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.
Noel Escobar will be happy to make you a brand new handmade customfit cowboy boot. He is happy to sell you one of his vintage boots. He will also take your broken-down chewed-up vintage factory boots and restore them to wearable condition.
Noel has more patience and expertise for restoring worn and vintage cowboy boots than anyone I know. Noel will strengthen boot tops with new linings. He’ll relast boots… sometimes adding a wingtip or foxing as an attractive repair. He’ll resole & polish. Click through to the end of the photos to see what can only be called “extreme makeovers.”
Also, Texas Custom Boots adjoins Martinez Brothers Taxidermy, which makes for some great pictures. Come for the boots, stay for the BBQ.
I walk into Allens Boots and ask if it’s okay to take some photos.
Steve says… “Sure, do you want a ladder?”
“Really? I can have a ladder? Oh, yeah…gimme a ladder.”
Which begs the question, “How many boots are there in Allens Boots?” When I asked Steve, he guessed 4,000. But no, the fella in the back with computer and the keyboard (whose job it is to keep count) says… 7,248. Wow… walk into Allens Boots and all the odds are in your favor. Lots of makers, styles and sizes.
With rows and rows of boots, it gets easy to see what’s popular. Lucchese, Old Gringo, Frye, Justin, Tony Lama and Sendra. The girls like all sorts of punchy colors… and the boys in Austin, go for the “car repair” colors… distressed, black, gray and greenish browns leathers. Cowboy boots to match the stuff that drips outa your pickup… to match your scraped knuckles.
Custom made, vintage and popular cowboy boot brands. Advice from author & expert, Jennifer June (& others) about buying cowboy boots online.