Monday, October 3, 2011


I always find television shows or periodicals featuring economical alternatives to highly-priced name brand fashion to be very interesting and so I thought I'd start a similar segment on my blog.

I would be remiss in my blogging duties if I didn't provide relevant Engineer Boot information (relative to the knowledge and research I've gathered over the past twenty years, of course) to current and future Engineer Boot fans.  What's happening is that people are looking at soles and assuming an original pair of 1940's or 1950's half soles added to a pair of newer, vintage-looking pair of Engineer Boots automatically make them "Vintage 1940's or 1950's."  Now a buyer who thinks he/she is gettin' their hands on the holy grail of boots is down hundreds and even over a thousand hard-earned dollars. 

Case in point are these Vintage Engineer Boots which recently sold for over a grand.  Ray appears to be a nice guy who has sold many a Vintage Engineer Boots and some of his best haven't even sold for this much.  I'm not positive as to what bidders saw in these, but I'm sure Ray is one happy camper. Nothing against him - he is a reputable seller who is seems to be honest with his auction descriptions.  Unfortunately, not all sellers are like him and a lot of misleading descriptions are being loosely thrown around.  Perhaps these sellers truly don't know, but using "horsehide," "1930's" or "Super Rare" to describe a pair of boots obviously manufactured last year using bonded leather is disconcerting.

For those budget-conscious boot fans, these good-looking mid to late 1960's Engineer Boots can be had for a fraction of the price in the form of Frye 12R Engineer Boots (under $200). 

The similar details and overall profile are striking.  Notice how the vamp on both boots barely touch the heel counter.

Brand: Unknown
Circa: 1960's  
Color: Brown
Size: 8 1/2 - 9
Length: 11 1/2"
Width: 4 1/4"
Soles: Longwear Gro Cord
Heels: B.F. Goodrich
Leather: Cowhide
Hardware: Nickel
Sold For: $1,102.77 / 19 Bids

The buckles are very similar, but the Frye's have rollers which are more appealing to me.

Nice low toe profile on both boots.

Even the tapered backstay's are close.

I like how Frye uses Biltrite Griplugs-style soles.  For around $150 or less, these soles and heels can be replaced with any vintage composition half sole and heel.  Frankly, I'd wear the Frye's until they needed repair then have your choice of Cobblers to perform the work.

I've seen lightly used 12R's sell for around a bill online.  With a complete sole/heel rebuild, you can be the owner of a great pair of vintage-looking Engineer Boots for well under three bills.  The rest of the money can then be spent on the new Fall 2011 Mister Freedom line.