My engagement with the internet boot world began with This was a website that Larry Kenney and his (then partner, later husband) Bill created on March 3, 1997, at the early stages when the internet was just beginning to be available. Larry and Bill were pioneers in developing websites, this one being the premier site for men into boots. This is the introduction from an early page of the site written by Larry:

This is the web site for the man who loves BOOTS . . .the man who enjoys wearing them for work and for play . . . and who likes to look at ’em and talk about ’em, too!

These pages are designed primarily to entertain and inform bootmen, but everyone is welcome to come on in, look around and enjoy whatever interests them.

This site was started on March 3, 1997, and it has been growing continuously since then. It’s a labor of love for me, and it’s a great way to combine my boot fetish with my interest in computers and the internet.

I first found this site in 2000 and like many other guys, was a “lurker” for years.

Back then, I worked in a job where I hid my sexual identity as a gay man in the closet for fear of what homophobic superiors might do if they found out. When I left that job in 2004, I was more free to “come out.” That’s when I became more active on hotboots. meant a lot to me in my early “coming-out as a gay bootman” process. Through this site and the people I met, I…

… enjoyed a special camaraderie with other guys into boots. I realized I was not alone in my enthusiasm for boots.

I have met some great people through that site, some with whom I remain connected to this day. I made some strong friendships and have met & visited with some of them. I regret that a few friends I made via hotboots disconnected for reasons of their own that puzzled me.

One of the best things that came from was getting to know Larry and Bill.

Bill was a genius when it came to all-things-internet. He truly built what hotboots became — a real method of conversing and sharing information and pictures with other men into boots, especially via the “Boots OnLine” chat board. Man, back in the day (2004 to about 2012), I posted frequently and developed quite a following.

When I visited San Francisco for work (or vacation), I would enjoy meals with Larry, Bill, and other SFO-based Bootmen.

I contributed to by working with my friend “Bootpup” to write two tutorials — an explanation of boot terminology and a visual description of the different styles of boots. Many photos from my boot collection appeared in that visual tutorial.

I was proud of that. Larry occasionally would share data with me on the vast number of visitors to those tutorial pages. It was amazing to me that those simple pages attracted so many visits.

For a while, I also served as a moderator for “Boots on Line” and “Boots for Sale.” The moderator’s job was to ensure compliance with BOL policies — no negativity or rudeness, and no more than 4 posts by any one person per day, and for the sales site, rolling off posts for boots after a given expiration period or for boots that had been sold.

However, I regret that I ran afoul of serving as a moderator because my own poor choice of behavior for correcting grammar and spelling. I shouldn’t have done that. When I was called out for it, instead of apologizing, I quit.

I regret that decision. This was a demonstration that I got on the wrong side of being reasonable. Oh well, what was done was done. Later, Larry and Bill accepted my apology, but we decided it was probably better that I lay off for their, and my, peace.

Through many emails and conversations with Bill, I learned a lot about website coding (that is, real “raw coding” via HTML). I developed my own website in 2005 as a method to display my own boot (and later leather) collections. Bill taught me all about web hosting, web coding, and many other technical details for which I remain forever grateful. (That was long before “you can YouTube it” became a thing.)

As my personal life changed and by being selected to serve in a national leadership position in my last career job, I became less active with hotboots. I could not (and would not try) to access hotboots from my work site during work time. That left little time to use it after hours and on weekends.

Plus, my personal website took most of my free time (outside of caring for my husband). I decided to focus my attention on my website and this blog. That left little time to engage on hotboots.

By the way, my website was never developed to compete with hotboots; rather, some would say it complemented the site. Hotboots provided an interactive forum for like-minded men to share information. The website was my way of displaying my boot and leather gear collections, and later provided more information through some tutorials of my own and boot reviews, but it never had any interactive software built into it.

Bill and Larry had a legacy plan for They transferred ownership to a Board of Trustees, many of whom I knew. That Board (or “crew”) worked hard to maintain the site’s operations. However, when participating on the “Boots OnLine” board required a sign-up due to software changes required for a site upgrade, for some reason I could never get it to work. That’s when I stopped participating altogether.

I commend the Board for trying to keep that site going during their tenure.

However, as times change, a static website becomes more of a legacy artifact than what younger mobile device users find interesting or useful today. I surmise that the visitor traffic for had waned, much like visitors to have waned.

Larry informed me that a last-ditch funding appeal (that I never saw) to keep going was made, but the appeal did not attract sufficient support. Reluctantly, the decision was made to shut down in July, 2023. Hotboots is now available only as a Facebook group. Booted Harleydude does not have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or other social media presence, so I will not participate that way.

This is sad, but I am among those who probably contributed to the demise of I haven’t visited that website in a long time. I’m sure I am not the only one.

Still, I feel that the shutdown of is somewhat like the death of an old friend with whom you’ve lost touch. Today, I removed probably over 100 link-backs to hotboots from this blog and my website. That was tough, but showed how much I promoted and interacted with that site.

I would like to thank Larry for his dedication to, for his friendship, and commitment to us as a “Bootman Community.” He is a wonderful man who I sincerely commend, appreciate, and with whom I enjoy an ongoing friendship.

Now, who’da thunk that would be among the lasting legacy artifact boot-related websites around? No worries, as far as I know, I plan to maintain it. It is quite the hobby, but remains fun to me. (After I die, it will just go away, but like, will be available on the “wayback machine” internet archives. Further, Larry informed me that the legacy data for was donated to the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago for research purposes.)

Life is short: pay tribute to a major player in what contributed to your alter-ego and his interests.

5 thoughts on “Tribute:

  1. Oh man, this website taught me so much when I was younger. Really taught me the ropes on what I was looking for.

  2. The weight of the world was lifted when I found (and bootedbear’s website) until then I had no idea other men were into boots like I was.

    I’ve been lucky enough to have met a few hotboots men – including having a beer with Larry in boots.

  3. Thank you BHD for this tribute.
    I loved hotboots bulleting board and used to post from time to time.
    Thank you Larry and Bill, for your website, it was great to participate and get to know like minded men.

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