outfitting-the-westCowboy boots are pure romance, even if they’re covered in barn muck or horse manure.

Designed to be totally functional, boots are also the one type of footgear that adds flattering height while making an individual statement that can be as wild as you want.

Back in the 1800s, boots were typically made on a single, straight last. Prolonged wearing molded the leather to the shape of the wearer’s foot.  Making a right and left boot wasn’t done until after the Civil War.

The boot’s underslung heel (from 212 to 412 inches high) was inspired by  Spanish horsemen. The heel’s sharp angle created a powerful, dignified look and stayed in a stirrup. High tops were cut fuller back then too, so pants could be worn inside.

By the height of the cattle trade, ready-made boots were available for purchase, but the bootmaker’s art still flourished as custom-made boots became the preferred choice. From Texas to Montana, great bootmakers became legends.

Today’s customers can purchase boots that are handcrafted in the Spanish tradition and made entirely of leather, or they can buy less costly boots created in part with man-made materials that are both durable and good-looking. Boots are designed for many purposes, whether it’s roping, riding or walking. The design choices are staggering—flat or high heels, round toes or pointed, plain or fancy.

One Montana bootmaker swears a person needs only one pair of boots: “black—to be married in and buried in.”

Wouldn’t be caught dead in: dainty little Peewees. Looks like you stole ’em from your kids.

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