A detailed shot of custom made cowboy boot at Little's Boot Company, Wednesday Sept. 20, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Handmade Cowboy Boots: Everything You Need to Know

Cowboy boots may have started out on the ranch as work boots, but western boots have become a popular American fashion statement over the years. Even outside of the deep South, having a high-quality pair of boots that are custom made with fine craftsmanship is both a fashion statement and a right of passage, and many people turn to the Lone Star State since Texas companies make some of the best boots out there. If you are looking to invest in your own pair of handmade cowboy boots there are five things every cowboy and cowgirl should consider.

1. Know What You Want

The boot shop will want to know what type of leather, color, toe shape, heel height and top height you want for your handmade cowboy boots. Do you want regular cowhide leather boots or more exotic leathers like caiman or alligator? Would you like a square toe or a more tapered look? There are also plenty of color choices, from cognac to pink. Take a look online and look at different styles so you can put together a wish list for your perfect pair of new boots.

2. Embrace the Artistry of Stitching

Find yourself a custom cowboy boot company that provides an array of stitching options. Boot making can be a true work of art so make sure that your custom boots have the opportunity to be of the highest quality so that they make a statement every time you wear them.

3. Aim for High Quality

Find a high-quality boot maker. Unfortunately, there are no cutting corners if you want quality boots.  Full quill ostrich boots could set you back $500-$600 but they will last for decades to come. Look into the more trusted companies like Tecovas Boots, Justin Boots or Nocona especially if this is your first pair. 

4. Understand the Proper Fit

Even if you order online, make sure you understand the proper way your handmade boots should fit. New customers may not understand that cowboy boots will fit differently depending on the fashion style or if they're riding boots, so having some guidance is helpful. Pinto Ranch offers a very useful guide to help you through the process. After answering the following questions, watch their helpful video to make sure that you and your boots are a perfect match.

  • Did your foot audibly pop into the boot?
  • Is the ball of your foot in the widest part of the boot?
  • Is the point of your toe in the middle of the toe box or about 1 inch from the end?
  • Do your toes have wiggle room?
  • Does the boot fit like a firm handshake across your instep?
  • Is there a 1/4 inch slip in the heel?

5. Boot Care and Maintenance

After purchasing your boots, it's important to understand the maintenance that comes with them. Watch this handy video for some direction on quality products and what to do. Whether you invest in suede, calfskin, or leather cowboy boots they will all need special care.

This post was originally published on September 20, 2019. 

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