Riding

The History of the Cowboy Boot

Justin explains the origin of this horseback-riding wardrobe staple.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Justin Boots

It’s surprising to many that the cowboy boot did not originate in the United States. The origins of cowboy boots can be traced back to as early as 17th-century England, but it was H.J. Justin, the founder of Justin Boots, who mastered the creation of cowboy boots as we know them today.

Riding boots were a part of European life at that time, and the styles were tailored to the various cultures and purposes. Some boots were more traditional for and tailored to equestrian riding, some followed vaquero Spanish tradition, and some were designed for the military.

After the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers had the ability to mass -produce certain boots. A popular style was the Wellington, named for the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley. It was a calf-length boot with a low heel, and was easy to mass -produce because of its four-piece construction – the same used for cowboy boots today. These boots were not just for riding anymore, but rather they were starting to be seen as multifunctional and fashionable.

It takes a lot of time and diligence to train a cutting or working cow horse. AQHA's King P-234 book provides information on an influential sire in the cutting horse industry.

In 1879, H.J. Justin revolutionized the cowboy boot by mastering the craft of western boot-making in the United .States. Justin Boots were a Western twist on the then-current style, and the first of their kind to be handcrafted on a larger scale in America. Since then, Justin Boots have been an icon in Western culture and exemplify the true character of the West.

For the last 136 years, Justin Boots has remained true to its heritage of handcrafting boots in the United States. With four domestic factories today, Justin Boots are handcrafted by the most skilled boot-makers, using the finest leathers and quality materials. Each boot shows extraordinary craftsmanship and character from top to sole. At the same time, Justin Boots strives to incorporate industry-leading technology, such as the as J-Flex® Flexible Comfort System® for all-day comfort, and Grip-on-Demand™ technology, which gives riders more control in the stirrup.

AQHA has several educational resources for you. Grab a copy of the King P-234 book to learn more about this influential American Quarter Horse.

In addition to offering comfort and function, Justin Boots also combines various leathers, toe profiles, heel heights, and other appealing details for a great-looking boot. The Justin Boots AQHA Lifestyle Collection for men and women includes a variety of boots for the AQHA member looking for unique western footwear. The AQHA Remuda series has long offered full- quill ostrich styles, and recently debuted additional exotic leather options, including shark and caiman.

Today, cowboy boots are not just for a singular purpose or person, but rather for women, men, and children to wear while doing anything from riding to ranching to relaxing. They’re more than just footwear. They’re a symbol of the West that allows the wearer to walk with confidence and pride. To find your next pair of cowboy boots, visit www.JustinBoots.com.