I was looking at my handy-dandy website statistical analyzer data the other day, and I was intrigued but not surprised that four boot brands are the most frequently searched brands that drive visitors to this blog and my website. Wanna take a guess what those top four “most searched” brands are?
Okay, don’t guess. Here are the results:
1. Frye Boots
I receive more email and visitors to my website with interest and curiosity about vintage Frye boots. I guess I get so many hits from searches because I have a documented history of Frye boots on my website and images from Frye Boot catalogs posted there as well. I also describe how to tell if you have vintage Fryes, which many people want to determine.
Frye boots of yore were the most popular boots of the late ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, and kinda lost their mojo when style interests changed in the ’80s and beyond.
Then when the original John A. Frye Company sold out in 2003 and closed the plant in Massachusetts, the various holding companies that bought the name and logo ruined the brand (IMHO) and now boots made with the Frye label are nothing like they used to be. Most are made in China, but some Frye-labeled boots are still made by a non-union shop in Arkansas (U.S.) and some in Mexico. The country-of-origin changes sometimes by where the Chinese owner (Li & Fung) gets the lowest bid for the product they are requesting to be produced.
Many Baby Boomers wore and remain very fond of vintage Frye boots. Like me, they remember wearing Fryes during their first dates, doing antics in high school, and so on. Boomers’ feet back when they were in their teens and 20s could wear Fryes endlessly, and many did.
Nowadays, as two things happened — Boomers’ feet got less flexible and the insides of old Fryes dried out and got harder — good ol’ Fryes are much more difficult to wear without the ol’ feet hurting. But back in the day, I wore them every day, walked miles in high school and college, and never thought a thing about it.
The most frequent questions I am asked about vintage Frye boots is to determine value and authenticity. I am not an expert; I am just a fan. Your guess as to value is as good as mine. My usual response is that people generally are fickle and don’t want to pay that much for used boots — no matter the nostalgic value. That’s why I don’t buy them, either. I have plenty of my own, thanks.
As for authenticity — the post on the boot wiki addresses that, but I can help clarify if needed.
Not a surprise searches for information about Chippewa boots lands on my website. As of the date of this post, I own 28 pairs of Chippewa-branded boots.
Why so many? I have several reasons: they are made in the USA; they are reasonably priced; they come in styles that I like to wear (motorcycle, cowboy/work, hiker, and logger); and you can price compare to get really good pricing on a boot of particular interest.
I have frequently claimed that Chippewa firefighter boots are the best for motorcycle riding. I still stick by that statement. While I often choose other boots to wear, when I want a “go-to” boot that is comfortable, classic, durable, and is easy to wear (even for walking), I choose Firefighters first.
Chippewa engineer boots are classics, as are their harness boots. Their loggers are rugged, durable, and waterproof. The only downside of Chippewa boots is that some styles go through spells of unavailability for months. For example, the 12-inch black harness boots were unavailable most of 2014. I still can’t find their all-leather brown brothers except in size 7D. Chippewa says that “production droughts” are due to unavailability of leather that meets their specs. Frankly, I’m glad they enforce some type of standard, or who knows quite what would result?
3. Wesco boots
Wesco boots are quite popular among the knowledgable boot crowd, and I have owned and worn them for years. I admit, though, as my feet have gotten older (certainly, not the rest of my body!), wearing tall, heavy, lug-soled Wesco boots for long days of motorcycle riding is much harder to do. The heft and weight of the boots makes them difficult wear if you have to walk more than from a parking lot to a restaurant.
I love the look and style of Wesco boots. Their durability is unmatched — those boots will last many lifetimes for several owners. Unfortunately, I cannot wear them all day like I did when I was in my 30s. My feet get sore and tired. I prefer lighter-weight boots when I will be out on my Harley all day, or walking more than a couple hundred feet.
If you are looking for a boot that can “take it,” from riding a motorcycle to working on the front lines of a fire to muddin’ to Bamaboy’s standards, Wesco boots can’t be beat.
Lots of guys, regardless of whether he is a real cop or appreciator of the look and style of cop boots, enjoy wearing police-style boots.
The most frequent questions that I have received have been whether someone who is not a cop can purchase and wear boots like Dehners. Answer: yes, no problem. Just don’t pull on a uniform and a Deputy Dawg badge and go out in public “arresting” people. It’s not the boots that real cops mind you wearing, it is what you do when in them.
Do what I do — ride a motorcycle with breeches and the boots, but don’t wear a uniform or play “pretend cop.” There really is nothing quite like the classic design of an equestrian style tall patrol boot with breeches to wear when riding a motorcycle.
Those boots also work very well with old Guard Leatherman attire, or “BLUF” wear. Tall patrol boots with leather add to the commanding appearance of a Leatherman. I guess I first got into Dehners back in the days when my spouse (then partner) and I occasionally went out to leather bars and attended a few leather events.
Nowadays as a “retired” Leatherman, I wear those boots with leather and/or breeches when I ride my Harley.
The most frequent questions I get about those boots besides queries about “legally” wearing them is how to repair old stock Dehners whose shafts were made from synthetic material they call “Dehcord.” Unfortunately, if you have old Dehners that have cracked and show white where the cracks are, that damage cannot be repaired. The damage is to plastic — not leather. No repair is possible.
Thanks for this visit down “most visited boots on BHD’s website” lane.
Life is short: wear boots! With leather, breeches, jeans, or whatever… just wear ’em!