By Jakki Francis
Historically horsemen have always needed protective footwear
well as preferring boots with a higher heel. The origin of the
cowboy boot that we know today comes from various boot styles
including the Wellington boot, which originated from Britain's
Duke of Wellington. At the time it was a straight plain
boot with one-inch heels and straight tops. Cowboys also wore
the Hessian boot, which had a V-cut in the front, and some of
these had a silk or leather tassel hanging down in the V.
The Coffeyville-style cowboy boots originated in Coffeyville,
Kansas around 1870 and were normally black leather with a low
Cuban heel. The front of the boot, known as the "graft", was
higher than the back and was usually a different color. Texas
cowboys were known to have a lone star inlaid in the graft.
Cowboy boots continued to evolve through the late 1800s and
designs were influenced by the European cavalier style of
which were characterized by higher heels and better-quality
The toes of cowboy boots were square or rounded and this did
not change to pointed until the 1950s.
The straight lines of stitches across the top of the toe of
cowboy boot are called a toe wrinkle. Boot makers in the early
1900s started to add decorative stitching on the toes in
addition to the wrinkle and these designs became and have
remained to this day the personalized signature of custom-made
In the 1920s and 1930s cowboy boots became a fashion item as a
result of the movies and radio shows about the Wild West.
After 1940 boot designs became more colorful and intricate
incorporating images of the west such as cacti, eagles, horses
In the 1950s when rodeos became a popular form of
and country music started being heard, the popularity of
boots skyrocketed and millions of pairs were reportedly being
made in all shapes, colors and styles.
After this the designs of cowboy boots followed the fashions
and styles popularized in the movies - if John Travolta or Tom
Cruise wore cowboy boots then those styles were immediately in
Since the early 1990s boot makers have become even more
adventurous and we are now seeing styles incorporating studs,
conchos, rhinestones and precious stones, no doubt partly as a
result of the interest in line dancing. Of course it is still
possible to buy an attractive plain leather boot.
Part of the enduring appeal of the cowboy boot is that they
be worn by anyone.
There is an excellent book that covers everything to do with
the cowboy boot called appropriately The Cowboy Boot book,
which you can get from Amazon.
Copyright © Jakki Francis,(UK), 2005
About The Author: This article is copyrighted. Please feel
to use it in it's entirety including copyright information and
information about the publisher. Jakki Francis operates the
website www.1st-For-Boots.Com For information and
resources on all types of boots.