of story.

Life is short: wear motorcycle boots when you operate a motorcycle.

What boots did I wear? I wore my Wesco combat boots for a little different style. Too bad the leather BDUs inflated with air and look kinda puffy. But the BDUs bloused into the boots looked and felt great while riding.

What To Wear When Riding a Harley Part III

To continue with this short series of posts about what to wear when riding a Harley (or any other brand of motorcycle), let me continue a little bit more about the boots part of the rider’s attire.

My most recent blog post described why wearing boots is important, and talked about various kinds of motorcycle boots out there. The post before that discussed gear like jackets.

What I did not communicate much about is why boots are so much better than sneakers (trainers).

After all, most guys think, “sneakers have rubber soles, and give me traction when I walk, run, or play sports while wearing them, so why wouldn’t they be okay to wear while riding my motorcycle?”

Perhaps this message from someone who wrote to me recently will give a hint:

After consulting with other bikers I know regarding boots, [they] know bikes but not boots. Case in point, my coworker confessed his bike tipped over at a light during a stop because he was standing in a patch of oil. He tried to hold up his bike and gave himself a hernia. He was wearing Sketcher’s boots.

I have been riding with a pair of CAT steel toe boots and on a 200 mile trip to the desert from the central coast, I nearly slipped at a stop and while you can’t prevent every slip, the lug sole of Wesco looks second to none. People drop 5K on new pipes and carb rejet and will wear boots from Walmart I have learned.

There are a number of things that this guy’s message brings out:

1. The necessity for oil-resistant soles. Think about it — when you stop a motorcycle on pavement, you are usually placing your foot to balance the bike on a place where oil droplets have been deposited from vehicles that have passed that way before. If it hasn’t rained hard in a while, then it is very likely that there is a thin film of oil on the road. The lightweight synthetic material from which the soles of modern-day sneakers are made cannot get a grip on that thin film of oil, so when a sneaker-clad foot hits just the wrong patch of oil-coated pavement, the sole slips. Down you go.

Quality boots designed for motorcycling have oil-resistant soles, and it will say so on the product (such as an imprint on the sole or a label inside the boot shaft.) Vibram soles are known to be oil-resistant.

Bottom-line: the soles of sneakers do not resist oil and easily slip, while oil-resistant motorcycle boot soles are less likely to slip.

2. Some makers of sneakers call their shoe a boot. Even if a sneaker comes up six inches, it is still not a boot. A boot is a boot, not a sneaker. Do not confuse the two.

3. Even if some boots are made to offer protection to the foot — such as a steel toe — it does not mean that the sole of that boot offers the gripping power required by motorcyclists — particularly for those who operate heavyweight bikes like a Harley. Steel toe CAT work boots are designed for activities like construction work. While on any given day the soles of those boots offer moderate traction for a biker, it only takes one interaction with a little bit of oil or uneven section of road where a biker could briefly lose his footing, and thus drop the bike. That’s why you have read on this blog over the years why I am such a big fan of Vibram 100 (“big lug”) soles. Like snow tires for the feet.

4. A guy will spend all sorts of money on bells & whistles for his Harley — new chrome, pipes, engine modifications, and toys & gadgets like GPS, bluetooth, CB radio, and so forth … but then invest less than US$100 on the very thing that could save his life and protect his ride from damage — motorcycle boots with an oil-resistant sole. Doesn’t make sense, but as the above story points out, it happens all too often. I’d rather spend US$450 on a pair of Wesco boots or $200 on a pair of Chippewa Firefighter boots than spend the same amount of money on something that may make my bike appear a little different from another guy’s Harley. You answer this question: what’s more important?

In summary, good boots are important. Not only for protection of the foot, but for grip on the road.

Life is short: wear lug-soled boots when riding. (and always wear a helmet!)

What To Wear When Riding a Harley Part II

A couple days ago, I began this short series of posts on this blog with a posting on “what to wear when riding a Harley.” I shared my observations that most guys who ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles dress the same way that other motorcycle riders do (for the most part… there are a few exceptions for motorcycle racers, dirt-bike riders, and kids who ride sport bikes), but I was referring to clothing and gear worn while operating a motorcycle on the street.As promised, this post is about what to wear on your feet when riding a Harley (or any other motorcycle.)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it from me before, but it bears repeating, loudly. Repeat after me:

Boots are for motorcycles
Sneakers are for the gym
Flip-flops are for the trash

…and let’s not even mention crocs… if there is a place in hell worse than where flip-flops should go, send the crocs there.

I will not repeat myself (too much) about why boots are so important for motorcycle riding. If you have missed my past posts on this topic, read this post to begin your education.

Q. What do Harley riders wear on their feet while riding?

A. Boots.

Q. Don’t some of them wear sneakers or sandals?

A. Yes, unfortunately, there remain some contenders for the Darwin Award. But real bikers don’t fool around and put things on their feet that provide no protection from losing traction and dropping the bike, or from injury.

Q. So what kind of boots do Harley riders wear?

A. Three types: harness boots, engineer boots, and tactical (or “shortie”) boots. Whatever boots they choose, they look for rugged, durable construction as well as soles that provide good traction.

Q. Do Harley riders wear boots with the Harley label on them?

A. Usually not because most of them have learned that Harley-labeled boots are made in China by machine process of poor materials and workmanship. The price for H-D boots is higher than comparable styles made in the USA, such as by Chippewa. Harley riders are usually rather savvy, and know value when they see it. That’s why the more seasoned (i.e., older) Harley riders do not wear Harley-branded boots.

Q. Don’t boots get hot?

>A. Cheap boots and boots that do not breathe may get hot. Good quality, well-fitted leather boots will not get hot if worn with good quality socks made of wool (to absorb sweat), cotton (to provide comfort), and nylon/rayon (to allow them to stretch over the foot, maintain shape, and not sag inside the boot when worn.)

Q. But really, I *want* to wear sneakers. I mean, that’s what I usually wear around the house.

A. Okay, okay, wear your sneakers. But get in your cage and drive to the gym. Remember mantra above: sneakers are for the gym — NOT for a Harley. Period!

Q. What is the most common style of motorcycle boot that Harley riders wear?

A. From observing what the guys who I ride with wear, they seem to be evenly divided between wearing harness boots and engineer boots, with a few tactical (short lace-up or zip-up) boots in the mix.

There you have it… what to wear (on your feet) when riding a Harley? BOOTS. No substitute. Boots perform as designed, serve a function to provide traction, look good, make YOU look cool, and provide value of durability that any other form of footwear can not provide.

Life is short: wear boots on your feet (and a helmet on your head) when riding a Harley.

What To Wear When Riding a Harley

Someone from Vermont, USA, searched, “What to wear when riding a Harley” and landed on this blog, but in a post that did not answer that question. This post will.

I ride a Harley, and I ride with other Harley riders and observe what they wear, too. So let me give you some suggestions from the point of view of a regular Harley rider who appreciates clothing that gives him freedom of movement as well as provides comfort and protection when he rides.

First-off, let me state that what Harley-Davidson motorcycle riders wear is no different from what any other motorcycle rider wears. Contrary to popular belief and internet-driven ubiquitous images, there is no single “Harley Rider Style.” It’s all about functional clothing and boots–no more, no less.

You may think that Harley riders choose Harley-branded “motorclothes” and boots. But the seasoned Harley owner knows that “HD” really means “hundred dollars” — the minimum additional mark-up for Harley-branded gear. While Harley-branded gear looks good, you can get equal or better quality vests, jackets, chaps, and boots from alternate sources at significantly less cost. One of my current favorites for excellent quality affordable biker gear is Fox Creek Leather of Roanoke, Virginia, USA.

Now, let me approach this question from a perspective of what the rider requires to enjoy his ride, not to “look good” or impress others. My perspective, therefore, is “function and comfort.”

Above all, whatever a rider of any make or model of motorcycle requires is clothing that allows him to move easily while operating the bike. Two major joints require unrestricted movement: the hips and shoulders. Non-riders would be amazed how much a motorcycle rider moves his hips, and it is not a kabuki dance. A rider frequently extends his legs straight down to maneuver the bike into a parking spot or at a stoplight. He swings his leg up and over the saddle while mounting or dismounting. He swings his body at the shoulders while mounting/dismounting, too, as well as uses his body through shoulder movement while countersteering, which is a primary method to control the bike while in motion.

Riders require jackets that allow freedom of movement in the shoulders. Descriptions such as “bi-action” are frequently used. Most good quality traditional motorcycle jackets are cut with ample room in the shoulders to allow free movement.

Ease-of-movement applies to a rider’s pants, too. While most riders wear regular denim jeans, it should be recognized that not all jeans are cut the same.

Designer and slim-fit jeans fit tightly in the crotch, which restricts hip movement. I saw a young dude who bought a Harley and was wearing designer jeans try to swing his leg over the saddle of his new ride and end up on his ass. He was not able to raise his leg high enough, kicked the bike, lost his balance, fell down, and became the butt of a lot of laughter. Designer jeans? Fuggetaboutit.

Best jeans: natural-rise, relaxed-fit Wranglers. Why Wranglers and not Levis? Wranglers have the rolled leg seam on the outside, while Levis have that thick seam on the inside. When the seam is on the inside, it can rub against the bike’s tank and eventually damage the paint, and cause some pain for the rider.

Some riders are secure and confident enough to wear leather jeans while riding. I do. However, I know from experience that some leather jeans have more room for hip movement than others. What do I choose? Those that allow hip movement, rather than fit tightly in the crotch. Yeah, you may see images on the ‘net of guys in tight leather jeans — but they are showing something else for other reasons. They are not true motorcyclists. Believe me, I know of what I am speaking!

Other riders have the knowledge (and perhaps courage) to wear motorcycle breeches like cops wear. Breeches are great, because they are specifically designed for motorcycle riding. They are made of material that stretches in the right places, has extra padding in the seat and thighs, and is durable. Breeches are designed to fit inside tall boots. Some guys fear wearing tall boots like that because they are too conscious about the opinion of other men and do not own the proper boots. Okay, fine… then wear jeans.

One other thing — what else do serious riders wear when riding a Harley (or any other motorcycle)? A helmet that has a DOT label on it. Seriously, riding without a helmet is stupid. Even in states where helmets are not required by law, the rider who knows that he is invisible to cage-drivers always, always wears a helmet.

There is much more to share about what to wear when riding a Harley or any other motorcycle. Click here for the next installment about — what else from ‘Booted Harleydude’ — Boots!

Life is short: choose comfort, form, and fit over style.

How My Heart Breaks

My partner’s health condition remains a mess. You would think that since we have a good idea what is causing his symptoms, he could receive appropriate treatment. Nope. Such is his life being caught between having a diagnosis with a condition that our Government considers “real” vs. a condition that our Government thinks does not exist. If a condition does not exist, then doctors are not allowed to provide a treatment. Bullshit!
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