For centuries people have had special footwear for riding horses. Up until the Industrial Age, riding boots were always handmade and designs were influenced by culture and the region of the craftsman.
The First Cowboy Boots
The classic Western-style cowboy boots were first invented during the cattle drive era of the 1860s. Cowboys realized their Civil War calvary boots weren't suited for cattle drives. Around 1870, legend has it that a cowboy asked a cobbler for a boot with a pointed toe to slide easily into his stirrups, a long shaft to protect his legs from snakes and brush, and a Cuban style heel to allow a stirrup to fit snuggly in. These early designs were influenced by these calvary boots but also Wellington boots and Spanish vaquero riding boots. All of these boots were made by hand and fitted to the individual cowboy. These earlier cowboy boots were built for work and thus had little decorations or embellishments.
Cowboy Boots Go Mainstream
While cowboy boots still continued to be used for work, the 1930s and 1940s saw a growth of popularity for cowboy boots for the general population. The introduction of Western Films with iconic actors like John Wayne had many people demanding their own pair of cowboy boots. Manufacturers started making boots for fashion by using flamboyant decorative elements and exotic materials. It wasn't until the 1960s that consumers demanded more traditional colors and designs..
Cowboy Boots Today
Cowboy Boots will always be integral to Western and Southern culture. Country Music has propelled cowboy boots to mainstream popularity and now it's not uncommon for city slickers to have a pair. However, many manufacturers have found ways to cut corners by using inferior materials. Here at Soto Boots, we follow the mantra, "Quality Boots at an Honest Price." You'll always get premium materials and expert craftsmanship with every pair of Soto Boots.