Why Handmade Cowboy Boots?
I frequently get asked the same question from any prospective boot customer or general person for that matter, why handmade boots? Cowboy boots have been an American icon for over 140 years, worn by cowboys, movie stars and anyone in between. Texas has a rich culture of the American West and cowboy boots are one major part of that image. Before the industrial age, boots and shoes for that matter were made by a local cobbler for an individual customer, many towns had shoe and/or boot makers that would take orders and build for their community, as time moved on and mass production became more accepted, cowboy boots started to lean in the direction of fitting 90% of the the population. By commercializing the industry boots became less and less like what we had worn for generations. Boots traditionally were high heeled, had a supportive arch, were built with quality materials and were constructed by an individual person, but that process is slow and costly, so many companies moved away from handmade boots and began replacing people with equipment that could cut time and labor costs, but at the cost of quality. Today's factory made boots today cost the same as they did in the 70's and 80's, how is that possible you might ask, reduced price of labor, cheaper materials and outsourcing make the product seem affordable for today's standards but at the cost of a boot that may only last you six months.
This is where handmade boots begin to shine, I still build boots the traditional way with only the best materials. A customer schedules a fitting appointment where I take approximately 20 separate measurements from the feet and calves in which I use to build a last, form of the boot, to fit that specific client. After fitting, materials are chosen that the boot will be constructed of, such as pig, bull hide, calf, elephant, ostrich, alligator..... the list can go on and on. Only the best materials available are used so that the customer ends up with a boot that will not only fit their feet, but also a boot that will last for generations, just like your grandfathers boots that are in the closet that he has had from 1970.
Taking the plunge into handmade boots is a fun endeavor, especially if you speak directly with the boot maker and he is the one who measures you and builds your boots. The relationship made with your boot maker should make you feel comfortable and be able to satisfy all of your boot needs.