Hand-making a pair of boots is no simple task. In fact, it takes tact and loads of experience to get to the point where you can be a master artisan. You’ll notice so many fine details in a fine set of cowboy boots since people have made them by hand for hundreds of years.
This means that the owner of a pair of cowboy boots knows that the artisan created the boots to be the best they can be. Here is a step-by-step look at handmade cowboy boots to give you further insight into the matter.
Because cowboy boots come in so many different styles, there are many choices to choose from. To add to that, you also have to think about the boot’s design. Consider the stitching that goes alongside the shaft and the boots’ colors before creating a pair.
Considering the inlays and stitching alone might take some time and serious thought if you want to make a dazzling original creation. Finally, you have to choose the right boot shape for you.
Some people care more while others care less about the boot’s shape. The new fad is the exotic square toe cowboy boots that ropers tend to wear for the rodeo. If you’re more casual about it, you might go for the rounded toe. This boot shape helps when you’re straddling a horse in stirrups.
Create a Rough Draft
Now that you’ve done a little bit of brainstorming about what you think you would like to make your boot into, you will need to create a rough draft of it. This is so that you don’t miss any of those fine details along the way.
You can also erase and add on anything that dawns on you while you’re in the creative process of making your boots. A huge component of cowboy boots that the makers like to concentrate on is the quality of the leather and the heels.
Let’s talk about the leather for a moment. You must give credit where credit is due, and leather is something that many don’t understand. But the striking thing about leather is what you can do with it.
You can leave it as is, or you can polish it. You can burn it for darker colors or give it oil treatments to preserve and darken it. You can brand it and cut designs into it. There are so many different avenues you can take, but what you choose to do with your boots is ultimately up to you.
To understand how to make the boot, we will have to go piece-by-piece and break down how everything fits together. First, you will create the upper once the draft is in place. Then, the wearer will determine the size and style.
The upper part of the boot consists of the shaft—the stretch of leather that covers your calves and shins. Sometimes, the shaft can come all the way up to your knees. When you look at the shaft of a set of cowboy boots, you will see that they are typically heavily ornamented and bejeweled, creating a memorable set of boots.
The inlay of the stitching that goes on the shaft alone is impressive, but after adding everything else, it’s a stunning sight. You can also create designs from either stitching or cutting of leather strips and adding them in with inlay. The possibilities are endless for decorating the shaft of your boots.
This part of the boot consists mainly of the rear, which is also known as the counter. Then, you have the vamp, which is where you move away from the counter to the front end of the inside of the boot.
You also have what is known as the insole that is hand-stretched last to give the middle part some wiggle room. This keeps the wearer comfortable. This piece is hand-stretched and hand-stitched for ultimate comfort.
One aspect of creating the lower that we haven’t touched upon yet is that after establishing the lower, you will join it with the upper as one piece. This requires a steady hand for stretching and shaping while gluing. Then, stitching is the final step to bring the two parts of the boot together.
Finally, the last part of the boot we haven’t mentioned yet is the bottom. The part that sits between the insole and the ground is known as the welt. This is where the lower and the sole come together. The welt is a strip of leather that you stitch in between the bottom and the sole to bring both together firmly.
Once this is in place, you can glue the heel on and nail it in place. This step is crucial to bringing the final product together as one piece. If you fail to cut and sew the weld correctly, you will create an unsteady boot.
The same applies to the heels if you don’t shape or apply them correctly. Gluing the heels takes time; you want to ensure that you create the bond and that the glue is in place. Nailing the heel is an extra precaution so that they don’t ever loosen or come off.
Now, you can trim all the remaining excess leather or stitching off the sides and back of the boots. Then, you can apply dyes to the boots and allow them to set in place for a nice finish. Finally, you can polish and buff the boots before sending them off to their new owner. You can now start working on your next pair of boots.
Although we might have covered a step-by-step look at handmade cowboy boots, you shouldn’t attempt to do this yourself. It’s a trade and a privilege to learn how to make custom boots like these, and you must learn it from a master artisan before you can truly understand all the fine details. Once you do this, you can dial in and tune all the aspects that you have learned when crafting cowboy boots.