Boot Influencing for an Office Professional

I am pleased to report that I have influenced a guy to buy a pair of boots to wear with dress clothes to the office — in Washington, DC! Here is his message, reproduced with permission:

Dear BHD,

I have been following your weekly blogs about wearing boots to work. You have a great boot collection that gives you many choices!

Me–not the case. I haven’t worn boots in my adult life, but got interested to wear boots again when I celebrated my 40th birthday a few weeks ago.

I found your blog through some research I was doing about whether or not I could or should wear boots to work. I first found your “boot how-to” page which led me to your blog.

I work in the offices of a large private company located in the business core of Washington, DC. I’ve worked here for 15 years. I have been doing well with occasional promotions. I settled down, married, and have two kids. We live probably close to you in the Maryland suburbs.

People at the office are used to seeing me in the usual — what you call “clone” clothes — dress shirt, tie, slacks, and dress shoes. My big foray into fashion sometimes is to wear a more colorful tie or change the color and style of my shoes from black oxfords to brown wingtips.

I grew up in a small town in the Midwest and had a few pairs of boots that I wore in high school school and at summer and after-school jobs. But then I went to college in the big city and after graduating, I followed the advice of counselors and “dressed for success.” I ditched the comfortable boots for dress shoes when I went to work. Everyone told me that “you don’t wear boots with dress clothing” or “a man doesn’t wear boots if he wants a promotion” or “boots are for construction sites–they don’t belong in an office.”

I’ve missed the boots.

I was worried though about wearing boots to the office. I mean, my co-workers haven’t seen me in boots — ever. What would the reactions be? Would the boss look on me with disdain? Would my staff (direct reports) think the boss has lost it? Would the boots look weird with dress clothes? And I didn’t have any boots anyway.

Then I read your blog, saw the photos on your website, and thought to myself, “let’s order a pair of boots.” But being a married guy, I actually asked the wife. Her reaction, “what in the world? Are you going through a mid-life crisis?” But we worked it out. The boots were ordered.

DPblackBut not to do anything irrational, I ordered traditional plain black cowboy boots with a rounded toe. Nothing fancy, pointed, or with kickin’ heels. I liked the style of Dan Post boots, and the price was right. I thought, “why buy really expensive boots if I decide I don’t want to wear them?”

The boots arrived last week. I pulled them on and thought to myself, “I forgot how great boots feel!”

The next morning as I dressed for work, I had some serious second-thoughts, but remembered what you said on your blog, “man-up and pull your boots on!” I found myself standing a bit taller, and felt more confident. I can’t explain why I reacted that way, but I did.

I wore my new boots with a pair of navy slacks, dress shirt, dark blue tie and a sportcoat. Drove to the Metro and stepped aboard the train. I was looking around to see if anyone noticed the boots. No one did.

I walked two blocks to my building, stopped for coffee, and as I got onto the elevator, the boss got on with me. He looked me up and down — his usual practice — but didn’t say anything about the boots. Instead, he asked me about a project I was working on.

Not much happened throughout the day. I went to some meetings, out for lunch, and to the cube farm where my staff have desks.

The only time anyone said anything about the boots was as I was leaving — the receptionist said, “those boots look good on you!” and gave me a smile.

Okay, I learned a lesson. I agree with what you have said — my concerns, fears, and worry were all self-imposed. Even in (as you say) “stuffy old DC,” no one said anything about my boots.

Well, until I got home and my son said to his friend, “my dad’s wearing cool new boots!”

I admit — these boots are more comfortable than some of my dress shoes! I am seriously considering getting a second pair of boots soon.

Thanks for your inspiration!


BHD closing note: Jeff says it all. Concerns about wearing traditional cowboy boots to work in a professional office? It’s all in your head.

Life is short: Man-up and pull your boots on.

7 thoughts on “Boot Influencing for an Office Professional

  1. Way to go Jeff! I warn you, they’re like Lays potato chips…you won’t be able to stop at just one pair!


  2. Congrats, Jeff. I’m proud of you too. My story is very similar to yours, although I work in a school and not an office. I had one pair of boots in high school – back when they were “in” – and loved them. Perhaps because it took so long for me to get up the courage to ask for a pair for Christmas, I have had an enduring love for boots. I put them away and grew up. About 3 years ago, I saw them in my closet and put them on. Well, I have about 35 pairs now and wear boots every day. My wife thinks I’m a bit nutty, but oh, well.

    Do I wear them to work? Heck, yes. Did it take me a lot of courage to wear them the first few times? Yes. Did the kids say anything? A few did. Teachers? A couple, but only friends. Now no one says a thing.

    Be happy and stay booted. Just stay off ebay or you will end up with 35 pairs like me.

    Again, congratulations, Jeff. Happy trails.

    (and where’s your horse? — ha ha.)

  3. Oh, and another thought. I agree totally. Boots are FAR more comfortable than dr#@# sh@#$ and sn@#$#@s.

  4. I understand the apprehensions about wearing boots in the work place. After all, you can’t go to the local mall and see them in a shoe store and buy a pair so you feel awkward about wearing unconventional footwear. There was a time when every major city had a Western store, but they have all disappeared. Unless you live in cowboy country, you have to purchase boots online and hope they fit.

    I worked as an independent contractor so I didn’t worry about what my boss thought about me wearing boots. I wore Justin Roper boots which have a very conservative look and would pass off as dress shoes unless someone paid particular attention.

    I travel a fair amount which means walking long distances in airport terminals. I wear Justin’s 3170 Black Melo Veal with office attire. Just do a web search and you’ll find them. Padded insole and Nitrile outsole make them very comfortable. Easy to take off and put on while clearing security. I hate tying shoe laces.

    Occasionally, I receive compliments from security staff about the “nice boots.” I once had a man come up to me and complimented my boots while I was seated at the counter in a diner. He asked me where he could get a pair. I explained that these days you pretty much have to buy them online and he did not have the confidence to make a purchase without trying them on first. I told him that most online sites would be happy to exchange them, but you have to bear the additional shipping cost. I don’t know if he found the courage to get himself a pair.

    The internet has made information widely available and I discovered Dehner Patrol Boots. BHD’s web pages also give plenty of information about them and I finally bought a pair a few years ago. With pants or jeans over them, they look no different than Roper boots. I don’t ride, but I enjoy wearing them.

    As BHD mentioned, Dehners hug your legs like no other boots and it feels good. When the boots are broken in, my feet are happy and I’m very contented. Only problem is they don’t come off so easily and it takes some effort to put them on, so wearing them at the airport is not practical.

    To all who have longed for, and held back on wearing boots, go ahead and get a pair and enjoy them. I doubt you’ll regret the experience and you won’t realize what you have missed out on. Walk tall with confidence.

    Just make sure they are made in the USA. Ask if you are not sure. The lower priced imported boots don’t measure up. Ask me how I know.

    For casual wear, I have Justin work boots and Chippewa Engineer & Harness boots. Very happy with them.

    My gratitude to BHD who has presented exhaustive information about boots. Follow his advice and instructions on breaking in boots you you will not have regrets.

    Boot up and be happy.

  5. I got into western boots when I took a ranch vacation – we had to buy them for riding. I couldn’t fit them in my luggage so I had to wear them on the plane for the first time since I bought them. I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were. I wore them the whole trip and they even became a casual Friday fixture at work.

    Of course, soon I wanted a pair for everyday use but I was also apprehensive about wearing mine into the office as a regular occurrence. I took the plunge on a pair of Dan Post dress boots and they’re just so much more cooler, comfortable and better looking than dress shoes. Most people don’t notice, but when they do all I’ve had are compliments. (Don’t tell the wife, but another two pair are in the mail!)

    I do some web work in my spare time so I know how much work it is to create and maintain a site. Your website was invaluable in helping me find the right pair, look, and style for my situation and I visit regularly just to admire some of the really nice boots you have.

    Thank you
    Marc from Toronto

    • Thanks for your great comment, Marc. I sincerely appreciate the remark about how my website has been helpful to you. Thanks!

      Enjoy your boots and being the confident man that they present you to be!

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