Jul 09 2009
Cowboy boots are a long-standing tradition of what was once the Wild West. Whether you are kicking dirt on a southwest ranch or grinding pavement in the north east, it’s good to know what goes in to making your go-to pair of boots. Boots are made to last, and although they may seem straightforward there are quite a few components that are necessary in making a good, reliable boot. Grab that hot cup of joe, and learn a little more about your cowboy boots!
At the front of each boot you’ll find your toe box. The toe box lies on the upper inside of each boot and is responsible for comfortably protecting the wearer’s toes. In addition to offering protection, the toe box is also what gives each boot its characteristic shoe. Round, pointed or squared, the toe box allows your boot to maintain its shape and has a lot to do with the overall style of the shoe. Toe boxes vary in strength, where more durable boxes are desired if the wearer needs more protection, whereas thinner toe box material makes for a good casual boot.
Moving away from the toe box you’ll find the boot’s vamp. Sometimes referred to as the “upper“, the vamp is the portion of the boot that covers any exposed portions of the foot from the toe to the leg. The vamp is often regarded as the most important part of the upper boot, since it is usually the most visible. Many vamps are designed to break evenly when the wearer has used them for a longer time, giving the boot a faint, uniform crease above the wearer’s instep. This part of the boot needs to be flexible to make walking comfortable for the wearer, and is often features intricate designs and stitching.
The shaft is the part of the cowboy boot that extends up the calf. Boot shafts are among the most varied part of the boot and although they are typically concealed under the wearer’s jeans, can still appeal to someone’s individual taste. Shafts can be plain, but more often than not they feature intricate sewing and coloring, and are comprised of just about any material you can think of. The boot shaft provides the designer the largest opportunity to make a uniquely-crafted piece of footwear.
If you’ve ever actually worn a pair of boots, chances are that you’ve slipped your fingers through a couple of pull tabs to hike on your shoes Found on either side of the top of the shaft, these leather pieces are stitched onto the shafts and make it easier to pull on your boots in a hurry. Pull tabs can feature small designs and even studding, but for the most part are just there for utility. Without them, you’ll probably have a heck of a time getting your boots on.
Although they probably don’t get as much as they used to, spur ridges are what a cowboy would typically rest his spurs on. The spur ridges are the little protruding edges above the boots heel that separate the boot’s sole from the heel and shaft. Spur ridges might be obsolete, but they are still neat little reminders of a culture that is gone, but not forgotten.
Insoles are what your feet stand on inside the boot and make sure that you have a comfortable walk to wherever you’re going. Though insoles don’t really ever feature designs, you might see a cowboy or girl who likes a boot that has its own little secret mark on the inside. Other than that, you’ll probably just want to make sure that your boot has an insole that can take a beating, so you can wear those things for years to come.
These are just a few basic components that make up a standard boot, but like the cowboys that wear them, boots can come in all different shapes, sizes and styles. Make sure that you take a good look at the next boot you consider buying so you can walk out of the store in a pair that has just the right personality for you. Take this little bit of boot education and check out the selection at Boot City to see if they can’t outfit you with a style that you’ll appreciate.