Established in 2018, the major intention of the store was to fill a void in the “Witch City” community. While it’s extraordinarily easy to get t-shirts with witches, black cats, and pumpkins printed on them in Salem, there were virtually no providers of true punk, heavy metal, or gothic attire. And as these subcultures in Salem rose to prominence (with the arrival of The Satanic Temple and others on the scene), they needed their very own apparel store.
These days, Die With Your Boots on is one of the only goth apparel apparel shops in Salem. Another would be Vampfangs, though Boots’ inventory is much, much larger.
If you are into leather jackets, checkered hats, or vintage horror shirts, you definitely have to make this place a stop while in Salem. I mean the store’s decor alone is worth a visit. It’s got this whole, “verging on gothic, verging on steampunk, verging on nostalgia” thing that puts everyone in mood for spooky shopping.
The sizable selection of outfits found in almost every size and accessories is just delicious. They also feature books all about Salem printed by the owners’ very own publishing house. This, plus a dedication to variety store-wide ensures that every time you drop in, there will be something new waiting for you. Die With Your Boots On is a special kind of place where those who are a little outside the beaten path can find something rad and those who are just curious can explore without feeling judged.
In the store, they carry brands such as Cat Coven, Foxblood and Pretty Snake, but they also promote the local small businesses in addition to their own publication’s offerings. In my opinion, Die With Your Boots on is a fantastic addition to the Salem landscape. And if you’re of the gothic disposition, it pairs well with the aforementioned Vampfangs and Emporium 32. So pop into all three next time you’re in the witch city.
Not only does this shop offer a robust in-store inventory, it’s one of the few Salem shops that’s equally incredible online. I’ve bought so very much from this place, both in-person and digitally. So I can attest to the fact that shipping, prices, selection – all of it is absolutely incredible.
Apart from apparel and books, you can also browse the Die With Your Boots On shop for:
The selection at Boots is constantly evolving. The store itself even underwent a major renovation in the wake of COVID-19, so I am desperate to check out the changes. If you couldn’t tell already, I absolutely adore this place.
I know I was certainly interested in this the first time I walked into the store. I had some vague recognition that it might have been a metal song, but that was about all I knew. So I did some digging. Dying with one’s boots on refers to someone who died in the line of duty, usually a soldier. The contrast would be dying with one’s boots off, which honestly could mean one died in all kinds of interesting ways. It comes from the American west and, specifically, the cowboy era of western settlement.
More appropriately to Salem, the term was also used as slang in the Old West to refer to someone who had been hanged. If I had to pick which interpretation that owners of Die With Your Boots on Salem had in mind, I would probably go with the last one.
You should give it a shot and visit the store between the following hours:
Address: 77 Wharf St., Salem, MA
by Salem Joel
I was so happy to see Vampfangs come on the Salem scene. One of the many particularities of the downtown Salem shopping experience is that there are shockingly few places to buy clothes that the gothically-inclined would actually want to wear in real life. Sure, there are tons of "Come Hang Out in Salem" with nooses on them-style t-shirts around. But where do you go to buy interesting, well-made, fashionable goth attire? Vampfangs is now definitely one of those places.
Like a lot of the up-and-coming stores in Salem Massachusetts, Vampfangs' origins are in online business. And their site still reflects this foundation. In fact, many of the offerings in their brick and mortar location are on their site. So you can really get a good sense of what you'll encounter within by checking out that site.
Vampfangs is best known for their fangs (obviously) and they do consultations and sales of these in the store. In addition to the fangs, they feature a main sales floor and two additional rooms. Inside, you'll find a lot of Dark Alchemy and BlackCraft brand clothing. You may also sample Salem staples like incense, oils, and a variety of cosmetics. One of the products they get the most questions on is contact lenses. Unfortunately, if you want your very own pair of Vampfangs contacts, you'll need to order them online as they're prohibited from doing fittings and selling them in the store. So be sure to order way ahead of when you'll want them.
When you visit Salem a lot, one of the things you really get a sense for is authenticity. If you're a sensitive sort of person, after a few trips, you'll have a good general feeling of which stores/attractions in Salem are clearly cash grabs and which are authentic. To this end, Vampfangs Salem Ma definitely falls into the latter.
The interior is dark and wooden and the overall tone is gothic, but still very approachable. Vampfangs is also one of the select Salem Massachusetts shops that actually involves itself in the community. On their Facebook page, they frequently post events like Sabbat rituals, general hangouts, and more. Also, from a personal perspective, every time I've had a conversation with anyone in Vampfangs, I've walked away feeling like it was genuine and personable. It's a small thing, but in Salem the sheer volume of inauthenticity makes it feel massive.
In my opinion, Vampfangs is a must-visit on your Salem trip. If you're into anything relating to gothic apparel, I'll state this even more vehemently. There really is no one else quite like them in Salem. Though, if you are into their selection, you should definitely check out Die With Your Boots On as well.
The folks who work at Vampfangs Salem Ma are decent, helpful, and care about the community. The products are great, the prices reasonable, and if the reviews online are to be believed the fang and cosmetic contacts service is stellar. Massachusetts legislates eyewear oddly, so if you're hoping to get Vampfangs contacts in-store, call ahead or order online.
Another definite Vampfangs perk is the rotation of their inventory. While this article was initially written in the pre-COVID world, I decided to jump back in and update it to reflect their behavior during the pandemic. Vampfangs Salem immediately responded to the needs of the community. They were among the first to begin selling original face masks, bandannas, and hand sanitizer. And all of it was branded with slick, black, Salem illustrations and lettering. I bought five different bandannas from there myself, as well as one cloth mask.
All things considered, I adore this shop and pop in every time I'm in The Witch City. I highly recommend you do the same.
244 Essex St. Salem, Massachusetts 01970
Vampfangs website: vampfangs.com
Phone Number: (978) 969-2243
Hours: Mon - Sat: 11am - 7pm & Sun: 11am - 6pm (They sometimes deviate from theses hours, so call ahead to make sure they're open if you're traveling from afar).
As previously mentioned, the Salem store that's the most like this one is definitely Die With Your Boots On.
Another location you might want to check out is Emporium 32. While not strictly gothic, Emporium does play in the same territory. Here, you can get set up with steampunk, vintage attire, including some of the coolest sunglasses and top hats you've ever seen. They also have pins, books, posters, and a whole bunch of other merch you'll want to see.
Another place to have a peek at would be Hive and Forge. This one is right across the street from Turner's Seafood and is well worth a visit. Again, it's not strictly gothic, but it's very much adjacent. Here, some really fascinating taxidermy is on display as well as a fantastic selection of original artwork, intriguing housewares, and much more.
As for non-clothing stores, you might want to check out Bit Bar if you dig Vampfangs. It's a bar/restaurant downtown that features all kinds of classic arcade games and pinball machines.
As for attractions, you might enjoy The Witch House, The House of the Seven Gables, or Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery. You might also dig the Satanic Temple, but you'll have to drive to get there as it's a couple miles away from downtown.