There are few things more symbolic of the Wild West than the cowboy boot. And yet despite the rough treatment most cowboy boots suffered in the early days of the west being settled, many have survived through to modern times. Nowadays vintage cowboy boots have become a popular collectible item. Some of the rarest vintage cowboy boots originated in the 1800s, and some prize specimen have been handed down from generation to generation with their life story intact.
Because most of these boots did have a rough life in the early days of the west however, they can be hard to get hold of. So if you're interested in collecting vintage cowboy boots, be prepared to spend time searching for them, and be ready to pay for them too. Many good pairs sell for over $1000, with some costing substantially more. One of the first places you should look is western apparel shops. Many of these now have a vintage cowboy gear section, so it's worth having a look if you have one of these stores nearby.
Many collectors have also started up websites that specialize in vintage cowboy boots, so spend some time searching around online to see what you can come up with. Although the initial interest in collectiing these rare and historical boots was in the USA, nowadays that enthusiasm has spread worldwide. You can find enthusiasts as far away as Europe and Australia. The old boots have a certain aura about them, which is one of the reasons they've become so popular as collectible items. Many collectible stores have added a cowboy boots section to their stores.
One of the most interesting things about starting your own collection is that they were mostly custom made, which means nearly every pair is different. You can find boots in all sorts of colors, with some being monogrammed, decorated or stamped. Although most vintage cowboy boots have obviously been well worn by their original owners, occasionally it's possible to find a pair that is almost brand new. It's not easy though!
Most vintage cowboy boots range in height from 13 to 18 inches. It was quite common for them to have 1 to 2 inch heels, and quite often there were intricate designs on the heel. Some of the rarest examples still have the original spur straps, and if you're really lucky, the original brass conchose, jingle bobs and chains. Boots in such pristine condition are rare, however, so you can expect to pay top dollar for them.
If you're just looking for an authentic pair of cowboy boots to go with your western gear, the vintage variety may be far too expensive. There are lots of good modern cowboy boots, including Lucchese western boots and Justin cowboy boots. These and other companies are well known for their vintage inspired designs to give their boots the 'old school' feel. If you have a vintage style in mind, you can shop around various boot stores and you're sure to find something similar made in modern times.
Perhaps you'd like the uniqueness of vintage cowboy boots without the price tag, but don't want to buy something off the shelf, either. In that case, why not consider purchasing a custom made retro pair? There are quality firms offering this service, and you can customize your boots to any design you choose. The boots are then made to your specifications and delivered to you. Allow some time, though, as it can take a couple of months for your custom foot wear to arrive.
But if you're keen to own a pair that have some history behind them, vintage cowboy boots may still be the best option, despite the price.
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