Tag Archives: Texas

Ray Jones Boots

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RecentIy, I got an email that went something like this…
Hi Jennifer … I have five pair of Ray Jones Boots in original boxes almost new!!! One pair worn once!! Any ideas on how to market these to collectors?


Now, Ray Jones (Lampasas, TX) is one of those bootmakers who never used labels. That said, I can usually tell a Ray Jones boot just by looking at it. And so can you….
  • The photos above show boots in 2 stitch patterns …that’s one more than I thought Ray had (just kidding.)
  • Look for white piping up the sides, regardless of the color of the boot. That’s a central Texas thing, from Lampasas …up to the Panhandle
  • Ray Jones signature toe stitching or “toebug.” Wide arrowhead tongue shape.
  • Mr. Jones has been called the “King of the Pegs.” He was known to use as many as 300 pegs per pair. Turn a boot over and look for 3 rows of pegs along the arch.

And, finally Ray Jones boots are visually “sturdy,” not tough…sturdy. The have what I call a “standy-uppy” quality that other boots don’t seem to have, even after 30 years. Legend has it, if you manage to take apart a Ray Jones boot top …there might be 1 to 3 layers of brown paper stuck between the leather. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

Remember, when you can’t find a label in a vintage cowboy boot, you want to look for the story. One like this…
I purchased these boots from the original owner in Texas who cherished them. Kept them in the original boxes and wore them very few times!! It was a rare chance to purchase them and hear how he saved up to buy Jones Boots every year or two because of the long waiting lists in Lampasas. He told me Mrs. Jones would sign the inside boot tops with the customers name in her script. One of these boots which has a Lampasas, Texas postmark on the box (Aug. 1981) was signed …… Jones & Ray Jones bootmakers in Lampasas, Texas. I have never seen that in a RJ Boot before? Their were no labels in a RJ Boot nor a label on his boot boxes.
These boots will be showing up on eBay soon. Keep an eye on the seller’s listings.
Best of luck on your bidding. They are beautiful boots.

Travel Tip


I love driving through Texas visiting boot shops, but I know I’m in trouble when I hear…

“Turn at the second dirt road on your right”

“Look for a brown fence with some horses.”

“We’re on the left, down the driveway…back a-ways. The shop’s behind the house.”

Yeah, right. Sure thing.

Here’s my travel tip… forget GPS. At times like this, I find my way with DQ.

What’s “DQ”…you ask?

After you get lost, drive back to town, and park at the Dairy Queen. Then you call the shop with your cel phone. The bootmaker will either give you more detailed directions (usually having to do with the color of the mailbox, the spots on the horses, or maybe the truck parked out front) …OR if you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear these wonderful words…

“Just wait there. I’ll come and get you.” (Yay!)

These are some photos I took when I visited Tom Smith in Aspermont, Texas. Tom makes a beautiful sturdy cowboy boot. Sometimes I think hard working cowboys pick such bright punchy colors, so at least some of the color can manage to fight its way through all the dust and muck.

Tom’s shop looks small on the outside, but feels big on the inside…I’m not sure how that works.

Tom Smith Custom Boots
PO Box 482
Aspermont, TX 79502
(940) 989-3385

Cowboy Boot & Saddlemaker Round-Up 2008

Once a year America’s boot and saddlemakers meet up in Wichita Falls, Texas. There is a swap meet, and a boot and saddle contest. It’s a cross between a trade show and a family reunion.

This year was extra special with two days of seminars/classes on bootmaking, clowns, and a night of karaoke (I kid you not.) Next year’s show will be October 2-3, 2009… you may need to bring your own clowns, so call ahead. See you there!

Here are the winners of this year’s boot contest…

Journeyman (built fewer than 15 pairs:)
Winner – Ephraim Glueck (Waco, TX)
Runner up – Bruce Bowers (Krum, TX)

Working Cowboy Boot:
Winner – Mike Vaughn (Bowie, TX)
Runner up – Alfred Reynolds (Wickenburg, AZ)

Winner — James Redman (Mertzon, TX)
Runner up – Alfred Reynolds (Wickenburg, AZ)

Dress Boot:
Winner — Alfred Reynolds (Wickenburg, AZ)
Runner up — C.E. “Cowboy” Loveless (Hugo, OK)

Master’s Class:
Winner — Carl Chappell (Saint Jo, TX)

Professional’s Choice:
Winner — Alfred Reynolds (Wickenburg, AZ)


You can visit my Flickr page to view larger versions of the photos, and to post comments and notes on top of the photos.

Texas Custom Boots (Austin, TX)

Texas Custom Boots is truly a full-service boot shop.

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.