Are Frye Boots Worth It?

It started back in 1863. John A. Frye opened his first shop on Elm Street in Marlboro, MA, hiring dedicated artisans to make shoes. In 1888, the Frye Company came out with their first boot. Leather of the highest quality was used as was precision stitching, a fine example of expert craftsmanship.

In 1889, Frye stopped using steam and jumped on the electricity bandwagon. In 1923 they started using the revolutionary Goodyear welt that still remains a favorite shoe construction to this day.

In 1940, Frye got on board with the Western trend and started making cowboy boots. In 1943, they were making boots for the War Effort. In 1950, they started a trend with Jet Boots. By 1960, Frye was making custom boots for a number of celebrities such as Jacquline Kennedy, Laurel and Hardy, Jerry Lewis, Gene Autry, and Richard Nixon.

In the Seventies, coeds adopted them as a symbol of rebellious freedom. In the Eighties, Frye advertised rich colors and staying power. The Nineties brought the rougher biker boot.

In the year 2000, Frye got on the e-commerce bandwagon. The very first Frye Company Store opened its doors in SoHo, New York City in 2011. They expanded to sixteen company stores by 2017.

Unfortunately, they all closed last March. Today, Fry and Co are involved with charities like Feeding America and are exploring sandals and mules along with ankle-length booties.

are frye boots worth it
“Frye Boot” by Menswear Market, Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What Is A Frye Boot?

Frye boots are boots with a lot of history behind them and a good future as well. Their quality is timeless. A lot of this fine quality is due to Frye and Co being dedicated to the commitment of craftsmanship.

It takes over one hundred and ninety steps to make one pair of Frye boots from the finest full-grain leather uppers. It has been one hundred and fifty-seven years since Frye opened up shop and they still haven’t stopped making meticulously crafted boots.

Is Frye A Luxury Brand?

Define luxury. Is it price? They’re not Wal-Mart prices but I’ve seen pricier designer brands. Is it quality? Fry certainly prides itself on that. Is it aesthetics? Depends on what model you get. Some styles are fancy and some are more utilitarian. Is its rarity? They have an online store and the major retailers carry them.

Is its extraordinariness? They do have a tendency to follow trends, not really standing out until the Jet Boots were introduced. Is it symbolism? They do stand for being the best of the best and are very popular with fashionable people. It’s what’s known as semi-luxury.

Who Owns The Frye Company?

Since 2010, The Frye Company has belonged to the Hong Kong-based Li & Fung. They spun off their brand management as Global Brands Group in 2014.

Where Are Frye Boots Made?

Today, most of them are made in China.

Why Are Frye Boots So Expensive?

Eh, define expensive. Compared to the four figures of a Manolo Blahnik, the prices are rather reasonable. Brunello Cucinelli is Italian for “You can’t afford this”. As cowboy boots go, Tecovas has a few models with a Texas-sized price. Frye is about on par with Tony Lama if you stick to plain old leather and not the ostrich or caiman. (You try skinning one of those nasty things sometimes!)

That said, they’re not Dollar Store flip flops either. You get what you pay for. Frye boots have quality materials and superb workmanship. Between that and the laws of supply and demand, the prices are going to be a bit high. They are durable, so it is an investment worth making.

Popular Frye Boots Models

The Campus 14L Is the best seller. This is the style that first enjoyed popularity among college kids back in the Seventies. Then the Nineties made everything Seventies retro chic. Now that the Nineties is retro-chic, that makes everything from the Seventies chic by association.

Frye Campus 14L Boot, Dark Brown

The Veronica bootie, in spite of its cute name, is meant to evoke the style of a rough and tumble biker. It is available distressed, stone tumbled to look like years of nicks and scuffs. (Be warned, many bikers know the difference and will laugh at you if you try to fake being a long-term biker.)

Frye Women's Veronica Bootie

How Do Frye Boots Fit?

Frye boots tend to fit on the narrow side but will stretch with wear. There are many different styles based on their fit. A little heel slippage is to be expected at first, but it will go away after a while.

Are Frye Boots True To Size?

Frye boots have a vast array of both classic and contemporary styles suitable for both men and women. This company has a long history of providing consumers with high-quality leather boots. Most of these styles do run true to size. However, if you have wide feet you may want to check the width fittings. Some models may run a little on the narrow side.

Do Frye Boots Run Big Or Small?

They fit mostly true to size but can be somewhat narrow.

Do Frye Boots Have Removable Insoles?

They are not. The insole is made up of leather with a foam layered underlay. It is quite comfortable. If you wear orthotics with most shoes, you may be able to wear these without orthotics as long as you are not on your feet the whole day long in them.

Are Frye Boots Comfortable?

Some models are. The Frye Engineer 12R for example is considered a highly comfortable boot, being made of soft and supple leather. The entire brand in general is lauded for being true to size, making for a comfortable fit.

Frye Engineer 12R Boot

Do Frye Boots Have Arch Support?

There is undoubtedly some arch support, but not a whole lot. It is rather a basic arch support but it is by no means flat.

Do Frye Boots Break-In?

They take a while to break in but will be well worth it. You have to wear them nearly constantly for two weeks with thick socks. They are good to wear for standing for a long time, but not for walking for a long time.

How To Break In Frye Boots?

You know the drill. Water, Ziplock bags, freezer. It’s supposedly the fastest way to go about it. The hairdryer on thick socks trick may work too. Sometimes, a few hours or days on a shoe tree are what your boots need.

Do Frye Boots Stretch?

They do stretch some. The leather is rather soft. The thick and sturdy models may not stretch very much at all.

How To Stretch Frye Boots?

You can use a boot stretcher to expand them to a half to a whole size larger. Get a two-way stretcher so you can focus on heels, toes, or both if that’s what you need. A boot stretcher will widen calves if that’s what you need. A spritz of leather stretching spray can help things along. The calves can be stretched by spraying the inside with diluted rubbing alcohol.

Are Frye Boots Waterproof?

The boots by themselves are not. However, there are sprays, creams, and dressings you can use to make them more resilient to water or at least looking better after taking some water damage. Make sure the surface of the boots is clean and dry before you treat it.

Can Frye Boots Get Wet?

While Frye boots are not exactly waterproof, they aren’t easily damaged by water either. Just remember to keep them well maintained.

Can You Wear Frye Boots In The Rain?

It is indeed possible to wear any leather footwear in the rain. The only proviso is that you get the boots to dry quickly and use conditioner to restore moisture.

The truth is, your leather boots could become essentials to your rainy-weather wardrobe. They will subtly support your light knits, keeping you warm and dry. Just remember to take some proper protective measures.

Are Frye Boots Good For Snow?

Frye has a waterproof boot that is fit for snow and cold. The Addie Hiker is made with a waterproof and sun-washed Nubuck leather designed to keep your feet thoroughly dry and warm. The boot’s heel ends with a lug bottom for adequate traction no matter where the windy winter weather takes you.

How To Care For Frye Boots?

Leather needs to be treated once a season with leather conditioning cream. This will hydrate them and make them weatherproof. For suede and Nubuck, you will want to use suede and Nubuck Protector spray.

Spray this on evenly to the boot’s exterior once a season to keep the color the same and lower the chances of any staining. If the inside gets a little musty, just spray it down with some refresher spray. This spray is formulated to affect only the smell and will not affect the color or texture.

How To Clean Frye Boots?

Frye boots are fairly rugged, but if they get dirty, you might want to clean them up. For this, you will need a wastebasket, dry cloth or soft-bristled brush, many soft cloths and possibly a sponge. You will also need a leather cleaner, leather conditioner, and weatherproofing product. Here’s how to do it:

  • Hold your Frye boots above the wastebasket and gently tap the soles together to loosen up and get rid of any caked-on dirt and mud.
  • Wipe away dust, dirt, or any dried mud that remains with a dry cloth or soft-bristled brush. If this is stubborn caked-on dirt or mud, try working a small bit of leather cleaner into this section with a separate cloth. Wipe it up immediately using a different damp cloth.
  • Apply a thin layer of leather conditioner using a sponge or soft cloth. Begin at the toe of the boot and work the product into the leather with small circles that overlap. Do not cake a heavy layer of the conditioner on the boots because this can clog up the leather’s pores and keep the product from being completely absorbed.
  • Apply the cream or spray weatherproofing product using a soft cloth. Spray or work in a small bit of the product on an obscure, less obvious section of the boot. A spot near the sole works. Allow it to dry fully.
  • If you see no discoloration or darkening happening, work the product into the rest of your Frye boots with overlapping circles. If any discoloration or darkening happens, you may want to think about either skipping this step or utilizing a product from another manufacturer.
  • Let the product dry completely before wearing your Frye boots. This should take more or less one hour.

How Long Do Frye Boots Last?

They can last a good five years and still be comfortable. The soles can be replaced if need be.

Do Frye Boots Have A Lifetime Warranty?

The Frye Company’s warranty is good for one year against manufacturer’s defect provided that they were from an authorized Frye dealer.

Can You Resole Frye Boots?

Yes. It is recommended to do this to make the shoes last longer. Resole America is authorized to be the repair facility for Frye Company. They will not only resole and reheel but clean and refurbish uppers, fix up the stitching and replace most leather heel pads. They work on both new and vintage models.

How To Spot Fake Frye Boots?

It should be genuine, soft textured leather. The stitching should be even and match the color of the leather. Zippers and other hardware should be bronze or silver in color. It will be solid metal, not plastic. The outsoles should have “FRYE” stamped on them in all caps. Fakes will look like Frye boots but won’t feel like Frye boots.


Frye boots have been around for a very long time and are very popular. They’re not exactly cheap, but there are more expensive brands out there. It is quality material with high-class craftsmanship, making them well worth the money.


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