Cowboy Boots - Where did they really come from?
Like many products that have been around for many years the cowboy boot has varying origins depending on where you are getting your information.
In truth it is difficult to know the exact origin of any of these products as accurate records were not kept and communication was limited.
We are therefore left to believe what we want. The story that suits us best.
There is little doubt that the cowboy boot was originally designed for the men who spent virtually their entire day in the saddle. Just which men is the issue in question.
Cowboy boots originated from the cavalry boot
When it comes to cowboy boots I prefer to believe that they were originally developed to serve the officers in the army. Derived from the cavalry boot used in the Civil War in the early 1860's leaves one feeling the boots originate from a noble cause. Designed for men who were out there risking their lives to protect others.
Cowboy boots originated from European riding boots
Of course other readings tell us that the cowboy boot is a direct descendant of the Northern European riding boot. And it is believed this may be the only contribution these settlers made to the essentially Spanish tradition of working cattle from horseback.
In the 1780's German dandies imitated the Hessian soldiers military footwear which was an under-the-knee boot with a V-cut in the front. From here the boot style changed and progressed so that by the 1860's and 1870's various military style boots were being copied in hundreds of variations many of which were modified.
Cowboy boots have been around for centuries
In reality, man, his horse and his boots go back as far as history will take us. Horsemen have relied on protective footwear for centuries. Since Attila the Hun in the fifth century, the Moors in the eight and Genghis Khan in the twelfth.
Cattle ranching itself has been in the US since as early as the 1760's where Indians and Mexicans worked cattle in California on horseback. In 1820 cattle ranching began in Texas.
A legend evolves
But it was was not until the 1960's that the legendary cowboy and his lifestyle evolved. The features of the cowboy boot were designed specifically for life in the saddle.
If we look at it practically the cowboy boot as it is known today most likely originated from a number of different areas which converged on each other to develop the perfect working boot for the man in the stirrup. No-one would have expected the cowboy boot to develop in to the fashion icon that it is today.
Today a fashion icon
Today the cowboy boot has modified features as it is worn mainly for fashion by people who will never set foot in a stirrup.