So you’re surfing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales on boots, seeing what great deals are out there. You see a pair of rugged, masculine-looking boots that carry the brand name of an American Icon.You look closer at the enlarged image of these handsome-looking boots:You can hardly believe the low price and there’s more!
Buy buying today (and by trick of great marketing and sales promotions), you can save even more — 20%, 25%, 30%! Wow! What a deal! You reveal the magic code for the sale savings, and think, “man, great boots at a terrific low price!”
Fortunately, before you decided to purchase these boots, you scrolled through for more information about the boots. Then you saw this:Hmmm… what’s that?
Harley-Davidson — an American Icon brand name — boots are MADE IN CHINA! WTF??? And “cemented construction”? What’s that about? (That means that the soles are glued on. Glued soles cannot be resoled by a cobbler, and frequently the glue looses adhesion and the soles break apart or fall off.) Can you spell c-r-a-p?
Yep, you have heard it here on this blog before: the motor company’s “motorclothes” division contracts with third-party manufacturers to make boots with their brand name at the lowest cost vendor available, which these days is in China. The boots are made by any company that has the robots and machinery, along with cheap labor, to do so. That company could have been making flip-flops or crocs before they got the contract from Harley to make cheap boots.
Is Harley a sell-out? That is, they wrap themselves in the American Flag when marketing their motorcycles. Why have boots (and other products) made by cheap Chinese vendors?
It really isn’t the Motor Company’s fault. It is the guys who are a billboard for the brand, and yet are cheap. Many Harley owners (and I know a lot of them that fit this category) don’t think a thing of spending thousands on chrome, bling, and the latest electronics for their bike, but won’t spend much on the gear to wear when they ride. Most guys don’t give a darn or know much about quality boots. They see the brand name, and are fooled to believe that if “Harley makes it, it must be as good as their bikes.” Not so.
And to top it off, you read the reviews:Again, don’t be fooled by the “star ratings” which are simply choices made by the rater who is not a qualified professional evaluator.
In this case, both reviewers indicate that this particular pair of boots runs large, and they imply that all Harley-Davidson boots have that problem. I can’t say that is true, but from the reviews about this pair of boots, that may be the case. What this indicates is that the low-bid cheap Chinese vendor that Harley contracted with to make the boots does not really know American foot sizing, and uses lasts (forms) to build the boots that do not conform to any typical American standard for foot sizing.
All-in-all, the old adage applies, “you get what you pay for.”
Sure, if you want a cheap pair of boots that may last a year or two, go for it.
But if you are a guy who wants rugged boots that will hold up to the rigors of operating a heavyweight motorcycle, then consider boots from USA-made (or Canadian-made) brands. Personally, in the “affordable biker boot” category, I prefer Chippewa. There are many other brands made in the USA or Canada. The point is: check for sourcing before buying so you don’t get fooled by a company using its American icon brand name to license crap made by cheap Chinese companies.
Life is short: be smart and do your homework before buying!