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The Frye Company

September 19, 2012

I always knew the Frye Company as the brand who make the original “motorcycle” boot, as we called it in Southern California when I was growing up–the official name is the Harness boot, if you’re interested. I’ve seen other Frye Company boots and shoes in various stores, but only had a vague idea of the company.

The Harness Boot (aka the motorcycle boot). Still a classic, still intimidating, still Made in the USA.

The Frye Company was started in 1863 by John A. Frye in Marlboro, Massachusetts. For those of you like me who weren’t math majors, that means the company is turning 150 next year. In that time, they’ve supplied our military with boots, the aforementioned motorcycle riders, 60s campus activists, and factory workers who were the company’s first customers.

The Campus boot. Available for men, the ones below are for the ladies–who I think wear this kind of boot better anyway. Adopted by 60s and 70s youth, a pair now resides in the Smithsonian Institute. Also still Made in the USA.

Arkansas Mid Lace. Made in the USA

Arkansas Brogue Boot, Walter Lace Up, and Walter Oxford. All Made in the USA.

As you may have read from the photo captions above, Frye still manufactures some of its collection in the US. Cue the obligatory factory-tour video!:

Frye Boots from Exit Editorial on Vimeo.

Here’s a few other shoes that caught my eye from their collection. These are produced outside the US, but Frye insists that their factories maintain their standards–“for many brands, these sourcing decisions are determined primarily by cost. However, in the case of Frye, while we certainly do value cost in manufacturing, we are even more driven by the type of hand work, construction and craftsmanship that is the special strength of each of our factories and the ability and willingness of each factory to constantly improve and to develop new and enduring products.” So take that for what you will. I think these still would make a nice wardrobe addition:

The Dakota Mid-Lace

The James Lug Wingtip Boot

The James Penny loafer

The Locke Lace-Up

And because I’m a sucker for brown sneakers, the Justin Low-Lace

Now, anyone can order these online or look for a local store that carries a particular style. But if it was me and I had a plane ticket to New York, I’d head to Soho and check out the Frye flagship store. I work in visual merchandising, so I’m a sucker for beautifully designed stores, and when I saw the pictures I just knew I had to share them. Awesome space that incorporates the brand’s heritage wonderfully.

Product images courtesy of Frye (thanks to Andie and Molly for their help). Store images via Frye website


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