Saturday, October 30, 2010
I have worn Frye (brand) boots since I was 13 years old... ahem, a "few" years ago ... like 40 years. Back then, Frye boots were the coolest boots to wear. They had taller than usual heels, and made a boot clunk sound like none other.
These boots are highly valued by collectors, and many pairs of these boots appear on eBay and Craigslist with claims of being "vintage." True "vintage" Frye boots were made in the USA and the claim "vintage" is for a pair of boots made in the 1950s, 60s, or 70s, featuring heel height and label described below. Vintage Fryes were made of entirely US-obtained materials, including the leather. They were mostly machine-produced, but the process at their facility in Marlborough, Massachusetts, required a lot of hand-labor throughout the bootmaking process.
Update: Information on how to distinguish vintage Frye boots from modern-day Frye-labeled boots is here on the Boots Wiki.
If you come upon a sale or auction of "Vintage Frye Boots," how do you determine if the claim of the boots being "vintage" is valid? There are three major things to look for:
While looking at the label, look at the printing under it. Does it say, "Made in the USA" only? Or "Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts?" The latter is a clear give-away that the boots are not vintage.
3) look for the brand logo on the heel. If there is no brand logo stamped into it or if there is the word "Frye" in letters stamped onto the heel, then the boots were made in the 70s or before.
More information on the history of Frye Boots is on the Boots Wiki, here.
If you're looking for true vintage Frye boots, I hope this information is helpful to you, so you don't mistakenly bid up the price of a pair of Frye boots that are not of vintage standards and quality.
Life is short: know your Fryes!