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Some basics for bootmen

Campus Boots - Vintage Frye Boots

Frye Boots inspire many bootmen of today by their style, looks, color choices, shaft height, sound of their clunky heels when walking in them, and affordability.

According to Frye, the Frye Company is the oldest continuously operated shoe company in the United States. (Notice the careful choice of wording -- they no longer refer to themselves as a shoemaker or bootmaker.) The company was founded in 1863 as the Frye Boot Company in Marlborough (or Marlboro), Massachusetts, and continued to produce their shoes and boots in that location until 2003, when they closed the plant, outsourced bootmaking to other countries, and relocated the company headquarters to Great Neck, New York.


In the 1960s, Frye reintroduced the Campus Boot, inspired by its 1860 original, featuring a bulky toe and chunky heel that came to epitomize the attitude and the style of the '60s and '70s. There was nothing like the "new" Frye Boot on the market.

This was THE boot to have in the '60s and '70s. They were popular among rockers, jocks, and geeks alike in high schools and colleges across the United States. Frye Campus Boots of this era were 14" to 15" tall, and came in a variety of color choices: Banana (a light tan), Sunrise (medium tan), Saddle (dark tan), Olive (cool dark green), Russet (redish-brown), Walnut (brown), and Black.

The heels are wood and stacked to 2", with a rubber sole plate. The soles of original Campus Boots are made of smooth leather. True vintage Frye Boots will have only one Frye logo sewn on the inside of the left boot shaft; boots made in the 1980s and thereafter have logos sewn on the inside of both boot shafts, as well as a Frye logo brand stamped on the left and right heel.

What they once produced is highly favored all over the world, and while today's version of their classics have similar looks, they just aren't quite the same. Apparently the Frye Company heard the complaints about only offering 12" boot heights and also now offer the 14" height again in its Campus Boots, they still haven't (yet) responded to requests to make their Harness Boots in 14" heights again.

The Campus Boot was introduced and made popular by Frye, but this type of boot was also manufactured by Dingo and several other companies during the 1970s.

Just what was it about the Campus Boot that caused the development of many Bootmen? The jury is out, but some factors include the appearance, design, as well as the "boot clunk" made when walking in them. You could always tell someone was wearing Fryes by the sound.

Many women took to wearing Fryes as well, and the styling of the Campus Boot, in particular, has been copied by other women's bootmakers and is still available today.

Also popular during the 1970s was a version of Frye Boots that combined aspects of the Campus Boot and the Harness Boot. Frye produced boots with a tall shaft like Campus Boots and square toe, but without the harness. These boots also had the traditional Frye wood stacked heel to 2" with rubber heel plate and smooth leather sole. They were offered in brown, black, Banana, Sunrise, and Olive. They are not offered anymore by the Frye Company.
Frye is also famous for their harness boots. Read more about them in the section on Harness Boots.
Content from the Frye Company and Booted Harleydude

Tutorial - Types of Boots

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