Custom Boots, Bootmakers and Cowboy Boot History

Texas selected the cowboy boot as the official recognized state footwear during May, 2007. Texas House Resolution.  Special thanks go to the hard work of Social Studies educator Kay Pechacek.

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Ranch Boots
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The contemporary cowboy boot evolved out of the common boot and was created to fit your stirrup. As a result, different boots were created for riding, rodeo, and walking. You should base your choice on the particular use for the boot.

Choices to be considered whenever buying boots include things like toe shape, pulls, heel dimension, heel design and variety of leather.

• Two inch riding heels don’t make good walking boots.

• Cowboy boots should have a steel shank and wooden pegs for support.

• You should also require leather lining and good overall workmanship.

• Horseback riding boots need to have a heel high enough in order to stay in the saddle stirrup. Horseback riding boots additionally come with a narrow toe in order to direct the boot effortlessly into the stirrup.

• The more rows of top stitching the more expensive the boot. A work boot might have four rows of stitching and a dress boot will have six to eight rows of stitching.

• Leather types are unlimited. I have a pair of sharkskin boots that have been re-soled four times and don’t have a single nick in the leather tops. Elephant tops leather will also last a lifetime.

Boots are one of the most comfortable shoes you can wear if they fit right. You shouldn’t have to break in boots, they should be comfortable the first time you put them on. The heel should slip slightly when you walk. A long narrow fit is better than a too short wide fit. Get a custom made pair if you can afford them.

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If Only They Could Talk
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Cowboy Boot History

After the Texas Revolution and Civil War cowboys who were driving cattle across the country needed a new type of boot.  As the cattle drives accelerated from 1870-1890, boot makers became established in small towns near the primary cattle trails. An example is Joe Justin’s settlement in Spanish Fort, Texas, close to the Chisholm Trail.

Boot Evolution

• Knee-high tops (shafts) were included to safeguard the rider’s lower legs from the prickly pear, thorns of mesquite bushes, barbed wire and snakes.  Tall tops additionally prevented rubble and dirt from slipping inside the boots. The first boots had 17 inch tops.

• Several layers of leather as well as numerous rows of external stitching on the tops were added. The leather-based stitching made the tops stiff so they would stay up and were much less likely to buckle and chafe the cowboy.

• A cowboy probably suggested a bootmaker add a pointed toe on a pair of boots so he could get his foot into the stirrup more easily.

• A bigger, thicker, heel was added so the cowboy’s foot wouldn’t come out of the stirrup accidentally. Early cowboy boots had 2 to 3 inch heels.

• Ears (pulls) were added to help make tugging boots on much less challenging.

• Black or brown stitching gave way to more colorful thread.  In recent years designs and pictures were sewn into the boots.

• Bookmakers started to create inlays, overlays, as well as intricate boot-top designs.

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Roy Rogers’ Cowboy Boots, Roy Rogers …
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Historic Texas Bookmakers

Charlie Dunn (deceased)
Homage to Cowboy Boots: ‘Charlie Dunn’, Jerry Jeff Walker
Charlie Dunn treasured the tune and his associates sang it at his memorial in 1993.
The video clip includes archive pictures of Charlie at the Capitol Saddlers found in Austin, Texas.
You’re a lucky cowboy if you own handcrafted boots by the legendary Charlie Dunn.

Texas Made Custom Cowboy Boots

Torres Brothers Boot Company
246 S. Seventh
Raymondville, Tx
Butterfly stitching and white-alligator boots.
Prices start at: $200.
Past customers include:  King Ranch and Texas Rangers

M.L. Leddy’s Boot and Saddlery
2455 N. Main
Fort Worth, Texas 76106
Founded in 1922 and moved to Fort Worth in 1941. Handmade boots from $475. to $1,275.

M. L. Leddy Boots
2200 W. Beauregard
San Angelo, Texas
One of the oldest and largest custom boot making operations in the state.
Prices start at: $495.
Past customers include:  Trisha Yearwood, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Paul Newman.

James Leddy Boots
1602 N. Treadaway Boulevard
Abilene, Tx
The nephew of  M. L. Leddy. 
Prices start at: $625.
Past customers include:  Buck Owens, George Jones, and Johnny Bush

Little’s Boots
110 Division Avenue
San Antonio
Established in 1915
Prices start at: $750.
Past customers include:  Reba McEntire,  Tommy Lee Jones,  Alex Haley.

Rusty Franklin Handmade Boots
15 E. Avenue D
San Angelo
Grandson of M. L. Leddy
Prices start at: $495.
Past customers include: Tommy Lee Jones and  Jerry Jones.

Anderson Bean Boot Co.
P.O. Box 36
Mercedes, Texas 78570

Don Atkinson Custom Boot and Saddle
229-C Old Ingram Loop Ingram, Texas 78025
Prices start at: $900.
Past customer includes:  Musician Bob Wills

Austin Hall Boot Co. (Joe Hall Boot Company)
230 Chelsea Street
El Paso, Texas 79913
Prices start at: $200
Past customers include: Musician Dwight Yoakam

Champion Boot Co.
505 S. Cotton
El Paso, Texas 79901
Prices start at: $250
Past customers include: Glenn Campbell and The Statler Brothers

Double Eagle Custom Boots
5320 Cameron Rd.
Austin, Texas 78723

L. M. Easterling Boot Co.
509 S. Cotton St.
El Paso, Texas 79901

Mercedes Boot Co.
1009 N.E. 16th Street
Ft. Worth, Texas 76113
Equestrian clientele
Prices start at: $479

Tex Robin Custom Handmade Boots
115 W. Eighth
Coleman, Texas
Prices start at: $695.
Past customers include: Governor Rick Perry, Benny Binion.

RocketBuster Boots
115 S. Anthony
El Paso, Texas
Prices start at: $750
Past customers include: Billy Bob Thornton, Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.

The Stallion Boot and Belt Company
100 N. Cotton
El Paso, Texas 79901
Prices start at: $500.
Past customers include: Madonna, Robert Plant, Bob Dylan, Ashley Judd and Tom Cruise.


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Truman’s Cowboy Boots
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