The Power of Boots

Photograph by The Voorhes

The cowboy boot is more than a sturdy piece of workwear. It’s more than a fashion statement, too. It’s a vital piece of Texas culture, as complicated, diverse, and ever-evolving as the makeup of our state. We explored the art and culture and traditions that surround the official footwear of Texas—so named by the Texas Lege—with a little help from a few of our favorite neighbors.

Texas Is the State of the Cowboy Boot. But the History Is More Complicated Than You Think.

What we know today as the cowboy boot is a distinctive offshoot of styles favored by Genghis Khan, the Duke of Wellington, and myriad other horsemen throughout history.

boots
Texans and Their Boots: Reflections From a Few of Our Favorite People

The stories, the traditions, and the deeper meanings of the boots in their lives.

Lyle Lovett and boots
An Inside Look at the Making of a Great Cowboy Boot

The master bootmakers at Little’s, in San Antonio, demonstrate what goes into a fine boot.

A pattern for decorative stitching is painstakingly worked into what will be a boot’s shaft.
Behold the Art of the Cowboy Boot: Bolder and Better Crafted Than Ever

Across the state, custom bootmaking legends and their successors are building on a handcrafted tradition with a dizzying array of styles.

cowboy boots

From the Archives

Bootmaker at work
Alive and Kicking

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

Nothing advertises your Texas bona fides more these days than a pair of handmade cowboy boots. Here's everything you need to know about them - how to tell a vamp from a pull, which toe style is right with a suit - and where to buy the best.