From Cattle Runs to Catwalks: The Evolution of the Modern Cowboy Boot

From Cattle Runs to Catwalks: The Evolution of the Modern Cowboy Boot

From cattle drives to podiums, the cowboy boot has had quite the transformational journey.

One of the most iconic shoe styles originated in the late 1870s in the American Old West.

A combination of difficult terrain, livestock and safety while riding contributed to the design of the iconic footwear.

Cowboy culture 

Cowboy culture 

Cowboys on the Trail, from a lithograph painting by R. To see also : The dark side of NFL cheerleading. Farrington Elwell.

(Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group / Getty Images)

The story of the cowboy boot is the story of the cowboy.

“There is no more recognizable symbol in the world than the American cowboy,” said Michael Grauer, the McCasland Chair in Cowboy Culture and curator of cowboy collections and western art at the National Cowboy Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

“They represent freedom and liberty, they generally represent hard work and all the qualities and values ​​that most people admire, and [people] want to be a part of that somehow,” he added. “So by wearing cowboy boots or a cowboy hat, you’re somehow becoming a part of this great tapestry that is cowboy culture.”

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A critical instep

The cowboy boot as we know it today dates back to the post-Civil War riding era in Texas and Kansas. Read also : Rockstar Cheer founder, coaches sexually abused cheerleaders: lawsuit.

According to Grauer, the basic model of the cowboy boot at the time was the military boot. But unlike cavalrymen, who rode on their feet, cowboys rode on footstools, which led to a key development in shoe design.

“The real invention of a real cowboy boot is the insertion of a steel shank into the foot,” said Grauer, noting that the steel shank was sewn between layers of leather to create a reinforced shank for the boots.

This development was critical in that since cowboys rode with their feet on top of their saddles, wearing boots with a stronger leg made riding more comfortable. At the same time, the addition of a supported foot allowed the cowboys to ride for a longer time.

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Heel, toe, doe-see-doe

A line of cowboys resting on a fence and showing off their boots. Read also : 2022 NFL Draft. Around 1955.

Time in the saddle led to some other developments towards the modern cowboy boot.

For example, the original boots had a round toe. However, the pointy toe was introduced later because it allowed cowboys to slide their feet into their shoes more easily.

A higher heel was also added. Cowboys with higher heels would have an easier time preventing their feet and ankles from slipping on their feet.

“One of the things that a cowboy was most afraid of was seeing his leg get caught in the stirrup and get off, because then the horses would pull them along,” Grauer said. “When it did happen, it was usually fatal.”

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Safety on the job

Cowboys on horses with their cattle behind. Texas, circa 1900.

(Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group / Getty Images)

Another part of the evolution of the cowboy boot involved the introduction of higher uppers or shafts. According to Grauer, the tall shafts were originally called “stove pipes” because they looked like stove pipes at the end of a boot. These uppers provided more protection to the foot as cowboys rode through the brush while herding.

“I believe it with all my heart that cowboys built America,” Grauer said. “They built America because of the work they did, which was dirty. It was dangerous, often boring. They made low wages and still get poor wages, but they’re still willing to do it, put food on the table. .”

“This great country was built on beef and bread, and to do that job you needed sturdy boots, whether they were cowboy boots or farmer’s boots,” he added.

Boot-scootin’ boogie

A view of the Texas Troubadours backing country singer-songwriter Ernest Tubb backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Around 1951.

Over time since its inception, the cowboy boot grew from its practical use in driving cattle to a fashion statement and part of popular culture.

Some of the people who helped spread the popularity of the cowboy boot and the overall cowboy aesthetic were musicians. According to Grauer, musicians who played what was then known as “hillbilly music” took the cowboy aesthetic to mainstream the music genre. This led to the genre later being called “country and western”.

From there, many others began to wear the iconic boots and style of cowboys.

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(Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

“People mostly appreciate what the cowboy stands for, even if it’s a mythological cowboy, and they want to be a part of it in some way — they want to appropriate a part of it in some way,” Grauer said.

“So wearing the boots is very much part of it – being a bit of a cowboy, I guess you could call it – putting them on,” he added.

Who first wore cowboy boots?

Mexican vaqueros probably developed the cowboy boot from Spanish riding boots. Mexican cowboy boots only came in three styles, round toe, pointy toe, and tribal toe, while Americans offer many more styles.

Who was the first to wear cowboy boots? The cowboy boot itself, which originated in the plains and desert of the mid-western United States in the 1800s, was originally inspired by the vaquero-style boot brought to America from Spain in the 1600s.

Who started wearing boots first?

The oldest known depiction of a boot is in a cave painting from Spain, dated to between 12,000 and 15,000 BCE. This painting appears to depict a man in leather boots and a woman in fur boots. Persian funerary jars dating back to around 3000 BCE have been found. and is made in the form of boots.

Do real cowboys wear Lucchese?

What brand of cowboy boots do real cowboys wear? Real cowboys wear handmade cowboy boots from top brands like Lucchese, Rocketbuster, Tony Lama and Justin Boots. They are known for comfort, style, and consistent, long-lasting durability.

What is the most popular brand of cowboy boots? Tony Lama Tony Lama is perhaps one of the best known cowboy boot brands in the world. It was founded in 1911 by 24-year-old Tony in – you guessed it – El Paso, Texas.

Do cowboys wear Lucchese?

Lucchese Boots You can’t talk about expensive cowboy boots without mentioning Lucchese. The brand has been a historic name in western boots for over a century, worn by US presidents and countless celebrities. (These are also the official cowboy boots of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

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