The cowboy boot’s status as a staple in American culture stems from its iconic beginnings, when worn by the first American homesteaders in the 1800s, according to Boot Barn, the largest western and work wear retailer in the nation. Originating from a need for utilitarian footwear in the American West, much of the cowboy boot’s fixation in American culture is due to its versatility and adaptable character that fashions it as a choice product for any environment.
The cowboy boot originated from utilitarian purposes. It evolved from the vaquero-style boots of the 1600s to the American cowboy boots of the 1800s we are more familiar with today. The slanted cowboy heel was designed to offer more security in the stirrup, the taller shaft to provide enhanced leg protection, and the narrow toe to get in and out of the stirrup with ease—these features were developed out of necessity to support the rugged Western lifestyle as cowboys moved massive herds of cattle from state to state undergoing unforgiving trails and environmental conditions, helped develop frontier towns, and became stewards of the land.
Cowboy boots have transcended into the fashion world simply because they are more than utilitarian—they are pieces of art. From the design elements such as stitching that has an inherent look symbolic of the western aesthetic, to the craftsmanship and care that goes into building a boot, cowboy boots are artfully designed and intricately executed. This is especially true with a handmade or handcrafted boot, where the artisans have the boot in their hands throughout the entire process, reenacting centuries-old bookmaking techniques.
Boot Barn takes cowboy boots very seriously and has for over forty years. They have spent the last four decades in the boot industry studying what makes a good cowboy boot great. The Boot Barn design team studies old cowboy boots as research for further improvements; constantly in pursuit of perfection when it comes to cowboy boots.
Everything circles back to having a function and a purpose. According to Boot Barn, they look for the latest technology to better serve their customers while staying true to the function and needs of the working cowboy. Boot Barn offers timeless pieces with quality craftsmanship that have been constructed to withstand the needs of the cowboy; pieces that, with proper care, will last customers a lifetime.
Boot Barn believes the cowboy boot will continue to grow in popularity in mainstream fashion, reaching beyond American soil. Harnessing themes of grit, a rebellious spirit, hope, and tenacity, this American icon has the dexterity that knows no bounds. As Boot Barn watches this phenomenon unfold, they will continue focusing on the needs and wants of their customers—from the working cowboys to the western-fashion enthusiasts. With the values of the West guiding them, Boot Barn is honored to support each of their customers. Boot Barn is a heritage brand that proudly supports the communities they serve. Since their first store opened in 1978 and still to this day with over 300 stores across 37 states, their goal is to offer a piece of the American spirit.