Woe to the cowboys. Cowboy boots and toadstools.
I continue a series of articles on how to figure out and dress correctly in a cowboy style, while not getting caught in the pseudo-cowboy fashion hook. This time the story will be about cowboy boots, the most important attribute of a cowboy costume.
As I already wrote in the first part, the cowboy fashion is currently freely interpreted, people do not care about history, the cowboys themselves, they just want to take from them certain elements of clothing that they seem ambitious, funny and evoke nostalgic images from childhood, because it is from childhood that a person lays a romantic perception of the era of the Wild West in films, books and toys.
And now, passing a cowboy’s shop, a person experiences all these images, and then he immediately gets the idea to put on cowboy boots and a hat! Naturally, not backed up by any knowledge, he buys the first Cossacks or boots he liked, and makes a mistake, because he automatically enters himself into the army of unfortunate cowboys. To avoid this, it is necessary, at a minimum, to imagine what a real cowboy boot looks like and to know what characteristics distinguish it from any other shoe.
Cowboy boots and boots that “try to look like” cowboy boots should be clearly distinguished. I usually call them “stylized boots,” fashion boots, or just “toadstools.”
So what do we mean by real cowboy boots?
For me, there are two unique criteria: the manufacturer and the age of the boots.
First of all, these are American boots of traditional manufacturers. Both in hats, Stetson or Resistol are synonymous with cowboy hats, both in jeans – Levis or Wrangler, and in boots there are a number of manufacturers that produce cowboy boots for almost a century. Naturally, as in any other craft, you can simply copy the visible part of the product, adapt the technology, but to produce real cowboy boots you need a tradition. These are decades of presence on the market, these are necessarily American or Mexican roots, these are the boots that America wore in the golden period of western culture, from the 30s to the 60s and even the 70s.
* Justin and Nocona are two companies formed from the same shoemaker family (since 1990, Tony Lama has also merged with Justin)
Each of the listed manufacturers offers both budget and expensive models, but in any case, the determining factor is not the price, but membership in the specified brand. In fact, these are the main and only brands that represent high-quality cowboy shoes in the mass market.
Therefore, it is enough to know the manufacturer of the boots, and if he is not from this list, you can easily throw them in the trash! This list, of course, does not include a number of small companies producing exclusive boots (Ammons, ML Leddy, TO Stanley, Stallion, J.B. Hill), as well as numerous American and Mexican “family” workshops that produce custom-made boots (custom cowboy boots). For example, see the Rocketbuster or Champion Attitude Boots collections. The quality of these boots surpasses all factory analogues in all respects and we will not consider them, since these boots will never appear in stores and are designed for real modern cowboys, or people imbued with the spirit of country, which is called “to the brain and bones.” Nevertheless, no matter how comical it may be, the prices of these first-class boots are commensurate with the prices of stylized shit here in Moscow.
There are also lesser known second-tier brands that produce simpler or work boots (Durango, Ariat, Double H, Abilene; Laredo, Dingo (Dan Post units)), as well as manufacturers that were known in the past, but currently ceased to exist, or have lost their positions and reduced production volumes (for example, Hyer Boot Company, Acme, Olathe, Larry Mahan, Olsen-Stelzer, etc.).
Frye boots stand apart. And although the company is the oldest in America (it has been operating since 1863), and even outfitted soldiers in the Civil War, nevertheless, it is knocked out of the list of cowboy boots, because it produces mainly models with heavy weighty capes, which are more suitable for bikers.
The second criterion is the age of the boots, provided that they belong to the listed brands. The most valuable boots are those born in the 50s. Currently, they can only be found in some American museum, however, it is still possible to track valuable items on ebay.com. I have never met new boots of this era, however, it is absolutely realistic to get new boots from the 70s. In cowboy boots made decades ago, a completely different soul. The realization that they once stood on the window of a wooden cowboy’s store somewhere in Texas or Arizona.