“Houston” by Wheeler Boot Co. (Part 1)



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When I call a cowboy boot a piece of art, I mean it …before I say it out loud, it’s something I argue back and forth in my brain. I take these things very seriously.

These “Houston Boots” by Dave Wheeler are a work of art. Layer upon layer of tiny leather inlay and overlay in 11 shades of green, 9 of blue, 6 of tan, 5 of red and 3 of pink. Colored thread sewn and knotted, in some places every 2 or 3 stitches. Amazing.

(Here is a bigger photo.)

Give these boots a quick look and you might mistake these leather tops for Peter Main’s carved leather or some new-fangled laser printing. But no, every leather piece was hand cut, hand skived, hand pieced, placed and stitched by Dave Wheeler… and no single piece bigger is than an inch or two.

These custom cowboy boots were made by an extraordinary bootmaker, for an extraordinary customer. For more of the story, read: For Houston boot buyer, city is his heart and sole: Local landmarks, sports teams adorn businessman’s fancy footwear, an article by Allan Turner for the Houston Chronicle.

And, let’s get something straight… these boots don’t get to be called art just because they took Dave a long time to make. I’m calling these art, because I have never seen a finer portrait of Houston, TX. When I think back upon my trip to Houston, I can picture the kind folks at Wheeler Boot Company …and then, the city I remember all around them… a dense tangle of landmarks, logos and interstate signage.

Truly… Houston leaves me baffled. I want to pick these boots up in my hands just so I say “Dave, point to where I can find breakfast.”