Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 44 / 30 October 2014

These Boots are Made for...


Two pairs of boots at a recent leather event. Photo: Rich Stadtmiller
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Boots. Summon up any historical imagery of the contemporary gay male leather and kink aesthetic and you will likely see boots as part of that imagery, at least most of the time. Boots, from the construction variety to the styles worn by police and military to those clearly designed with the kinkster in mind, have all permeated our culture significantly. Clearly we like our boots.

So what is the allure of boots? Why do so many associate boots with the leather and kink garb that we wear? What is the turn on?

I asked a number of my boot aficionado friends why they are drawn to boots. A few common themes emerged, although their exact reasons for liking boots varied quite a bit.

A large number said that they simply like the look of boots. Their reason for wearing them is first and foremost because they associate them directly with the leather and kink imagery upon which they have so strongly imprinted. Based on my casual canvasing of boot lovers, I'd say this was the most predominant turn on.

Others specifically pointed out their attraction being based on the associations boots have with a hyper-masculine image. To them, boots equal a masculine edge that feeds into the historically masculine look that has dominated the gay male leather scene since its modern inception. To some extent, that same appeal seems to exist among many women as well, although this often divides along the butch versus femme spectrum of the women's kink scene.

Yet others have essentially fetishized boots and it's literally the boots themselves that turns them on. Sometimes it's the look, smell or feel. Sometimes it's the power or history they symbolize. Sometimes it's all of those things, but it's the boot as object that turns them on. One man told me that the moment he sees a pair of hot boots, whether being worn by someone or not, he is immediately aroused.

Why we are turned on by boots is ultimately irrelevant. If we like them, we like them, and we really need no reason for that to be the case. Discovering the reasons we like them is definitely fascinating, but the pervasive attraction to them needs no further justification. If they get you hard or wet, that's reason enough.

Local San Francisco Bay Area kinksters have lots of options for where to buy boots. If the more common construction and work boot style is your cup of tea, then often mainstream shoe stores carry them. Military surplus stores also carry many styles of boots. There's always online shopping, but considering that the fit, feel and comfort of boots is such an individual thing, you might find yourself sending boots back that you order online since you were unable to try them on first. Still, online shopping is an option.

A few San Francisco stores carry boots of particular interest to kinksters such as Mr. S Leather and Worn Out West 2nd Generation. One store, however, is entirely dedicated to the boot crowd. That store is Stompers Boots located at 323 10th Street in the South of Market area of San Francisco. Stompers Boots recently changed owners and the new owners have grand plans for this flagship boot retailer.

The new owners of Stompers Boots are Christian Marcello (left) and Bear Man (right). photo: Stompers Boots

The new owners of Stompers Boots are Bear Man, who also founded LeatherWerks and BootWerks in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Christian Marcello. I asked Bear Man why they bought Stompers Boots.

"Stompers is a great brand with a proud history," he said. "Unfortunately there have been problems with customer service and a soured relationship with Wesco that put the continued existence of Stompers in serious jeopardy. We've been selling boots at LeatherWerks for nearly 15 years. We have existing relationships with most of the major U.S. boot companies, especially Wesco, that we could use to quickly get Stompers back into action."

When I asked Bear Man if they had any specific plans for their newly acquired store, he said, "We are going to use our experience from LeatherWerks in business planning, in retail, and specifically in boots to rebuild Stompers into the boot business that everyone knew and loved. We are going to build a solid inventory of the boots our customers want. We are going to build and train the best staff in the world at the best damn boot shop in the world. You may have noticed that a new secure website for Stompers ( has recently launched. The site is not complete; however, new boots are being added regularly."

Bear Man was also quite specific about how Stompers can best serve the kinky crowd.

"We don't sell just boots at Stompers. We sell the right boots at Stompers. We sell boots that are comfortable, boots that fit your body. We know that boots need to fit your lifestyle. From Home Depot, to dinner in the Mission, Folsom Street Fair, Beer Bust at the Eagle, to a quiet night of intimate sex at home or a raucous night at a 15 Association party, we know how to help you pick the right boots to make you look great, feel great and tell the world who you are."

Tonka, the new manager at Stompers, offered this about the customers he's seeing come into the store.

"People come into Stompers looking for boots because boots are both powerful and sensual," he said. "A good pair of boots can change how you walk and how you feel or perceive yourself. Men feel sexy in them and confident. People in the store show this as they admire themselves in the mirror while trying on the boots, even if they are just for work. The average customer is a man looking for a boot that will make other men/women stop in their tracks when they see him walking in them. It's an even mix of kink and non-kink people that are all looking for the same thing, a powerful boot that will make them feel sexy and confident. That's the great thing about boots like Wesco, they can either attract or intimidate others when on the right person."

So let's say you get your boots from Stompers or any of the other numerous places at which you can buy boots to fit your kinky proclivities. How do you take care of them? That is the domain of our nation's many bootblacks, and luckily many of those bootblacks reside in the Bay Area.

One such local bootblack, IrishGrrl, is a Bay Area resident. She will tell you that utilizing the services of bootblacks, who connect us to the rich history of leather and fetish as historians, story tellers and keepers of their craft, will keep your boots looking and feeling great.

Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, 1982, Lithograph, c. 1982 Tom of Finland Foundation (

When I asked IrishGrrl about some of the basics of good boot care, her answer was succinct. "Regular, thorough cleaning, conditioning and polishing."

IrishGrrl also offered tips about some of the problems she sees with boots and how to fix them.

"Common problems with boots are deep scuffs and scratches which can be minimized with a technique called burnishing. Cracking or splitting of the leather is also an often seen problem that can be improved with a deep conditioning, or its appearance minimized with a good polishing."

So whether you have boots you cherish already, or you buy new ones, seek out the services of your local bootblacks. Ask around among your kinky friends about who offers bootblacking services in your area. Remember, these boots are made for walking, playing, cruising and much more. Enjoy them.

Race Bannon is a local author, blogger and activist. You can reach him at his website


Leather Events, Oct. 31 – Nov. 15, 2014

There's always a lot going on in the San Francisco Bay Area for leather and other kinksters.


Fri 31

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members. 4058 18th St., 9:30pm.


Sat 1

High Leather Tea-tillation Fundraiser for MCC San Francisco @ Wicked Grounds

Leather friendly fundraiser for MCC San Francisco. 289 8th St., 11:00am.


Mon 3

Ride Mondays @ Eros

A motorcycle rider and leathermen night at Eros, bring your helmet, AMA card, MC club card or club colors and get $3 off entry or massage. 2051 Market St.


Wed 5

Leathermen's Discussion Group @ Mr. S Dungeon

Killer Among Us: Depression in the Men's Community. Depression hits our community hard. Whether it's our friends, lovers, partners, or ourselves, we're all affected by this misunderstood but powerful condition. 385A 8th St., 7:30pm.


Fri 7

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members. 4058 18th St., 9:30pm.


Mon 10

Ride Mondays @ Eros

A motorcycle rider and leathermen night at Eros, bring your helmet, AMA card, MC club card or club colors and get $3 off entry or massage. 2051 Market St.


Wed 12

Golden Shower Buddies @ Blow Buddies

A men's water sports night, Golden Shower Buddies, $15 with membership, 933 Harrison St., 8pm.


Fri 14

Bay Area boys of Leather: Boy Friday @ SF Eagle

Join the Bay Area boys of Leather for Boy Friday, their monthly cocktail social. 398 12th St., 7pm.

SF Sober Leather 2015 Meet and Greet @ Mr. S Leather

Meet and greet for the SF Sober Leather 2015 contest. 385 8th St., 7pm.

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members. 4058 18th St., 9:30pm.


Sat 15

SF Sober Leather 2015 Contest @ SF Citadel

This contest is aimed toward people who have a desire to live a sober life and is not a recovery title, and doesn't have any affiliation with any 12 step fellowship. 181 Eddy St., 7pm.

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