Category Archives: Common Questions

Repair. Outbound.

7C42B2C1-AFF6-4A3D-A32B-38CFBE842E76These are my black & white boots. I wear them to weddings, dive bars and tv talk shows. I love these boots…and it shows.

I’m sending them to Raúl Ojeda , so he can make them pretty again.
Raúl is among the trusted few. I can put my boots in a box and mail them to him and all I have to say is “Please make them pretty, like they used to be.” He knows what I mean… and what is at stake. He knows that if the white stitches were erased with polish or ink, well…

I would be sad.

My heart would shatter into a thousand tiny pieces, and crunch on the shop floor like broken glass. Bits of my heart would get stuck in the tread of the UPS guy’s sneakers. Each night, when the men swept up the thread and the tacks, they would find a few more pieces… they would forget until they remembered,  on and on for years …and years, and their hearts would ache like a poem.

Raúl knows all that.

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Willie’s Shoe Service
1174 S La Brea Avenue (between La Brea & Edgewood)
Los Angeles CA 90019
(323) 463-5011

Buying Kids Boots


There is nothing better than getting a pair of cowboy boots for Christmas. If you are buying kids boots online, get them from (I say this every year.)

Since there is a chance your child will outgrow the boots before you get them out of the box… buying from Zappos means you and/or your loved ones have 365 days to return the boots. Free shipping, free exchanges, free returns. Lots of styles. You can’t beat this.


Ariat kids boots often come with something they call Booster Bed technology. As your child’s feet grow, you can remove the Booster Bed from underneath the insole to give their feet some extra room. Look for this in the description in their girls‘ and boys‘ boots.

Roper Boots have the best glitter and bling. And cowboy boots that light up! The girls boots have names like, “Roper Kids Floral Glitter Snip Toe”  …which follow through on their promise. The Roper boys boots look like they are up to trouble.

…and I think pull holes on kids cowboy boots are the best thing ever.

Ray Jones Boots

Get the flash player here:

RecentIy, I got an email that went something like this…
Hi Jennifer … I have five pair of Ray Jones Boots in original boxes almost new!!! One pair worn once!! Any ideas on how to market these to collectors?


Now, Ray Jones (Lampasas, TX) is one of those bootmakers who never used labels. That said, I can usually tell a Ray Jones boot just by looking at it. And so can you….
  • The photos above show boots in 2 stitch patterns …that’s one more than I thought Ray had (just kidding.)
  • Look for white piping up the sides, regardless of the color of the boot. That’s a central Texas thing, from Lampasas …up to the Panhandle
  • Ray Jones signature toe stitching or “toebug.” Wide arrowhead tongue shape.
  • Mr. Jones has been called the “King of the Pegs.” He was known to use as many as 300 pegs per pair. Turn a boot over and look for 3 rows of pegs along the arch.

And, finally Ray Jones boots are visually “sturdy,” not tough…sturdy. The have what I call a “standy-uppy” quality that other boots don’t seem to have, even after 30 years. Legend has it, if you manage to take apart a Ray Jones boot top …there might be 1 to 3 layers of brown paper stuck between the leather. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

Remember, when you can’t find a label in a vintage cowboy boot, you want to look for the story. One like this…
I purchased these boots from the original owner in Texas who cherished them. Kept them in the original boxes and wore them very few times!! It was a rare chance to purchase them and hear how he saved up to buy Jones Boots every year or two because of the long waiting lists in Lampasas. He told me Mrs. Jones would sign the inside boot tops with the customers name in her script. One of these boots which has a Lampasas, Texas postmark on the box (Aug. 1981) was signed …… Jones & Ray Jones bootmakers in Lampasas, Texas. I have never seen that in a RJ Boot before? Their were no labels in a RJ Boot nor a label on his boot boxes.
These boots will be showing up on eBay soon. Keep an eye on the seller’s listings.
Best of luck on your bidding. They are beautiful boots.

Cowboy Boots in Kill Bill 2

If you don’t know the storyline… four years after surviving a bullet in the head, the Bride (Uma Thurman) emerges from a coma and swears revenge on her former boss and his deadly squad of international assassins. In one of her many misadventures, the Bride is buried alive…in a graveyard, in a lonely dark pine box, under six feet of dirt.

Lucky for her, she was buried with her boots on…and I’ve gotten quite a bit of e-mail from women wanting a pair just like ’em. So help me out here…use the comments section below. What can we tell from this valuable copyright-infringing clip?

  • Eagle inlaid on a two-piece top, right?
  • Star inlay at the collar.
  • Two rows of stitching on the eagle-wing inlay …or just one?

Who’s the maker do ya think? (I couldn’t see a label inside the boot. Can you?)

Click here for some fun facts about this movie.

The fate of OSU-Okmulgee’s Boot & Saddlemaking Program

“It is with regret that we officially announce OSU-Okmulgee’s decision to close our Shoe, Boot & Saddle program of study. NO new students will be accepted for enrollment this spring 2005, and SBS technical courses will be offered only through December 2005.” (Source)

Yes, the rumors are true…Oklahoma State is closing it’s Boot & Saddlemaking Program*, but all is not lost. I spoke with longtime instructor Mike DeWitt today and he tells me the program will be moved to nearby Green Country Technology Center.

You can contact the Center at (918) 758-0840.

Details will follow, but students will begin their courses in August 2005.

Mr. DeWitt thinks the move will benefit both the program and its new students. The program will be housed in a brand new building …custom-built to meet its instructional and equipment needs. And students will no longer be burdened with general education requirements like history, math and speech classes.

Mike DeWitt has agreed to follow the program to its new location…at least long enough to make sure it gets off to a good strong start.

*OSU-Okmulgee’s Boot & Saddle program is the only one of it’s kind remaining in the United States.

Alumni of the OSU program include:

  • Brian C. Thomas (Abilene, TX)
  • James “Smitty” Smith (Beggs, OK)
  • Lee Miller (Austin, TX)
  • Glenderson Daly (San Antonio,TX)

If you would like to add names to this list, please use the “comments” link below.