There are two kinds of people in the world: those who wear cowboy boots and those who don’t. I grew up one who didn’t in the land of most who did. I hated cowboy boots and western wear growing up, but now that I’ve lived away from Colorado for so long, I see my native southwestern fashion in a new, more fascinating light. I love cowboy boots now.
Well, here’s the deal. The West is under assault from everywhere – mainly the East – by people who come out here and want to convert it into a, quote, “world class place.” Well, we don’t want to be a world class place. We’re Westerners. We want it to be Western, and when you’re Western, you wear cowboy boots and you wear cowboy hats. And that’s just part of the deal. Bob Boze Bell, Wyo. Sheriff Bars Deputies From Wearing Cowboy Boots, Hats
As a designer, I also appreciate the design of cowboy boots, as highlighted here in this great marriage of information design and western wear. They are the perfect marriage of form and function: the pointy toe helps the foot nestle into the stirrup, the Cuban heel keeps it from sliding out, and the tall, leather shaft protects the wearer’s legs from rocks, brush and tumbleweeds.
But what does it mean to wear cowboy boots? There are semiotic aspects to everything we wear; our clothes speak volumes without our speaking a single word. So when one wears cowboy boots without a clear functional reason to do so, what is one trying to say? That you’re independent, tough, handsome, manly, capable. That you’re no-nonsense, practical, resilient. You’re above the elements but always looking for love on mountain or plain. That you’re not afraid to get dirty or wet or fall. That you can conquer anything Mother Nature throws your way. And above all, that you like whisky; coffee –black!; Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash; and know how to ride a goddamn horse.
Given that I’m not sure I’m worthy to wear cowboy boots, to me it’s the antithesis of the wing-tip loafer. You’re not going to put me in that box. Wearing cowboy boots sets me free. – My husband Will.