History of Cowboy Boots

The story of the cowboy boot is similar to that of many Wild West tales.

No one knows for sure where it came from or who made the first pair. Some say it originated in Texas, others say Kansas. But we like to think cowboy boots were first made right here in the Lone Star State.

After all, Texas is known for its rich tradition of boot making — as much as it is for its cattle ranches, oil, and horses. (It’s also the home state of City Boots founder Lizzy Chesnut Bentley, who grew up in Amarillo with a strong affinity for cowboy boots.) 

No matter where the first pair was made, cowboy boots have always been equated with quality craftsmanship and design.

In the Beginning 

When cowboys started driving cattle across the country after the Civil War, they found that traditional cavalry boots didn’t pass muster. They needed boots better suited for long trail rides, through the brush and brambles, creeks and rivers, and riding steadily over rough terrain. This required taller shafts to protect their legs, thick leathers to keep their feet dry, pointed toes for slipping easily into the stirrups, and thicker heels for holding them in place.

Fashion Meets Function 

Eventually, the cowboy boot became trendy among gunslingers, gamblers, and bounty hunters, who began commissioning more ornate designs meant for show, as opposed to the functional riding boots favored by cowboys. By the 1940s, Hollywood took notice and stars of the silver screen turned to bootmakers with custom requests, looking to incorporate everything from exotic leathers to overlays to hand-tooled monograms into their designs. Suddenly, cowboy boots were more than just workwear; they were fashion statements.   

Embracing Tradition 

We like to think that the best cowboy boot is a union of functionality and fashion — one befitting of both the rodeo and Rodeo Drive. That’s precisely why City Boots founder Lizzy Bentley designed a boot that’s both classic and contemporary, stylish and comfortable, elegant and understated — and, most importantly, handcrafted to hold up as you blaze your own trail.

“We’re honoring all the heritage and traditions of boot making, both in style and construction,” Lizzy says, “while also making boots that are wearable for the everyday girl — who can wear them anywhere she’s headed.”

 

 

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