Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cowboy Boots for School

It is (or has been) back-to-school time. Traffic is heavier as all the families with children have returned from summer vacations and school buses are back on the roads.

Over the last week or so, I have noticed that some people from high schools (that's what their servers show) have entered into a search engine, "Can you wear cowboy boots to school?" or "is it cool to wear cowboy boots to school?" or "How can I wear cowboy boots to school."

I won't bother correcting the English -- of course you "can" wear cowboy boots "to" school but the real questions remain, "do you want to wear them all day while in school?" as well as how you perceive what others may think about you wearing cowboy boots.

Here's the deal -- second issue first.

High school students continue to be exceptionally concerned with the clothes that they wear, including footwear. They notice what other classmates are wearing and usually choose to wear what is popular and considered the current style. Seldom (while there is a lot of talk about it), high school students cannot assert independent choices in the matter of clothing and footwear. They get all wrapped up in worrying about what other people will think of them.

Consider this a lesson of high school: as you become older and more mature, you will learn that worrying about current fashion and style, as well as what other people think about what you are wearing, is kiddie stuff. Seriously, it really doesn't matter.

Now, on the matter of whether you want to wear cowboy boots all day while in school -- that has a lot to do with how far you have to walk and how much you have to stand. Generally, well-made cowboy boots have well-constructed footbeds and insoles, meaning that they are comfortable to walk in and to stand in, such as in lines for various things. But walking miles in cowboy boots or standing for hours can take its toll on your feet. Consider that.

Also, let me warn you -- pay less than US$100 for a pair of cowboy boots, and you probably will be very sorry about buying them. Cheap boots are usually very uncomfortable. They are usually made in China by machine, assembled with glue instead of stitching, and the materials and craftsmanship are awful. You'll be sorry -- so if you can't afford to get a decent pair of cowboy boots on the entry-level (US$150 - $200), such as made by Justin, Dan Post, or Tony Lama, for example, then continue wearing sneakers.

A lot of guys choose roper-style cowboy boots, rather than traditional 13" cowboy boots. And that's of any age, not just younger guys. Personally, I'm old-fashioned and like the traditional cowboy boots instead of ropers, but that is a personal opinion and is not a reflection on the style of boot itself.

When I was in high school, I wore boots every day (except in gym class, when I had to wear sneakers.) That was back in the '70s, so the most popular boot style for guys was Frye harness or campus boots. But I also switched out and wore several pairs of cowboy boots throughout my high school years.

I admit, sometimes some other kids would make a wisecrack. At first I was way too sensitive and their comments hurt my feelings. Kids can be very cruel to each other. But I continued to wear boots because I liked them. Eventually my classmates stopped making wisecracks and remarks because I stopped responding to them. Plus, at least in the 70s, Frye boots were the "cool boots" to wear, and lots of other guys were wearing them.

These days, particularly on the U.S. East Coast where I live, few high school boys wear boots. But I have noticed at least one exception -- a student who lives down the street from me. I have seen him wear cowboy boots to school a lot -- I see him as he is walking home while I am returning from work. Sometimes I stop and give him a ride, particularly in bad weather. He has asked me about boots and told me that he likes to wear them. He thinks his classmates give a nod of approval, because he said that others have called the boots "cool." He also said that a few of his friends have begun to wear boots to school because he started the trend. Good for him!

In summary, some independent-minded, free-spirited, "I could-care-less-what-others-think" guys will choose to wear cowboy boots to school. I just recommend that if you do that, get good quality boots so they will be comfortable. I think you will be pleased at the compliments you'll get from others by wearing boots to school.

Life is short: wear boots!


Anonymous said...

Developing the courage to overcome doubts and perceptions of others grows over time. I like to think of it almost as a living and breathing part of each of us. And, like any living thing, the more we feed and nurture it, the larger it grows. I like to think that the courage it took for me to consistently wear my boots so many years ago paved the way for me to have the courage to confront more challenging aspects of life.


onlybootedmanintown said...

Catching up on more reading...

Do what you want. Don't give a fig about what others think is "cool." So hard in high school, though.

I second all your advice about not buying cheap boots. A total waste of money. Matter of fact, unless I had a lot of money to lay down for a pair of customs or high-end OTR boots, I would go with vintage stuff off of ebay. Look at the pics of the soles and make sure they aren't worn. It is nice to have a pair that is already broken in. If they don't fit, no big deal. Resell them! Maybe you'll make a profit.

Nice thoughts, too, Kevin.