Come Frye With Me: My Sweet Boots

Okay. It seems as if the impossible has happened. No, I haven't met Mr. Right, and no, I haven't figured out what's happened to all of the spoons in my house. The spoon thing is killing me, people. We have two regular sized spoons left. I'm sick of eating my yogurt with those giant spoons (what is the technical term for those massive things? Soup spoons? Who uses them, anyways??).

No. When I say impossible, I mean impossible in the "hell freezing over" way.

I've fallen in love with something kind of fashion-related.

Yes, it's true. Me, the one who considers my black Danskos  my "dressy shoes", has taken a shine to some footwear that isn't coveted by seniors and people who earn their living on their feet.

It all started this past fall. I was starting my new job and discovered that my preschool-teacher garb, while perfectly functional, looked a little out of place in an office setting. Yoga pants, hoodies, and my sensible running shoes were great when I was sitting on floors and chasing 4 year olds all day. But in the office? I looked like I had dropped by after a Low-Impact Aerobics class at the YMCA. It was time to do some shopping.

The clothes? That was easy. Old Navy is a boon to the woman who hovers between regular and plus size (although what's the deal with big girl sizes online only, Old Navy? Don't like the fluffy ladies cluttering up your stores?). Handkerchief hem cardigans, soft knit tops, legging and jeggings, and the best friend a busty girl could ask for, the sweater poncho. Throw in a bunch of scarves and necklaces and voila...an office worker is born.

But the shoes. There was the rub. As I've mentioned before, my clunky ankle-breaking Danskos are pretty much all I have left in my footwear arsenal (and my summer version of Danskos, FitFlops, but I'm in Minnesota so summer is approximately 2 months long). You know what you look like when you wear Danskos with leggings? Like you're wearing Danskos with leggings. It's not good. So I began to look around, to see what other women were wearing.

They were all wearing boots. Tall boots, short boots, black boots, brown boots. Boots as far as the eye could see. And I liked the look. It was perfect for my day of work, which consists of sitting on a stability ball in an office, running down hallways and wandering between lunch tables in the cafeteria. I had to get me some boots.

I went to my go-to place, the Disney of retail: Target. I grabbed a pair of black boots, mid-heel, with a couple of straps and pointy toes. $29.99 with a Cartwheel discount, yo. I wore them to school and felt transformed. I had boots! For cheap shoes, they were okay. Until that night, when I realized that pointy toes and man-made material don't bode well for my feet. I tucked them away and began my search anew. (the pointy toed Target boots came out of the closet for my Slash costume on Halloween)

One day, I saw a mom at school wearing the cutest little boots. I asked her where she got them, and she laughed and said, "Ugh. They're Frye boots. So expensive but I love 'em!". Of course they were expensive. The best footwear always is, and I've always been a "champagne taste, ice water budget" kind of gal.

But there are ways around financial constraints, right? And one of the best ways is Craigslist. Oh yes, I know...I've found other bargains there but this time my feet were going to benefit. And so the search began. Apparently Minnesota isn't full of Frye fans, because the pickings were slim. The prices, though? Right up my impoverished alley.

My first purchase was a pair of the Cindy Slouch Boots. I met the seller at Trader Joe's and we giggled nervously as I tried them on amongst the fresh-cut flowers. They were size 8 1/2, which is my size, but I could tell they were too tight. I wouldn't be denied, though! I squeezed my hooves in there and said to the woman, "I'll take them!". And I wore those for a while, even though they pinched my poor toes and the soles were really thin. They were cute and a huge bargain, but for all the time I spend on my feet, they missed the mark. My search continued.

The Frye Cindy Slouch. Not for me. Photo: www.heels.com 

I discovered that research is a good thing. I read online reviews and found that many styles of Frye boots run small, which would have been good to know before trying to make the Cindy's fit. I read about the different grades of leather they use, which soles were best for comfort (because yeah, that's important) and what to expect as far as stretching out is concerned.

I met my next pair of boots at a Starbucks near my house. These were the Veronica Slouch boots and the woman who was selling them wore them for about an hour before deciding she didn't like them. She brought them in their big huge box and swear to God I felt like it was Christmas morning right there in the coffee mecca. I slipped one on (the right one, because my right foot is like my shoe-divining rod) and pretty sure I heard a chorus of angels singing. Or maybe it was the milk frothing machine but whatever. These were BOOTS, with sturdy heels and pebbly leather and buckles! They fit like a glove, like a sassy tall black glove and this time the seller and I hugged and exchanged emails. It doesn't take much for me to bond with someone. I'm like one of those baby monkeys in the Harlow comfort vs cupboard experiments. Only this time it was boots and not cloth that comforted me. 

Veronica. Non-slip soles, bitches! Photo: Frye Boot Co.

I was content with my new boots. They worked perfectly with my burka/sweater collection and they were super comfortable, to boot (pun). Ten hour days? No problem. And yet...there was something missing.

Something brown. Yes, it's true that 99% of my wardrobe is black or grey. But there are two or three tan/brown pieces that needed their own accessories. So I went back to Craigslist and entered my now-familiar search words: Frye boot 9.

And that's when I found them. My most favorite boots. The Frye Harness 12R Boots, in Tan. I'd read that this style, the quintessential Frye boot, ran big and they stretch out over time. These were an 8 1/2, and I was sure they'd be perfect. I met this seller in the parking lot of a local grocery store and we chatted for a bit before the "fitting". Her name was Cindy and she was about my age. I asked her why she was selling these beauties and she said that she'd had cancer, and during treatment she'd gained a lot of weight and the boots no longer fit. Tell you what...I felt really bad about this, like I was benefiting from somebody's terrible misfortune. She told me the treatment was successful, though, so that alleviated most of the angst. The boots? They were perfect and of course Cindy and I hugged it out, right there in the parking lot. I might have slept in those boots that night.

The ones.

Here's the thing with these Harness boots: you just feel different wearing them. I may be a mild-mannered, chubby mom who works at an elementary school, but when I put these on I feel fierce. I feel badass and tough and all sorts of other words that describe anyone other than me.

They make me feel like this:

Photo: Rogue Pictures

Even though I'm pretty sure I look more like this:

But that's okay. I love my Frye boots and am a convert for life. I'm now on the hunt for a pair of the Harness boots in black...they have to be a bargain, though, so it might be a while. Until then, I consider myself lucky to have found these fabulous toe-holders at such great deals. Don't forget about Craigslist when searching for your sole-mates, my friends.

If you need me, I'll be over here hankerin' for a hunk of cheese in my kick ass boots.


  1. I seriously love you and this adventure in boots! I know what you mean with that badass picture towards the bottom. The right pair of shoes can do that!

    1. Ha! Yes. I strut in these boots. Well, kind of a waddle/strut but you get the idea. Love right back at you!

  2. Oh yes-I love how a good pair of boots make you feel!

    1. Right!??! I've yet to strut in Danskos, ha! Thanks for reading :)

  3. Thank you for this post! I've been drooling over Frye boots for ages and spending $400 for a pair of boots is not possible for me (even if I could- the thought of spending that much on one pair of boots makes me sick to my stomach). I never thought to check Craigslist- so thank you for the great idea! Also- the picture of the "hanker for a hunk of cheese" guy is brilliant!

    1. Hey Cathi...yep. Even if I had the money I don't know that I could spend that much on a pair of shoes. The brown boots were $60 on Craigslist and were in perfect shape. Can't beat that. Thanks so much for reading, and good luck on your hunt!!

  4. I'm also a MN woman, and I love me some Frye's. 6pm.com has good deals a lot, as well as Nordstrom Rack. Still expensive, but definitely cheaper than Bay Street in Calhoun Square.

  5. haha love your ode to your boots! Even being a very frugal person, I totally think good shoes are one of the things worth spending money on. Congrats they are super cute too =).

  6. Another Dansko/FitFlops lover? I can't believe it. Luckily, where I live, I can wear FitFlops 7 months of the year. And, yes, if you wear Danskos with leggings, you look as if you have hooves.

  7. Totally want boots now. And in Florida I'll wear them exactly 2 weeks out of the year. Don't care.

  8. Craig's List for boots ! What a great idea.

  9. I want to find boots for someone with foot problems (10 years of plantar fasciitis, for starters -- and that's not all). So far the only boots I can wear are hiking boots, which look really silly with dress clothes.

  10. A good, proper pair of high-quality, decent kicks can literally transform a person.


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