Bespoke Boots That Dazzle
Pull on a pair of bespoke cowboy boots and the swagger comes naturally. Icons of America’s Old West, the boots, like the wranglers who once roped wild stallions, evoke a sense of rugged individualism. You select the leathers and personalize the design. After multiple measurements of your feet and calves, craftspeople build the boots by hand, stretching the leather, stitching inlays, creating overlays, and hammering wooden pegs—not nails—into the soles, because pegs expand and contract with the leather. Prices depend on the leather chosen and the design’s intricacies. Three recommendations:
Sorrell Custom Boots. “To me cowboy boots are about art,” says Lisa Sorrell, who is based in Guthrie, Oklahoma. “I see the tops of the boots as a canvas.” For Arnold Schwarzenegger, she created one boot with the American flag and the eagle from the U.S. seal and the matching boot with the Austrian flag and the eagle from the Austrian coat of arms. Since Sorrell insists on measuring her customers’ feet herself, Schwarzenegger flew her to his movie set. “You do not have to be a cowboy to wear cowboy boots,” says Sorrell. “It’s about personality and style. I tell my customers that cowboy boots allow men to wear high heels and bright colors.” Sorrell also makes boots for women. Delivery time: 12 months. Prices: $10,000 and up.
Little’s Boot Company. A family business begun in 1915 when Lucien Little swung open the doors to his boot shop in San Antonio, Little’s is now operated by sister and brother Sharon and Duane Little, Lucien’s great-grandchildren. “Sharon buys the leather. I make the boots,” says Duane. Known for their traditional western lines and distinctive wildflower and leaf designs, Little’s boots have added to the well-heeled looks of Reba McEntire, Tommy Lee Jones, and Alex Haley. Delivery time: about eight months. Prices: $1,300 and up.
McGuffin Custom Boots. A third-generation bootmaker, the Albuquerque-based Deana McGuffin learned from her father who learned from his father who opened a shop in 1915. Among her signature designs are her Day of the Dead boots, which pop with guitar-playing and dancing skeletons. McGuffin also teaches bootmaking. Delivery time: four months. Prices: $3,000 and up.