I received an email from a regular reader of this blog who said, “I would love for you to talk about how your love for boots has changed over the years, from childhood to now.”
Well, okay… it is rather boring, but I’ll bite…
…first of all, I “love” my husband and my family, but not inanimate objects like boots. I enjoy wearing boots, but I really can’t say that I “love” them. Love is a human emotion reserved for passion with people important in our lives.
But yes, my perspective on boots has changed over time.
When I was a kid in Oklahoma, I wore cowboy boots because men I admired and looked up to wore that style of boot. My father never wore boots, but men who worked on the horse ranch did. Real working cowboys were role models of sorts.
When I was a teen back in Maryland, I continued to wear cowboy boots because that made me different. No longer a kid in silly shoes or sneakers. I became known as “that guy who always wears boots.” Wearing boots became ingrained in my identity.
In high school, like a lot of other guys back then (1970s), I wore Frye boots. Those boots were the rage and highly coveted among the “cool guys.” I never was a “cool guy,” but I sure enjoyed hearing the solid “boot clunk” of my Frye harness and campus boots on the tile-floored high school hallways.
In college, my feet were young and resilient. I could wear Fryes, cowboy boots, and any kind of boot for 20-hour days without feeling any pain. I could (and DID) walk miles and miles across campus to classes, to the Student Union where I had a part-time job and served in student leadership elected office, to my fraternity meetings, to the “other side of the tracks” where I worked part-time in the maintenance department, and so on. Booted all the way, all the time.
Also whilst in college, I bought my first motorcycle and I began to select and wear motorcycle boots. I learned then how important it was to have a boot with a rubber sole, preferably a sole with grip on pavement. Lug soles became my friends.
Right after college, I bought my first house and it required major repair and renovation. I looked around at the feet of men I worked with in the campus maintenance department and bought my first pair of work boots. I don’t remember what brand they were. I just remember that they protected my feet while doing physical labor from replacing the roof to installing new plumbing and electrical systems, and demolished the old, installed the new (everything.)
Throughout my 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, my boot choices remained fairly stable among styles (cowboy, motorcycle, and work) while my boot collection grew. I liked new and different colors, textures, skins, and designs. During the 80s to 2000s, boot manufacturers made exotic skins more affordable (through farming techniques) and made it acceptable for men to wear boots of colors more than black or brown, or designs more than a different stitching pattern on the shaft. Inlays, outlays, and other 3-dimensional design patterns (especially on cowboy boots) were seen more often on secure, confident men.
Yay! No longer was it considered to choose boots of various colors, designs, textures, skins, and patterns to be a “woman-only” thing. I would also include higher heeled men’s boots becoming more acceptable, too; however, because I am the world’s number 1 awkward, ungraceful klutz, I can’t wear high-heeled boots without tripping and falling regularly.
Now that I am in the sixth decade circling the sun, I have to admit that my feet tire more quickly and they are not nearly as resilient as they once were. No longer could I walk across my old college campus at the pace, speed, and distances that I did 40 years ago.
These days, during the week, I choose one pair of dressy boots to wear to work. When I get home, I have two choices — if I am not going anywhere, then the boots come off and I pad around the rest of the night in socks. If I am going somewhere (like to a meeting), I will choose another pair of boots with more casual clothing.
If I will ride my Harley to go to an after-work meeting, then of course I choose motorcycle boots. If I will drive my cage, I select cowboy boots.
Other changes with age? I may choose to wear shorter dress boots from time to time in the office. Not a big deal, but a little different.
Decision on boots not to wear change too.
I no longer choose to wear tall Wesco boots. Those boots look great, but are just too damn heavy and tire out my feet. I also no longer wear Frye boots, because my old vintage Fryes from yesteryear do not fit me. I probably, subconsciously, have given up wearing some other boots that I don’t really remember, but hurt my feet because the footbeds have hardened with age and the boots feel uncomfortable after a short wear.
So this is my rather boring little story about how my perspectives on boots has changed over time.
Life is short: wear boots through life.