Who doesn’t love cowboy boots? These fabulous examples of footwear check off all the boxes since they’re stylish, functional, and full of character due to their interesting history. Whether you’re new to the world of cowboy boots or have spent years collecting pairs, you may wonder about the history. When did they first come into existence? Why did people create the boots, to begin with? Get answers to all your questions and more in this journey into the history of cowboy boots.
The First Cowboy Boots
Although we’d all love to know the fashion icon who created the first pair of cowboy boots, no one really knows who exactly did this. We know the first pair of Western boots took the stage around 1865 in Kansas or Texas. Where else would it be but the Wild West? Due to the environment, there was a need for footwear fit for riding and hiking for hours.
Western Boots Began As Tools
We couldn’t cover the history of cowboy boots and where it all started without also mentioning why shoemakers created these boots. In the beginning, people didn’t make cowboy boots for fashion but instead for function, though the boots have always been stylish. Cobblers made these shoes to help protect cowboys’ legs and feet during hikes or while riding a horse around the ranch.
Essentially, these boots were tools that made daily work on the ranch a bit easier. And thanks to their durability, they also helped cover the wearer’s legs against snake bites.
Cowboy Boots and Leather
Leather was the perfect material for a boot that many people wore for hours at a time because the material was sturdy, comfortable, and breathable. This means you could spend hours wearing these beauties any time of year without worrying about your feet overheating or blistering.
While cowhide was the first leather type used to construct Western boots since it was cost efficient and easy to obtain, people use various types today. These include:
- Snake leather
- Ostrich leather
- Alligator leather
- Kangaroo leather
Some cowboy boot enthusiasts prefer to stick to tradition, but others love the texture and look these exotic leathers create. Shop for great options at Country View Western Store if you want to add a pair of cowboy boots to your wardrobe, whether they’re cowhide or something more exotic!
Interesting Influences in Style
Western boots pulled some inspiration from English riding boots, military boots like the Wellington, and the Vaquero—a boot style from Spain. Interestingly, the Hessian boot also influenced Western boots with its pointed toe shape.
Cobblers found inspiration from all these boot types during the development of the traditional Western cowboy boots. This is also one reason we see various toe shapes and heel heights.
The Wellington Boot
Many boot lovers will tell you that we have the style of the Wellington to thank for many aspects of the cowboy boot. Not only did these British military boots have a one-inch heel, but they also featured a rounded toe and long shaft. Likewise, bootmakers created the Wellington with horseback riding in mind, which greatly influenced this key use for the Western boot.
Cowboy Boot Bonus Fact
Before cars, many people moved around via horseback, so they needed boots that made slipping into stirrups simple. Some also believe that the design of cowboy boots is in part thanks to English riding boots. Like Western boots, English riding boots are leather, and various forms have existed since the 11th century!
While Wellington boots inspired some style aspects, so did Vaqueros. These were basically Spain’s equivalent of cowboy boots. This footwear took functionality and safety into consideration, sharing quite a bit with Western boots.
Cowboy Boots Today
Today, many people still wear cowboy boots but don’t necessarily consider them tools like individuals did back in the day. Plenty of people working on a ranch wear work boots to keep comfortable during long hours, while others reserve a pair of riding boots for horseback riding. However, this isn’t always the case since some prefer them for fashion, as well.
As Western boots grew in popularity, they took the fashion industry by storm and became more than functional footwear. But what led to such a drastic shift? Hollywood cinema, of course!
Hollywood Transformed Cowboy Boots
By the 1930s and 1950s, various Western films boomed in popularity. Because of where these movies took place, actors wore cowboy boots to really set the scene as they took viewers to the Wild West. Soon after, cowboy boots appeared in magazines. Even models began sporting pairs, leading to further evolution.
Shoemakers began experimenting with different stitching styles and dyed leathers to create pairs of boots that stood out to buyers. This takes us to where we are today, with various heel heights, leathers, stitch designs, and toe shapes to choose from.
Shop for Western Boots
Covering the history of cowboy boots and where it all started has been fun. Now you may want a pair more than ever! Shopping for the perfect Western boots can be a challenge, but it becomes easier when you narrow down your search. Before you hit the stores or begin your online shopping, consider two key aspects:
- What the boots are for: Will you use them for line dancing, everyday wear, a specific practical purpose, or something else?
- Your personal style: What are the colors, leathers, and textures you typically prefer?
Noting these details will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by all the incredible options you’ll come across, and buying your boots will remain exciting. Of course, everyone has a different preference, which is why brands offer so many options.
And if you have concerns about when to wear your Western boots, put an end to this now. Plenty of people wear their cowboy boots regardless of the season because they’re suitable all year. Likewise, these beauties pair well with any attire. This includes everything from jeans for a night out to a wedding gown for a rustic ceremony.
Country View Western Store
Are you looking for a country store in Goldsboro, NC? If so, buy your cowboy boots online at Country View Western Store. We have various boots for men, women, and kids so that anyone can show off their sense of style! Everyone needs a pair of Western boots in their closet, so purchase yours today.