Mike McNamee, probably not a name you are familiar with. But one that the Leather community the world over will know the influence of. Mike was the founder and original owner of a store many have visited or certainly heard of – Stompers Boots in San Francisco.
I was saddened to read this morning of the death of Mike, someone I had the pleasure of meeting twice. And both times boots where of course involved! The first was a to the store back in around September 2011, when I ordered one pair of boots, and bought another. Both I still have with me and wear regularly … remember good boots are built to last.
This wasn’t my first visit to SF or indeed to Stompers, but it was to be the first two pairs of boots I bought! Only one of them was planned. I’d finally have an opportunity to order my first pair of Wesco boots – 11″ Harness boots.
When investing in custom fit gear you want to make sure you have your measurements correct. You can’t return them! So having someone experienced do the order is beneficial, and Stompers offered a discount by ordering through them.
Mike was of course excellent in taking the measurements, and making advice on the style, finish and fitting. Fitting and chatting done, time to pay … but then something caught my eye. Of course every wall of the store was covered boots, the store room floor to ceiling packed with boxes! But there was something I noticed, it was actually one of the most popular boots Mike sold I believe. They are Corcoran 985 10″ Black Leather Side Zip Boots.
These boots are amazing, perfect fit and so comfortable … I often wear these as all day long, they are perfect daytime and dungeon boots. Unlike the Wesco they are high shine finish, so perfect for a dedicated boot boy to spend time working a deep reflection! And of course these boots could be taken away right now! How could I resist?
Order for two pairs of boots and a classic “Boot Thing” t-shirt purchase made! I had agreed with Mike to collect my custom Wesco boots order at CLAW 11 in Cleveland in May 2012. My first visit to CLAW … and still my favourite.
So jump forward a few months to the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio. I arrived a few days early, CLAW is setup and the Leather Market is ready to open! I’ve been looking forward to these boots since ordering, and several years prior while planning on ordering. There was only going to be one store to visit first, Stompers of course!
I found Mike, introduced myself again and asked him about the boot order.
He looked back blindly, he had no custom boots for collection. And no recall of an order agreement to collect them. Some tapping on the laptop and checking, the order has been found. It’s not in Cleveland, it’s not in San Francisco, it is still being completed in Portland and due for shipping to San Francisco a few days after CLAW … when I was to be back in the UK.
Not to worry, a friend was planning on visiting the UK and offered to bring them over with him. Not a problem, Mike was going to ship the boots to him in the States and then he could bring them over. Perfect!
Friend arrives in UK … no boots. He assumed I’d changed my mind and told them not to ship to him.
I contact Mike again, and this is one of those moments a companies reputation goes up so high in your estimations. Mike was very apologetic, he had completely forgotten to ship them! So he offers, without any input from myself to pay to ship them to the UK and pay for all shipping and costs!!
Within a week my boots has been delivered, they looked amazing, felt amazing, smelt amazing and most of all a completely perfect fit!
And that is who Mike was for me. A man with a passion for his fetish, his store and brand. And someone who fully appreciated the importance of every customer to see him.
The community has lost a great guy, and in my mind I see him smiling surrounded by all the boots of the world!
Both of my Stompers boots are in the dungeon pointing towards San Francisco at the moment to remember Mike.