Harley-Davidson Faded Glory boots
No, it’s not my tribal name; it’s how I feel: One with the boot. Well, boots technically. They’re my Harley-Davidson Faded Glory boots and I’ve worn them for a while now; so have a couple of my nonriding friends, who’ve borrowed them unabashedly. What I’m trying to say is that they’re broken in now and they fit like a boot should, so that I hardly know I’m wearing them, like sandals on a stealthy native… except they’re boots.
It wasn’t always so. It took me a little bit to get used to these lace-up, hook-up, buckle-up boots. When they first arrived I was surprised. I thought I’d ordered Harley-Davidson’s Radiate boot with the inside zipper and laces in the back for looks. Step into a legend, they say—step in, zip up and go, right? It was just my style. I would never have ordered footwear that would require me to sit down, loosen the laces, pull them on over my bunions, tighten the laces, latch the laces around the hooks in alternating criss-cross fashion, start the knot, make the loop, wrap the lace around, pull the other loop through, and then, after all that, buckle a leather strap. It was bad enough I’d have to wear socks. Yes, I was the child whose shoes were perpetually flattened in the back from cramming a foot in, refusing to tie and untie. They should have known then I’d be a rebel. But they overlooked the signs and I left home at 17 to live on an Indian reservation. Come to think of it, One With the Boot would have been a way better tribal name than The White Girl or Ray’s Ol’ Lady, but that was another life, and I digress.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot and among that lot is to accept things as they come. The boots had arrived and they were the Faded Glory style, and I would just have to accept it—I wasn’t about to package them up, take them to the post office, ship them back and wait for the Radiate boots to arrive. Once I got past my horror and reminded myself that it’s just a name and not an omen, I inspected the Faded Glory boots more closely, and found that they were actually kind of cool.
They smelled, of course, of new leather, and simple stitching reinforced with metal rivets gave them a clean and classic look. The cushioned sock lining would provide comfort and support. These didn’t have the optional steel toe, but would still offer adequate protection while riding and the lower, six-inch height would be less confining than taller boots. The heavy-duty metal grommets would be able to withstand repeated lacing and unlacing for… well, who knows how long, but certainly longer than I could. The oil-resistant rubber soles were a useful feature too, not so much for riding as for stopping. These were high-quality boots and would be durable through years of abuse. I put them on.
As time went on I got used to the lacing, hooking, buckling and it became sort of a pre-ride ritual. It turned out that all those adjustment options made for a boot that fit me just right—tighter at the skinny ankles, looser at the bunions. The process didn’t really take all that long after a while, but each time it gave me a moment to get my mind focused and ready to ride.
Add two more to my lot of things I’ve learned: It’s good to slow down and take the time to do things right and it’s important to be at peace with your boot.