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Cowboy boots are like jeans --- they have crossed the fashion barrier to become a classic piece of apparel --- for both men and women.
They come in all kind of shapes and sizes, and can cost anything from a hundred dollars to many thousands. In some areas, cowboy boots are regarded as a status symbol.
They may be crafted from many different types of leather, and can have all kinds of add-ons, like fancy embroidery, gold, gems and even diamonds. Often taking up to a year to make, bespoke cowboy boots are a true investment.
But the origins of the basic cowboy boots are humble, again, much like blue jeans. Following the American Civil War, many soldiers who had taken part were without jobs, and many turned to being cowboys. Less than ideal, their clothing was similar to that which they wore during their military service.
The boots were made at this time with a wide rounded toe. This was not well suited to much time spent in the saddle on horseback. Narrow pointy toes would allow the cowboys to get their toes quickly and easily into the stirrups. Under-slung forward sloping heel, which helped keep the foot in the stirrup, became the hallmark of true working cowboy boots. And whilst these boots were perfect for many hours horseback riding, they were not easy to walk in.
A really good working pair of cowboy boots were, and still are, considered so important to cowboys, that often two or three months wages would be spent on having a custom pair made to their exact requirements. And once these boots were “broken in”, they would increase in value to the individual, and truly be indispensable.
The entertainment industry and movies in particular, have always led fashion. The first wave of popularity for wearing Western inspired clothing came with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and silent film star Tom Mix in the early 1900’s. After that came the popular dude ranches and rodeos after World War II. Then came “Electric Horseman” (1979) and “Urban Cowboy”(1980), which stimulated and renewed interest. More recently, western inspired clothing and cowboy boots have been given another boost by film and sport stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jessica Simpson, Carl Malone, Britney Spears, and Sandra Bullock.
Cowboy boots are very versatile. They can be dressed up, worn with an evening gown and jewels, or your best tux. They may also be completely understated, worn with jeans and sweatshirt. As classic cowboy boots are usually made of leather, they will usually last for a very long time, making them a true investment in anyone’s wardrobe. If you own a pair of classic cowboy boots, you will never be out of style.
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