With boots, it is all about the fit. Comfort is key to me. I didn’t start out thinking about these factors. Before, it was all about the look! Now, I am older and wiser, and I say to you young wipper snappers,’Take care of your feet’. Years ago when I first went shopping for a new pair of boots at a large western store in Oklahoma City, I couldn’t help but notice, as only a young budget conscious rancher’s wife would notice, that the shop had many average-priced boots. The problem was the boots that fit me best were from a much more expensive boot line. My husband, Jim, was with me. He taught me some common sense that day. Pointing out that for the money I was about to spend, I could have a pair of custom, handmade boots made in Amarillo, Texas by Harry Beck. Jim had been considering custom boots for himself due to his many previous boots that fit him poorly. I was intrigued with his idea and thought it would be worth checking out. So, I went to see Harry Beck, the famous boot maker that advertises in the Livestock Weekly out of San Angelo, Texas. After talking price, I found Jim to be right! I could get custom handmade boots made to fit my feet and my legs for the price of the boots I had wanted in Oklahoma City. I was measured that day for my first pair of custom handmade boots. Mind you, these boots were to be working boots, well made and ready in two months. I picked out a beautiful burgundy leather for the upper shaft and black for the vamp foot part. I then selected the style for the upper boot, the stitching pattern, toe shape and finally, the heel height. Selecting a French square toe and a slightly tapered heel, my boots would also have a 40 penny nail used to support my arch while riding in the saddle all day. When my boots were ready, I went to Amarillo to pick them up. They fit me perfectly in every way! I am a believer in custom boots. I now own three pair of Beck’s Boots, and my favorite pair is still that very, first pair. Now, this brings me back to my original question, why wear custom boots? Well, first of all, it is all about the fit and the comfort. Getting your heels set right will save your knees and back down the road. You will be better off in the long run to paying extra for custom made boots in order to save going to the doctor later for your worn out knees and nagging back pain. My entire family is sold on custom boots for the health of our feet and our backs.
My artist friend, Barbara Dawkins, knows all about custom boots, because her husband, Sunny, is a bootmaker in Dalhart, Texas. She told me that one pair of custom made boots could be resoled ten times before the vamps wear out. I find that fascinating! She also shared this wisdom, when your heel caps show wear, replace them. Do not wait until the heel caps are worn down, because your back is taking the hit. I wear my boots all of the time, most days for ten hours at a time, sometimes longer. I never get blisters, I can walk through cactus and tall grass, and my boots are snake proof. When I get a new pair of boots, I like to oil the leather soles with neatsfoot oil. It also helps to wear them when wet in order to let them dry to the shape of your feet. That is probably just one of the reasons why cowboys of old would sleep with their boots on. It’s almost impossible to pull on a pair of wet boots the next morning. I wear my boots with everything. If you like boots, go custom handmade, enjoy them, and wear the heck out of them!