Who doesn't love a sharp pair of cowboy boots?
From reiners to ropers, line dancers to urban city slickers, heck even CEOs and truck drivers, everyone loves these boots!
Although they've been a necessary part of a rider's equipment for more than a couple of hundred years, you can see their style and influence on the modern dress shoe and boot for both women and men.
Along with much of the cowboy style, the roots of the boots can be traced back to the Vaquero tradition that originated in Spain. (A Vaquero is a Spanish cowboy.) Most of these cowboys kept a few pairs of boots - some for every day working and others they could wear to town.
The original and classic boots had a tall shaft that reached mid-calf or more, had about a 1-2” heel and a narrow pointed toe.
The more modern style is known as "roper". These are a shorter boot with a rounded or squared toe and are available with a lace up style as well as a pull on.
Both styles have a flat sole to allow easy access to the stirrups and also to prevent a cowboy from getting "hung up" or stuck in the stirrups should he fall off. A boot with too much grip could get stuck in the stirrups and the cowboy could get dragged by the horse.
The boots always have about a 1-2" heel to prevent the foot from sliding all the way through the stirrup. Although fashionable, the design of cowboy boots has real life practical applications too!
On the classic boot the taller shaft kept the lower leg from chafing against the stirrups' leathers, the horse's body and also from rough terrain he might be riding through. In addition it helped to stabilize and add strength to the lower leg especially when riding for long hours.
Originally each and every pair was handmade. This allowed for customization and there began a lot of personal styles! The dressier ones feature top-stitching, cut-outs and many detailed and attractive patterns.
Although usually made from leather, they can be found in a variety of materials including exotic hides such as alligator, snake, ostrich and many others.
Some of the big U.S. boot manufacturers include Tony Lama, Justin and Nacone. The Justin cowboy boot company was established in the late 1800's and is considered by many to be a market leader.
One thing is for sure about cowboy boots, everyone has their favorite pair and their favorite brand. Because of the natural materials they all fit a little differently and take the shape of the wearer's foot. And nothing fits and feels as good as having a sharp, good quality made pair!
best of all you don’t have to be a cowboy to love them! With a skirt or
suit or under a pair of chaps, they look good everywhere on everyone!
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