VOA TV – Fancy Cowboy Boots, but No Problem Finding Buyers

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in Texas is a good place to find cowboy boots. Abby came in boots made from ostrich skin.

ABBY: “They’re stylish for this occasion.” But her boyfriend Stefan rarely wears cowboy boots.

STEFAN: “It is definitely a stylish fashion statement at this point because this is the rodeo type deal, you know. If it is everyday life, I don’t know how anybody does it. I think you’d have to go to the chiropractor every couple months.”

At rodeos, cowboys compete in riding and other events. Most owners of cowboy boots say they are easy on their feet. Sheldon and his son did a lot of walking in their boots.

SHELDON: “They are comfortable, good to walk in. We’re walking in these for over three hours now so they’re real comfortable.” Real cowboys want high boots for protection. Other people like cowboy boots for their looks and comfort. Lawyers and businessmen in Houston are often seen wearing boots.

M.L. Leddy’s has made boots for everyone from Elvis Presley to American presidents. The average price is $1,600. M.L. Leddy’s General Manager Mark Dunlop says the company has no trouble finding buyers.

MARK DUNLOP: “Those who are in a higher income bracket certainly are a big part of our customers, but I will tell you, we sell a lot of cowboys cowboy boots.”

He says the secret to comfortable footwear is support.

MARK DUNLOP: “Once we get a boot on you and we get that arch support set properly, everything else kind of follows.”

Dunlop says the steel support shown here is important. But the materials and other details also make a boot comfortable and long-lasting. The process starts with careful measurements of both feet. These alligator-skin boots cost $10,000.

Dunlop says people choose non-traditional skins for many reasons.

MARK DUNLOP: “A calf skin, for example, is a smooth-finished leather, very tough leather, but it can scuff and scratch. Ostrich, elephant, leathers of that type have a very durable finish to them, and so they can withstand a lot more punishment.”

There also is the detail of the boot tops.

MARK DUNLOP: “Hand-tooled tops, inlaid tops, monogram tops, hand-stitched tops — we do them all and it’s just up to the imagination of the buyer.”

In the end, it may be all about imagining yourself as a cowboy. I’m Doug Johnson.