Tag Archives: Custom Boots

Cowboy Boots: Wish List

Man, I love your boots — Bob Dylan

This morning I spent daydreaming… what would it be like to wear these boots, faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt? In a airport…headed somewhere warm and dry. Somewhere flat and quiet, where you could see everything coming at you, and it was all going the other way. Sun on my face. Money in my pocket. Time. Yeah, I’d like all that.

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

Tools of the Trade: Order Books

Once upon a time, bootmakers used “order books.” These were big hardcover books that remind me of the world atlas my sister and I shared when were kids. Back then, pages were big and I was small… and I had to use my whole arm to turn a page.

Here’s how they work. Each customer would stand on the book, both their feet would be traced, and their measurements written down. Once the book was full, the bootmaker would start another.

If you look inside and old custom boot you’ll often see a couple numbers, like 8-86. It’s secret code… you need to open order book #8 and turn to page 86. There you will find the customer’s name, measurements and usually the original selling price of the cowboy boots.

Nowadays most bootmakers use file folders. Sigh.

Photos taken at James Leddy Boots (Abilene, TX)