“You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know.” — Oscar Wilde (Novelist, 1854-1900)
Sometimes the choices that come with a pair of custom cowboy boots can be overwhelming. No worry. Here’s your step-by-step guide to buying custom boots.
Follow along and have fun every step of the way!
Get inspired! (Hey. If you’ve found this website, you’re halfway there.) Look at the photos in the cowboy boot books and bootmaker websites.
Don’t just look at the fancy tops. Look at the shapes of the toes and heels. Look for color combinations and leathers you might like on your own pair. Mark the book pages with post-its, and print out your favorite cowboy boot photos (along with their web address.)
Create a cowboy boot “rough draft.” Decide on your basic style preferences.
Your bootmaker will ask you to choose a type of leather, color, toe shape, heel height and top height for your cowboy boots.
Why choose a tall top over a short top? (or vice versa?) Don’t worry. Right now, you don’t have to have every detail figured out… just make a few basic choices. I’ve created an easy worksheet [PDF] to help get you ready to talk to bootmakers about your likes and dislikes.
Print: Worksheet: Boot Design Choices (.pdf 126 KB)
Samples: Style options at the Tres Outlaw Boot Co. (html)
Listen: Click the play button or download the mp3. (9.2 MB)
Call bootmakers for pricing and delivery information (…or download my handy eDirectory.)
Ask each bootmaker…
Are you taking new customers?
What’s your starting price?
How many months until delivery?
Do you accept measurements through the mail? …or do I need to get measured in person?
See: Map of Custom Bootmakers
Download: eDirectory of Cowboy Bootmakers …you’ll find a bootmaker in half the time!
Choose a bootmaker. Every customer’s got different amounts of money and patience. Every bootmaker’s got a different style & specialty. The decision is up to you.
(If you get stuck on this step… you can buy an hour of my time. It’s a quick way to get your questions answered and help you choose a bootmaker.) Remember, the quicker you order, the quicker you’ll get your boots.
Get your feet measured. Visit the shop for measuring, or take measurements yourself. (Actually it works better if you ask a friend to help you.)
Sample: Instructions from Rocketbuster Boots (.pdf 196 KB)
Finalize your order and pay your deposit. The deposit is usually about half of the boot’s total price. Ask if your bootmaker takes credit cards, don’t assume. Confirm your final style choices and artwork with your bootmaker.
Wait …until your bootmaker has finished your boots. (This is the hardest step of all!)
Pay the remainder of money owed. For a first time customer, most bootmakers will call and ask for payment, then ship your boots.
Get your boots! Wear ’em, enjoy ’em…and repeat!
A pair of custom cowboy boots can give you more the 10 years of good service. It’s worth putting a little time and thought into gettin’ a boot that truly makes you happy.