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blackstone boot
Boot Construction...
That's right, how they're made.

BLACKSTONE RIVER BOOT CONSTRUCTION

Construction quality – There is no comparison between our beautiful bespoke (handmade) custom cowboy boots to “off the shelf store” bought boots.
Because “Off the shelf” boots are mass produced they must give up construction and material quality for the speed of machine production. In addition they use a one size fits all last.  The so called handmade boots of large production cowboy boot companies are partially made by machines, computer and assembly line workers doing just one step of the boot making process. Our last are  made from your measurements and foot impressions. Blackstone River Boots are one of kind made by hand from start to finish by one bootmaker.  
You are a key element in the creation your unique cowboy boots. You and your bootmaker work together throughout the boot making process. Your cowboy boots start with the initial discussions and measurements, making of your boot last, the design of your vamps and boot tops, toe and heel shapes, selection of the best leather in the world, art work and finish with the construction of your boots. Your bootmaker help you experience the creation of your unique cowboy boots by communicating with you in the boot shop or online.
The following cowboy boot making photographs were taken by Russell lee, in Alpine, Texas in 1939. They show only some of the approximately 130 traditional bespoke boot making procedures in use since the cattle drive days of the 1880’s. Blackstone River Boots are handmade using the same traditional procedures and equipment.

Working out the design of the boots, selecting the leathers and measuring the customer’s feet, the boot maker customizes the boot last to the foot measurements.
Selecting the boot leathers
Cutting out the insoles
After cutting out the insoles they are molded to the bottom of the last
Trimming the insole
Channeling the insole
Cutting the boot tops
After cutting out the boot tops the panels are used to cut the top linings
All the cut pieces needed for a pair of boots
Just one of the many more pieces to be skivedand procedures be completed prior to assembly
Sewing the back panel lining
Joining the top panel and the top panel lining
Sewing the decorative stitch pattern to the top panel
Sewing the counter cover to the tops
Crimping the vamps
Mounting the vamps on the front panel
Hand stitching the side seam

 

Lasting the boot
Stitching the welt to the insole ( inseaming )
Cementing the outsolein preparation for sewing  to the boot welt
Building up and pegging the heel one layer at a time
Shaping the heel
Cementing the rubber top lift to the heel
After staining, inking, burnishing and polishing - the boots are treed
BENEFITS
Comfort – Made to your measurements and impressions your boots will be a perfect fit.
Design- You and your bootmaker will create a one-of-a-kind wearable art expression of you.
Health- One size fits all boots can cause foot problems, back pain and tired feet. Boots custom made for your feet can prevent these problems.
Savings-Your Blackstone River Custom Boots will last many years longer than “off the shelf boots”. I am still wearing boots with the original soles I made 20 years ago. Because of the excellent construction andall leather materials and with a little simple care, your boots can be re-soled many times. This saves you money!
DESIGNING YOUR BOOTS
“Step into this kingdom of boots where variations of shape are infinite, a place where footed pride is a profusion of pump and circumstances, where pretty mingles with practical and the rough roams with the refined. In this fertile land, rampant with feats and fancy, black and brown have befriended and now exchange glances with electric blue, gold and fiery orange, hot pink and lime; fur-lined, feathered, beaded and bubbled boots abound ”. “Cowboy Boots” written by Tyler Beard and photographs by Jim Arndt.
If you are not sure of the design of your boots, don’t worry your bootmaker will guide you through the design process by making recommendations to support your unique vision of cowboy boots. Your boot maker will help you select the type of boot based on your purpose – dance, traditional dress or work boot, type and color of the leathers, your toe shape, heel height and style, boot top height and shape ( scalloped or straight ), artwork and stitching.
Things your bootmaker will discuss with you to help you customize handmade boots.
Heel Style - A roper style a low heel that is easy to walk or dance in.
A walking heel is a little higher. It is easy to walk and dance in. The walking heel gives your boot that traditional cowboy boot look and sound. It is a favorite of line dancers.
Rider heels are the tallest heel. An inch and five eighths is the most common. It gives your boots a fashionable curve and adds height; however, it takes a little while to get use to walking or dancing in them.
Toe Style - You may select a round toe or a pointed toe or something in the middle. The medium round toe is the most popular. We can make the toe however you may like.
Top Style – (Scallop)the top of your boot can be straight (stovepipe) or traditional (V) shaped or you may select from our many other patterns.
Color – You may select natural or Earth tone colors like black, brown, or tan. You may prefer very bright colors. Depending on the availability of colors in the leathers that you select, we can make your cowboy boots in whatever color or colors you choose.
Topstitching – The fancy stitching on the boot upper helps hold the lining to the boot panels; however, it is also beautiful.  You may select from Blackstone River Boot’s own patterns or design your own. You may also choose the number of stitching rows and the colorof thread.
Artwork – You may choose to incorporate artwork into the design of your cowboy boots.
Materials – We use only the finest leathers from around the world. You may select from traditional cowhide, calfskin, kangaroo and goat. We also offer a wide range of exotic leathers, stingray, ostrich, alligator, lizard and more.

COWBOY BOOT TYPE
Blackstone River Boots makes three types of cowboy boots – dance boots, traditional  boots and work boots.
Dance Boots - With his unique combination of skills as a master bootmaker and award winning Ballroom and Country Dancer, D. B. Brown knows what you need in a dance boot.

Cowboy Dance Boots should have the following characteristics

  1. Fit - The counter shouldbe snug but slip a little, the longitudinal and metatarsal arches should be supported and there should be room for toe movement.
  2. Handmade – The boot should be hand made by one bootmaker from start to finish.
  3. Insole - The insole must be made from the best leather, be hand sewn to welt, provide support and still be comfortable. 
  4. Outsoles – The best leather -the thickness, split or full grain leather depending on the purpose of the boot.
  5. Shank - Steel shank for support, medium flexible  shank, and thin flexible depending the flexibility you desire.
  6. Heel - The Hollow heel to reduce weight or stacked leather depending on the purpose of the boot.
  7. Upper portion of boot - Soft light weight leather uppers.
  8. Counter – All leather, snug and firm.

9. Welt - Welted or non-welted dance boot depends on your purpose.A welt is a strip of heavy leather that is hand sewn to the bottom of your vamps and insole. The outsole is stitched to the welt. The welt holds the bottom of the boot together and helps make the boot water tight.

Blackstone River Boots makes four variations of the cowboy dance boot:
Blackstone River welted dance boots used for the dance floor and outdoors. They are all leather with medium weight leathers that retain flexibility, softness and strength. They have a stacked leather heel, flexible steel shank and a full grain medium weight outsole.
Blackstone River non-welted dance boots used for social dancing and use on the dance floor only. They are all leather with light weight leathers that maintain softness and flexibility. In addition, they have a light weight hollow heel, medium flexible shank and a light weight full grain outsole.
Blackstone River non-welted dance boots used for competitive dancing on the dance floor only.  They are all leather with light weight leathers that maintainsoftness and flexibility. In addition they have a light weight leather insole, thin flexible arch shank, and thin rough out outer sole for perfect contact with the floor.
Blackstone River non-welted dance boots used for professional dancing on the dance floor only. They are Light weight leather orLyca with fabric liner, composite hollow heel, no arch shank, composite thin insole and a split suede outer sole for flexibility, contact and edge control.

Traditional Boot

In the traditional boot (to a lesser degree than the dance boot) the options of welts and sole type are still important.  From heavy welted, thick soles to intermediate welted medium soles the selection can make a big difference to the feel and life of your cowboy boot.

Lightweight non-welted boot with thin all leather soles are light, flexible and comfortable; however, they are not water resistant and will need resoling more often.

 Welted soles are more traditional and a little heavier, but they are water resistant and will last much longer. They take more wear before needing resoling.

Soles

Smooth natural leather sole with a rubber capped heel is best for riding, and also great for line dancing. For couple’s country dancing a rough- out (thick swede)sole or smooth natural leather sole with a thin swede outsole works very well.

Work Boot
Construction of your cowboy work boot uses heavier and tougher leathers such as Waxed French Calf, Buffalo and Bull hide. In addition, steel shanks are used for arch support and heavy English imported Baker Leather is used for the insole and out sole. You may also select Vibram Rubber Soles.

 

There is no comparison between our beautiful bespoke (handmade) custom cowboy boots to “off the shelf store” bought boots.

Because “Off the shelf” boots are mass produced they must give up construction and material quality for the speed of machine production. In addition they use a one size fits all last. The so called handmade boots of large production cowboy boot companies are partially made by machines, computer and assembly line workers doing just one step of the boot making process. Our last are one of kind made from your measurements and foot impressions. Blackstone River Boots are one of kind made by hand from start to finish by one bootmaker.