These Boots Were Made For Walking

In historical westerns four things are always in everyone of my stories – Hats (Stetsons usually,) Guns, Horses and Boots. Not necessarily in that order.


But who were the boot makers?


New BootsThe first boots, and for sure the forerunner of the western kind, were reportedly worn by Genghis Kahn way back in the Mongol Empire. He wore a pair of red boots with wooden heels. But definitely the Wellington boots worn in 17th and 18th centuries of England were a precursor of the boots cowboys wear. They rode high on the leg, had a low heel and were made of the same four part construction as cowboy boots.  Soldiers in the Civil War preferred them and when they went home from the war, they took their boots with them.


Old BootsOne on the earliest known cowboy boot makers was Charles Hyer in Olathe, Kansas in 1872. He and his brother Edward founded the Hyer Brothers Boot Company and outfitted many a trail driver.


Down here in Texas as the cattle drives accelerated, bootmakers popped up in the towns along the trails. The Justin Boot Company and the Nocona Boot Company in Texas are among two of the earliest makers of western footwear. I’m sure there were many others. Justin Boots is world famous. It was founded in 1879 and George Strait still wears them today.


Justin Ropers
Worn Justin Ropers

Nocona boots were long made by H. L. Justin before he ever formed the company. He was a maker of fine boots in Spanish Fort, Texas which was on the Chisolm Trail. Cowboys would stop on their way north and let him measure their feet and pick up their boots on the way back.


In 1911, Italian immigrant Tony Lama, who learned the trade at age 11, set up shop in El Paso, Texas and began that lucrative business. Today there are many, many brands.


Boots are worn by rich man and poor, presidents, country singers and the cowboys of today who work the ranches, herding cows and riding the rangeland.


I have three pair of western boots– an old pair I bought in Reno, Nevada in 2002, my Justin Ropers and a new pair I bought last month to wear to NYC to a writers’ conference. The new pair is made by the Abilene Boot Company and they’re as comfortable as my Justins. I’ve always had trouble finding shoes that don’t hurt my feet. I never have to worry about my boots.


So what about you? Have you tried cowboy boots?


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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

21 thoughts on “These Boots Were Made For Walking”

  1. This is an interesting post. I never really put much thought into cowboy boots. I have one pair, but haven’t worn them in a while. Mine have a dressier higher heel.

    • Hi Janine! Thank you for coming by to read my post. Appreciate it. I’ll bet your boots are pretty. Mine are more functional. Since I have balance issues, I can’t wear much of a heel. Dig yours out and go party! Dance with a cowboy!

      Wishing you a wonderful day!

  2. Hi Linda! I’ve only had one pair of boots in my life and they were not cowboy boots. After graduating from nursing school way back when, they were my very first and most special purchase as a treat for myself with my very first paycheck. I had waited and waited and dreamed and dreamed of just the perfect boots. I also got a leather jacket to go with them and thought–all right–I’ve arrived! It was a fun time in my life 🙂 However…I am getting ready to go to a conference in Dallas next month and have been thinking about finally purchasing a pair of feminine cowboy boots – Yeehaw! I believe it is time…

    • Hi Kathryn! Yep my dear, it’s time. Go find a pretty pair of cowboy boots and you’ll look the part of a western historical romance author! They make really pretty ones for ladies–from flashy to practical and everything in between. I’d like to have seen you in leather jacket and boots. Bet you were something.

      Have a great day, Filly sister!

  3. When i was young I had a pair of cowboy boots but now a days I am more comfortable in a pair of good sneakers. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Kim! Thank you for coming by. I always love seeing you. I saw wear what you’re comfortable in. I used to wear sneakers a lot and then I had a big problem with my ankles swelling. The boots keep that from happening so much.

      Have a fantastic day! Do something fun!

  4. Hi Linda,
    I’ll take one pair of each, thank you!!
    But honestly, as much as I like them on others, and I do, they never feel good on my feet. I can’t seem to get a good fit…so its flip flops and sandals for me.

    • Hi Charlene! Glad you like my boots. They’re not fancy at all like some of these young girls wear but then I’m not a young chick anyway. Boots are the standard dress in this part of Texas.


    • Hi Colleen! Thank you for coming. I guess it depends on which part of the country you live. Boots aren’t for everyone. And there in Arizona, they’d be awfully hot. Just wear whatever you’re comfortable with. I wear my boots year round.


  5. I grew up on a farm where cowboy boots were the normal footwear. I still love them because they are so comfortable! I love your pictures of yours.

    • Hi Susan P! Thank you for stopping by. Great to see you. I’m glad you like my blog and glad there’s another boot-wearer on here. Yep, boots are almost mandatory for a farm or ranch. Glad you like mine pictures.


  6. Hi Linda, what a super-duper post today! Of course my heroes wear boots but now I know why and what kind! I have boots I got for my visit to a Bandera ranch, and they are western-ish, but I have a bad foot (bone spurs, no pun intended, and two surgeries so far, ick)…and gotta watch out for too-pointy toes and too-high heels. I love this information. Thank you!

  7. Love your books Linda. No Cowboy boots for me. I have bad feet and lucky to wear a good pain of running shoes and I am spoiled to flip flops right now.

  8. I LOVE my boots! Cowboy and other types! I’ve got a pair of Justin’s that are taller than most – more of an English riding boot style than traditional cowboy. Sadly, they are kinda stretched out and loose in the foot. I’ve also got a pair of Lucchese’s that are amazingly comfortable. If I didn’t need a sole that had more traction I’d wear them to work and I am on my feet all day.

  9. Last week I finally tried riding in cowgirl boots. It was amazing. I have a pair of boulets and I love them.They are really pretty and so comfortable and protected my feet when I got kicked by my daughter’s horse. I have no excuse for waiting so long to try them out… beats wear in tennis shoes.

  10. I did have a pair of cute cowboy boot with a butterfly design on them. I haven’t seen them in a while, so my daughter may have them. They were never very comfortable. They were too narrow and pinched my feet. I noticed some of yours have a wider rounded toe. That is the style I should have tried. I know one of my daughters has several pair and loves them.
    For the hours they worked, I am sure it was important for cowboys to have good comfortable boots on their feet. Thanks for an interesting post on something I really hadn’t given much thought about. They certainly didn’t have the convenient options we do today.

  11. Boots makes me think of my dad. He always wore them. Didn’t have a pair of tennis shoes until he moved into the nursing home (at age 90) and his feet were too swollen to get his boots on.
    That was a sad day for him- not to be able to wear his boots any more.

  12. I’ve never worn cowboy boots regularly. I May Just have to give it a try, I want Red Ropers. I’ve worn fashion boots and found only the riding boots are really comfortable. But, when I was in my early 20’s I wore Minnetonka moccasins with fringe. They were called squaw boots back then. Ahhhhh. Comfortable. Nice post, Linda. ?

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