Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Joy of Leather Boots

Back over 20, almost 25 years ago I wandered into a shoe store. They had dozens of pairs of leather boots, 10" or 12" leather boots. All the same brand, all the same style, all the same size. Delivered by mistake, and rather than return them, they were selling these boots off for a fraction of the price. Just so happened they were my size. I clenched my teeth (I was poor at that time) and bought a pair.

Beautiful boots. Wonderful boots! Sturdily made, top quality. I wore those leather boots day in and day out for must've been 15 years. Had them resoled several times: used to take them to a Ukrainian cobbler in a small metal quonset hut. I loved those leather boots! In hindsight my only regret was that I hadn't bought more than one pair when I had the chance.

But the day did come when those boots went the way of all things. My next few pairs of leather boots were lesser creatures. By this time I could afford boots without finding them on sale, but I scrimped and I was stingy and I got cheap boots that lasted a few years apiece. Finally ended up with a pair of leather boots that lasted me scarcely a year, and weren't worth fixing.

So I took the plunge and got a pair of Frye boots. Yeah, Frye, they've been in business since 1863, their boots were worn by Union and Confederate soldiers in the Civil War. At first I flinched at the price, but concluded that you get what you pay for. I've had these boots now a couple of years (Men's 12" Campus boots), recently got them resoled at Mr. Shoe Repair Man's in town, and at the rate they're going, these boots are going to last me forever.

I mean, they are beautiful and beautifully made sturdy last-forever leather boots. The older I get, the more I conclude: look for quality and take a stand against planned obsolescence. What ever happened to the days when a gentleman had a single pair of quality leather boots which lasted him for life? Well, I can tell you, those days are alive and well here in this remote corner of God's green earth.

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