How to Make Western Boots by Dave McKinney & Dennis Cottle. This book is a great place to start… affordable and easy to read.
“Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.”
— Matsuo Basho
If you have been reading Tyler Beard’s Cowboy Boot Book, you might have gotten to this page looking for more information about the bootmaking school at Oklahoma State University at Okmulgee. Sorry. It’s gone. Closed. (For a time, the Shoe, Boot and Saddle Program had moved to the Green Country Technology Center, but that program too has closed. )
If you want to learn bootmaking there are experienced bootmakers who are wiling to teach you.
16 July 2018 (updated)
Alden’s School of Leather Trades (Rogue River, OR) Classes are offered in boot making, leather carving, holster and chap making. The Western bootmaking class is 3 weeks long and limited to 3 students at a time. Call (541) 659-1260 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chappell Bootmaking Seminars. Carl Chappell (Saint Jo, TX) is a second generation bootmaker, who offers 2 week intensive group classes and one-on-one seminars. Consider taking a group class — working along side other students will provide you with an opportunity to see a wider variety of boot making techniques, and will provide you with a start to your professional network. Class size limited to 6 students, offered a few times a year. You’ll also receive a set of DVDs and at the shop’s “Boot Book” as part of your Basic Boot Making seminar. Contact: CT Chappell Boot Shop (940) 995-2600 (or write: email@example.com)
Dan & Keni Schwarz This father-daughter team teaches 2 week courses in bootmaking in Dillon, Montana. Students spend all of their time in a working boot shop and gain a basic understanding of the boot business. Affordable housing available locally. Contact Schwarz Custom Boots at (406) 683-6652, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Sorrell (Guthrie, OK) teaches very small boot making classes, which often fill quickly. Fortunately, Lisa also teaches larger seminars away from the shop on special topics, like leather inlay and overlay. Contact Lisa Sorrell for her year’s calendar and consider buying her boot making DVD while you wait. Call (405) 282-5464.
Blucher Custom Boot Company in Beggs, OK is the oldest custom design, made-to-measure boot company in America. Bootmaker, James “Smitty” Smith will take one student at a time. Call (918) 267-5393 for details.
Jim Brainard (Parker, CO) offers top to bottom bootmaking instruction. Expertise in boot repair and shop machines. Call (303) 946-4930 for more information and class scheduling. — new listing!
DeWitt Custom Leatherworks (Henryetta, OK) Mike DeWitt taught at the Oklahoma bootmaking schools for many years. He now teaches one on one custom courses at his shop, tailored to the needs of each student. Call (918) 304-4231 or email: Mdewittsaddles@gmail.com
David Espinoza (Phoenix, AZ) teaches bootmaking and boot repair, with over 40 years of experience. Coursework customized to student needs. Call (602) 263-8164 or visit espinozabootmaker.com
D.W. Frommer II (Redmond, OR) offers three week seminars in the classic western boot–no plastic, no paper, no nails. All seminars take place in a “working” bootshop. D.W. is the author of three books — full tutorials, really — covering the construction of different styles of western boots. The first of those books, Western Bootmaking: An American Tradition, has also been made into a 27 hour instructional video. D.W. Frommer recently won the Will Rogers Bootmaker of the Year Award from the Academy of Western Artists …an honor bestowed by a panel of his peers for a “Lifetime of Achievement.” Call (541) 923-3808 or email: email@example.com
Roberto Herrera School of Bootmaking (Tijuana, México) Offers a Classic Shoe and Bootmaking intensive Workshop. One student at a time. Spanish not required. Learn how to make a pair of classic shoes or western boots with Roberto Herrera. His workshop and home are located in quiet neighborhood near UABC university, where there are nearby beaches, cafes and local shops to visit when you are not working on making your boots. From California or other US States call (408) 217-3147 (Local Tijuana B. C. Mexico #: 664-607-1688 ) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Hutchings – “Hutch” has retired from bootmaking and now offers very limited bootmaking instruction. Contact Jim Brainard for more information and availability (303) 946-4930. Classes will be taught in Parker, Colorado.
McGlasson Custom Boots (Spokane, WA) Gary and Clara McGlasson take one student at a time for private bootmaking classes that last 2 or 3 weeks. Call (509) 891-1756, or email the shop at email@example.com
McGuffin Custom Boots (Albuquerque, NM) Deana McGuffin offers two different types of one-on-one teaching. 1) Enjoy a two-week learning vacation in historic Albuquerque, New Mexico and make your own boots!… or 2) Get personalized coaching and instruction for those with a serious interest in the bootmaking business. Call Deana McGuffin at (505) 550-1113 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Deana also teaches courses in California @ Sewing Arts …see below.
[Note: Mr. Jack Reed (Burnet, TX) passed away in Fall 2004.]
Learn Bootmaking from Tex Robin. Learn bootmaking from a 2nd generation bootmaker with over 40 years experience. Two week courses — one student per course. Contact Tex Robin at (325) 691-5700 (or write: 2081 Sayles Blvd., Abilene TX 79605). E-mail: email@example.com
Al Reynolds (Wickenburg, AZ) teaches bootmaking when he feels like it… and only teaches people he enjoys spending time with. Call him at (623) 633-2696. — updated listing!
Jack Rowin taught bootmaking in Manton, California for a very long time. Jack passed away in 2015. He is very much missed. Click here for a student’s Video Tribute (It’s wonderful.)
Private & Semi-Private Boot Making with Deana McGuffin at Sewing Arts in Santa Monica, California. In consultation with Deana, you’ll schedule 10 days of bootmaking. All supplies and tools provided. No more than 1 or 2 students will be scheduled at any one time. See website for details and pricing.
Woodward Custom Boots offers a 2 week start-to-finish bootmaking course in Boulder, CO (…only 30 miles from Denver.). For more information contact, John Woodward at (619) 504-5867 (or email him through his website at http://johnallenwoodward.com.
TIP: For bootmaking supplies, tools and helpful expertise visit the Custom Cowboy Boots & Shoes Forum.
(Please note: Illustration on this page courtesy of D.W. Frommer II)