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vintage western boots The history of western style boots began when the Stuart Cavaliers (King's Men) immigrated to America and brought their thigh-high riding boots with them.  These boots had a high heel that, at the time, was associated with aristocracy or nobility.  Many of these immigrants settled on plantations in the South, and they were a big part of the Southern cavalry during the American Civil War.  Before and after the war, many Southerners moved to Texas or further west, bringing with them their ideas of high heels and nobility.

classic western boot During the early 1800s, boots became fashionable for both men and women.  When Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, Wellington boots became the popular fashion of the day.  The difference from previous boots was that the heels were lower and the tops were only calf-high.  The standard boot worn by frontier horsemen in 1870 was a variation of military issue called the Coffeyville pattern.  The heels were higher, and the front was often grafted.  Military issue boots were being mass-produced in poor quality, and they would often fall apart, so custom made boots became a big business in the West.  Some of the most famous boot makers were Charles Hyer of Hyer Brothers Boots in Olathe, Kansas and "Big Daddy Joe" Justin of Justin Boots in Spanish Fort, Texas.  The distinctive cowboy boot began to emerge in 1880.  It displayed stovepipe tops, star and horseshoe inlays, stitch patterns, and high heels.

In western boots, there are four major variations of the cowboy boot.  These styles include the four-piece dress Wellington, the full Wellington, the packer lace-up (common on the American frontier), and the Hollywood or tejas (often the most decorated style).  This latter boot style enjoyed great popularity during the 1930s and 1940s, and its popularity has revived in recent years.

The western boots of today have a high heel, rounded to pointed toe, high shaft, and no lacing.  They are normally made from leather, but they can also be made from alligator, snake, ostrich or elephant skin, to name a few exotic choices.  Some popular manufacturers of western boots and apparel include Tony Lama, Post, and Lucchese, as well as Nocona, Bailey, and Stetson.

western cowboy boots

Western Boot Makers

  • Tony Lama features handcrafted, top grade leather boots that fit well, look great and are built to last.
  • Dan Post Boots offers this guide to the proper care of Western Boots.  To extend the life of your boots, it is important to care for them regularly.
  • Lucchese has been crafting handmade boots since 1883.  This boot company uses fine grade leathers and relies on skilled craftsmanship.
  • Nocona strives to provide fine western footwear using imported Italian leathers and classic comfort fit styling.

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