The cowboy boot: a quintessential icon in the style world. It’s fascinating to me that footwear originally worn by cattle herders traveling from Mexico to the United States in the 1600s has landed in the fashion hall of fame. Not only do cowboy boots never go out of style, they’re also season-less. No need to pack them away, as they pair perfectly with your favorite summer sundress or a great pair of jeans come fall.
For years, cowboy boots were the foundation of functional footwear for working men on cattle farms and ranches. The comfortable yet practical boot didn’t become a fashion statement until the late 1970s, when Ralph Lauren debuted them on his runway. From there, Princess Diana was seen tucking her jeans into cowboy boots, and since then, they’ve always had a place at the top of the trend curve. Today, you can find them in endless colors, prints and patterns. Old Gringo is one of my favorite brands, effortlessly combining high-quality craftsmanship with unique style.
My personal obsession with cowboy boots began at a very young age. My dad was a fan, so I needed to literally follow in his footsteps with my own pair of “buckaroos.” I loved the sound they made as I clomped throughout the garage following him around as he tinkered with his fishing boat. My obsession grew so deep that I wore my cowboy boots every day with the same pair of red jeans with a banana patch on the pocket. In fact, my mom had to call the elementary school to let them know I indeed had other clothes but refused to wear anything other than my beloved cowboy boots and jeans.
My Justins, as they’re called in the cowboy world, would travel with me to my grandmother’s farm, where I learned to ride horses. As I grew older, my love for the Western world continued to develop. My sister and I got into barrel racing, a rodeo sport where you and your horse take hairpin turns around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern as fast as you possibly can. This sport required cowboy boots as functional equipment, and I was all for it. I saved up my money and bought a pair of Roper boots. They were the soft leather lace-up style and a bright cherry red color, which brought plenty of fashion flair to the rodeo arena. That was more than 20 years ago; I still own those boots, and they’re still in style today.
There’s just something about the American spirit of the cowboy boot. Once you put them on your feet, your soul takes on this energetic grit and strength that our forefathers needed to survive and succeed in the 1800s and early 1900s. I don’t see the cowboy boot ever going out of style, as it’s so deeply embedded in our history, culture and fashion. Plus, once you and your boots spend some long miles together, they’re as comfortable as house slippers. It’s incredible that a simple boot can be a legendary part of American history yet remain so fashionable for so many years. I forever hold my cowboy boots close to my heart as the memories made and the trails traveled together will never be forgotten.
Laura Schara is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast and cohost of the television series Minnesota Bound.