Cowboy Boot Photo Glossary – Inlay


Shapes are cut out of a boot top, and layers of colorful leather are placed underneath. The inlays are held in place with one or more rows of stitching.

A simple, wonderful pair vintage boots. The the red hearts and the white flashes are inlay …bordered by 2 rows of yellow stitches.

Inlay can be crude, like it was pounded out with a cookie cutter. In the 1950’s, the factory makers of kids cowboy boots were clever at this—simple punchy shapes like pistols, stars, longhorns and ponies. Yee haw!

Inlay can be fancy. Here is a special “behind the scenes” look at leather inlay. The cowboy boots made by Texas Traditions (Austin, TX) have an undeniably elegant look… this photo essay teaches you a few of the shop secrets. Even their simple designs get a fine touch. The shapes are cut into the boot tops using a sharpened blade fashioned from a sewing machine needle. The leather inlay pieces are thinned down at their edges with a sharp knife (“skived.”) And, the rows of stitched are placed one at a time. Beautiful.

You can see more finished boots made by Lee Miller, here.
Unfortunately, the shop is no longer accepting new customers.

Photo by Marty Snortum.