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Cowboy Boots
By Rayni Joan

On the day my first son took his first steps, his dad ran out and bought the baby the smallest cowboy boots he could find. Luckily, it was a year before they fit. (As new walkers, babies are supposed to wear soft shoes for proper foot development) Even though we lived in Brooklyn, New York, not Texas, there was a new pair of cowboy boots for our son every year for his first six years. Women inevitably cooed over the cute little boots, but our son rebelled when he noticed that none of his peers wore cowboy boots. Only sneakers would do from then on.

What is it about cowboy boots that holds such appeal? Are we who like cowboy boots whether we ride horses or not, wannabe cowboys and cowgirls? (Alas, "cow-women" doesn't work, nor does "cow-people") It's not as though we urban dwellers need cowboy boots to protect ourselves from rattlesnakes, brush, and mesquite. Do men who wear cowboy boots like the extra height along with the safety of a masculine image? Is it the way cowboy boots invoke the romance and ruggedness of old cowboy legends?

Although the popularity of cowboy boots has remained as steady as Stetsons in Texas and Oklahoma, in other parts of the world the cowboy boot fad waxes and wanes like hemlines. Nowadays, kids don't grow up with Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans or other Western heroes sporting cowboy boots. But in the 21st Century, other trendy models have emerged like Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan whom boot-makers can thank for driving a renaissance of the fashion craze. Cowboy boots are wildly popular again with no foreseeable end.

If cared for and serviced lovingly, cowboy boots can last for years. You can buy them off the shelf or, if you can afford it, have them custom made just for your feet. Vintage cowboy boots are a popular e-Bay item.

I must admit, I love the comfort and look of cowboy boots and have worn them for years. My solid reds, almost ten years old, newly re-dyed, are my favorites.

Links:

For a number of links to history of Western boots, see http://www.dimlights.com/boots/lore/history.htm

There's a good history at http://www.shoeinfonet.com

Read "The Art of the Boot" a Teas Monthly history of cowboy boots from Tyler Beard's book The Art of the Boot at:

http://www.texasmonthly.com/mag/issues/hot/2000-01-01/artoftheboot.html