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 thisâ€”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 lookâ€¦ 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.