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.
I first visited Texas Traditions almost ten years ago. Nowadays, I go every time I’m in Austin.
These are some photos taken during my last couple of trips. Why aren’t there more? …because that would mean I’d have to put down my coffee cup and get up out of my chair. (Please note… even Lee Cooke, a local Austin dignitary, scored only one out of two.)
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Yes, I know how much you love those great old Acme patterns. They’re great. They’ve got the tiniest bits of colored inlay with those 2 rows of stitching swirling around them. .. factory-made minimalism at its best. They are indeed wonderful.
BUT, let’s get couple things straight…
Your feet are too big. Only people like me who are too short to be seen over a deli counter can wear ’em. I can wear vintage Acmes… and you get to order your sandwiches with dignity. That’s just the way things are. Don’t worry, you are a member of a very big club, so to speak.
It is now 2008. Many of these very cool boots were made a looooong time ago. Don’t believe me? I hate to break it to you, but a cowboy boot made in 1945… is now 63 years old. Bargain leather, once worn, now boxed and brittle. And these boots aren’t getting any younger.
Save yourself a pile of grief. When you’re in Austin, TX go to Heritage Boot. Jerry & Patti Ryan are remaking many of the favorite old patterns in present day sizes.
With lots and lots of boots on the shelves…their stock boots range from the $250 to around $700. (Those old Acmes are costing about the same.)
Heritage Boot also sells custom boots made in the Rio Grande Valley. Prices start at $600 for calfskin and bullhides. Delivery is approximately 8 weeks.
This year, I joined Lisa for the show in Phoenix. I signed books and bragged about Lisa’s bootmaking. Lisa measured feet and answered many many questions about cowboy boots and bootmaking.
Lisa’s boots were a naturally “fit” with all the fine Western art that filled the room. Her cowboy boots are “suitable for framing” as you can see from the photos of her booth, but I can personally attest that they are more fun to wear on your feet.