New Frye Boots Are CRAP!

Fryecrap1I admit, I fell for some marketing from a well-regarded high-end store, Nieman Marcus. In connection with an airline frequent flier program, if I bought something from that store, I would get 10x the purchase price in frequent flier miles. So I thought, what the heck? Do they have boots? Yes! Frye Boots!

But the story gets worse…

The images of the boots on the store’s website looked decent, but what caught my attention was a significant markdown in price — from the absurd $328 MSRP to $80. And they also said that the boots were made in the USA–not Mexico or “imported” from goodness knows where. Yes! $80 for a pair of USA-made Frye harness boots? How bad could they be?

The purchase was delivered reasonably quickly, with no delivery charge.

I looked at the cool Frye box, marked as I remember it from the good ol’ days of the 70s and 80s when I bought a number of pairs.

I was shocked when I tried on the boots, first the right boot, then the right boot…

Woops… another right boot? What’s with that? This store actually sent me two right boots. No left. Really? For a store that boasts quality and customer service, this was just nuts.

Fryecrap2Then I took a much closer look at the boots. I am really disgusted with the obvious lack of quality. The boots are not lined like real Frye boots that were made by the real John A. Frye Shoe Company when it was in Massachusetts. The soles are single stitched. The leather is really thin and cheap — so when it said inside the boot “made in USA of U.S. and imported parts,” I can affirm that the “imported parts” are the leather. The leather is exceptionally poor, thin, and smells of some chemical — not leather. It stinks.

For a guy who knows his boots — with some 230 pairs of boots in my current active inventory, with a dozen of them being “real Fryes” (not today’s fakes) — I know a thing or two about boot construction, leather, and quality. These new Fryes have none of that.

I knew that Frye boots took a downturn when the company closed and the name was bought and transferred through a number of holding companies until it ended up with Li & Fung of China, but I really had no idea how absolutely awful their product with such a well-regarded name had degraded.

Let me make it perfectly clear: DO NOT BUY FRYE BOOTS! They are awful. You will be extremely disappointed. THEY ARE CRAP!

Fryecrap3Nieman Marcus should be ashamed with such poor quality crap being in their inventory. Perhaps that is why they are selling them at such cut-rate prices, to get rid of inventory.

Okay, rant over. Lesson learned. Boots returned (the return experience was actually quite easy to arrange, thankfully. At least Nieman Marcus’ customer service remains top-notch).

Main lesson: do not be tricked by a fantastically low price that a pair of name-brand boots are any good. And however these boots qualify to have a “made in USA” label is probably by some near-form of squeaking by on the regulations. These boots really are NOT made with quality USA materials or by quality craftsman. Just low-wage workers in some undisclosed hellhole.

Life is short: don’t buy Frye boots that were not manufactured by the real John A. Frye shoe company of Massachusetts, even if marked “made in the USA.”

10 thoughts on “New Frye Boots Are CRAP!

  1. Wow. It is very rare for you to BOLD text in your blog.

    You must really mean it that new Fryes are CRAP!

  2. I just purchased a pair of Frye Duke Ropers and they are lined inside, all leather, stitched and nailed no glue. Mine are top quality as I remember them from the old days. Sounds like you have imposters.

    • Good to know that at least one style of boots with the Frye label are okay. No, my boots were not imposters. Mine were (before returning them) definitely the current version of Frye harness boots. They were made to exceptionally low standards of cheap quality and poor construction, and were nothing like my old original Fryes made by the real “John A. Frye” Company when it was in Massachusetts, before closing and the name being bought out by holding companies making money off the label for unsuspecting people not aware of this awful switch.

  3. To continue the saga… I started a little research because I am loving my Frye boots so much, it hurts me to think they are downgrading. Here is what I have found thus far. Seems there are a lot of counterfeiters out there even under brand names such as “Frye Boot Nordstrom”. That is a counterfeit website that is selling the junk. There are a ton of these online retailers selling the fake product. I also wanted to point out what Frye says about this on their website:

    “If you have searched online for Frye products, then you may already have been exposed to the many sites that are currently advertising counterfeit Frye products using such phrases as “frye boots clearance,” “frye boots sale,” “frye boots outlet” and “discount frye.”

    While these websites may use the Frye brand name and have the look and feel of our main website,, they are illegal sites and any Frye product that they offer for sale is counterfeit. In some cases, these sites have dynamically pulled content from our main site, used various redirects, claimed 40% discounts and one even claimed “©2012, Inc. All rights reserved.”

    [Editorial note from BHD: Londy listed a number of websites that claim to be selling genuine Frye boots. I deleted the list because I do not want anyone to visit spurious websites linked from this blog. I do not want to drive business, even web visits, to frauds. But I also stand by the content of this original blog post — I recently ordered and returned a pair of genuine Frye harness boots because their construction and quality were dismal garbage when compared with authentic Fryes made by the original, one-and-only, John A. Frye Company of Marlborough, Massachusetts, when that company was in business between 1868 and 2003.]

    • The term “best” is relative, but you asked specifically about a “hand-made” boot manufacturer in the USA. In that specific case, I lean toward the West Coast Shoe Company (Wesco for short) as my personal selection, based on my experience, for the “best” hand-made US-based boot manufacturer. Perhaps not what you were expecting?

      • Oh, I have no idea really. Just wanted an opinion on manufacturers in the USA that still make high quality. Also, in terms of hand-made, that would mean there are still machines in use but humans are still doing the labor.

          • WOW, but custom boots are waaaay too expensive. They do not have much in stock for cowboy boots. They want to be a custom maker, which is great but sadly not affordable for most. 🙁

          • Well, you asked me to state my opinion on the “best hand-made” bootmaker, but did not specify the type of boot. For cowboy boots, I like Black Jack boots, which are hand-made with machines and are semi-customizable, but not fully custom. You can, for example, choose heel and toe types, and some color and inlay variations. The owners of this company and many of their boot makers came from Lucchese Boot Company, almost across the street in El Paso, Texas. Since these are commercial limited quantity but mass-production boots, they are more affordable than Wesco boots.

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