Anantomy And Short History Of The Cowboy Boot
The development of the cowboy boot is an American West occurrence. After the civil war soldiers by the tens of thousands from the war headed West where land was cheap and wild cattle roamed for the taking. The cowboy age of the West came into being and it was quickly determined that these men and woman of the West needed a specific type of boot for riding. In the old West, working cowboys wanted a long boot to protect their feet and legs against brush and snakes as they rode their horse for extended periods of time. They also needed a special toe shape and extended heal to keep their foot in a horse stirrup more easily. At first, cowboy boots were custom made by shoe cobblers. They where very basic and had little style to them but that quickly changed. Like the Cowboy Hat, the cowboy boot caught on in a big way. Over the years the cowboy and cowgirl boot became a huge fashion statement.
During what is known as the cattle driving era which lasted from the mid 1860s to 1884, cowboys often drove cattle for extended periods of time. After weeks and months on the cattle drive trials, they would get paid and enter Western towns. With a little money in their pockets, they often would purchase a new pair of boots and a new cowboy hat. These handmade boots were first made by small shops in Western towns. Some of these small shops grew into major boot making companies such as Justin Boots and Tony Lama which are still in business today.
As the cowboy boot trend developed, ranchers, gamblers, gunslingers and bounty hunters who could afford them, often wanted to purchase a pair of dress boots as apposed to riding boots. The typical cattle driving cowboy could not afford them and settled for their riding boots. Needless to say, the boots and hats started to get fancy.
As you can see from the above photos, the cowboy boot has evolved. Early Cowboy boots where plain and functional. Since those who wore them did so for riding long distances on a horse, they often included boot spurs. The modern day cowboy boot is lower and fancy with Western Fashion flair and designs.
Like most products that developed in America and as the cowboy boot caught on, they became a manufactured product. As the cowboy boot developed, there emerged an enormous variety of styles and designs. Stitching first appeared on cowboy boots which became highly popular. In the 1930's and 1940's, cowboy boots were transformed with colorful and exotic leathers. The movie industry and Hollywood had a lot to do with the transformation. The silver screen stars tended to want very fancy and exotic cowboy boots which created a huge demand. It was not long until boot makers started developing inlays, cutouts and overlays with leather on cowboy boots and designs soon became endless. Today, the cowboy boot and cowgirl boot is worn, not just by horse riders but as a Western fashion statement.
In the 1960's there was a Cowboy Boot transformation again. While there was still a market for fancy dress boots, a demand for the more plain cowboy boot emerged. Boot makers quickly spotted the trend and most started making both fancy dress boots and plain boots. While many trends come and go, the cowboy and cowgirl boot lives on and will always be worn in many parts of the world. The great thing about them is that it's truly an American development and tradition.
Types Of Cowboy Boot Toe Styles: There are a variety of toe styles on cowboy boots and different manufactures and boot makers name them in different ways. The basic styles include the round toe, the pointed toe (not pictured) the snip toe, the cutter toe and the square toe. There are variations of each style. The original cowboy boot was designed with a narrow toe so one could easily get one's foot in a horse Stirrup.
Types Of Cowboy Heels: Most cowboy boots have a much larger heel than a regular pair of shoes which does back to the original cowboy boot. The term "dig in your heels" likely comes from the large heels on cowboy boots. Note the third heel with the lip that extends beyond the bottom of the boot shaft. This off-set heel is designed so the bottom of a boot spur can wrist on it. Today, there are a huge variety of different types of heels on cowboy boots as they have become a Western fashion statement.
As you now know, there are now literally thousands of types of Cowboy and Cowgirl boots from the plain to the exotic. There are also a wide selection of boot bracelets and boot chains that can adorn Cowboy and Cowgirl boots as well as a huge assortment of boot spurs. Below is some examples of modern made cowboy boots as well as boot accessories.
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