Tag Archives: vintage

Vintage Cowboy Boots with an Eagle Inlay

“Eagle boots” were insanely popular during the early 1950’s. In large part because of the patriotism and prosperity our country felt following World War II, but also because of big western stars like Roy Rogers (remembered for his wide-winged eagle inlays in red, white and blue.)

Pictured here is a great pair of vintage boots. The eagle is made by overlaying leather in two colors, gold and green…on top of the boot’s white vamp. This is the best “eagle toe” I have ever seen. [zoom]

What makes it so great?

  • The cut-outs mimick the shape of the boot’s toe…going from wide to narrow somewhat gradually.
  • The toe design is bold to balance the heavily inlayed top and mule ear* …even without the bird’s head, the overlay makes a great “wing”tip.
  • The eagle’s head sits well above the wrinkles across the vamp at the boot. It’s unfortunate how often wrinkles and folds wreck the detail of the beak and eye.
  • The row of yellow stitiching provides a nice sharp outline. Even after all these years.

Remember! An eagle on a toe of a boot does not need to be an exact match for the eagle on your boot top.

On this pair, the bird on the toe has narrow wings that reach high over his head. The eagle on the top has widespead veined wings, almost like a butterfly.

(* You get to see the entire boot in April 2007 when my book comes out.)

Photos by Jennifer June.

Boots belong to Karen Robinson.

Vintage Cowboy Boots at “Cowboy Legends”

Buying vintage cowboy boots at Cowboy Legends couldn’t be any easier. Hundreds of pairs of “pre-enjoyed” boots… and all but a handful in wearable condition.

The only mystery is where did they came from? Row by row, they sit …lookin’ like their owners may be back for them anytime, these aren’t your thrift store cast-offs.

I literally spent hours enjoying the hospitality of shop owners, Lynné and Larry Jennings. Cowboy Legends is full of vintage boots, and overflowing with stories.

Get to the shop early, bring your coffee cup, and if you’re lucky there’ll still be an empty seat near the front desk. Cowboy Legends is a unique kind of “clubhouse” attracting boot collectors and more than a few other local “characters.”

this is an audio post - click to play

Benefits of buying vintage cowboy boots:

  • Good prices.
  • Better materials and craftsmanship then today’s ready-made boots.
  • Toe styles, leather colors & types you can’t find anymore except by ordering a custom pair.
  • Fit and color fading are known quantities.
  • … you will look sexy, cool and wise beyond your years.

Hanging on the wall are paintings (zoom) by longtime boot collector, Jack Pressler (see the Cowboy Boot Book, p. 116). Many of Jack’s paintings inspired classic Rocketbuster boot designs. Do you remember the old “True Love” boots?

Jack stopped in during my visit to Cowboy Legends …so I got to ask him, “Why there are so many vintage cowboy boots in Santa Fe?” He explained it’s because for all of history Santa Fe has been a trade route…first for the Indians, then for the Spanish… the Mexicans …and now for the Anglos.

I heard boot stories at almost every stop I made in Santa Fe, so many that a few pairs began to take on personalities of their own.

I heard about one pair of boots designed and worn by Tyler Beard (made by Kimmel Boots), which were spotted and bought back (mostly in jest) by Jim Arndt more than a two decades after the Tyler and the boots had parted ways. Then there was another pair of size 12’s that I swear were worn by nearly every man I talked to …past back and forth …until the boots were eventually bought back by their original owner years later. Wacky.

Lynné and Larry do their best to keep a selection of “collectible” boots on hand…but those hard-to-find makers’ labels, fancy inlays and “cloth pulls” will cost you extra. And there are always few boots in the corner, not for sale…but as ever-changing collection of conversation starters.

Cowboy Legends

227 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (map)


(505) 989-1554

— Click here to see more cowboy boots in Santa Fe, NM.