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FAQ's...
Commonly asked questions.

A few frequently asked questions:

WHEN AND WHERE TO WEAR COWBOY BOOTS

Of course ranchers, cowboys, cowgirls, western horsemen, rodeo folk and country dancers wear cowboy boots; but many people wear them just for fashion. When going to rodeos, country dances and country music shows cowboy boots and western clothing are always appropriate. But, you don’t have to be a cowboy or cowgirl to wear cowboy boots. Cowboy boots can be worn in any non- western setting including the board room.However, wearing western clothing with your boots calls for restraint. Let your cowboy boots make a statement and or set the mood, but keep your clothes simple and traditional for the occasion and or location. At first look, a cowboy boot looks like a high end or custom shoe; but raise up your skirt or pant leg a little and a unique statement of individualism, tradition and history of Americana is revealed. For men wearing cowboy boots in a non-western setting, a thin decorative black belt, dark tight fitting boot cut jeans or dress trousers, white or patterned collard dress shirt, a casual sport coat, denim or leather jacket is very stylish and appropriate. For women wearing cowboy boots in a non-western setting, there are veryfew restraints. Cowboy boots are extremely versatile and go with almost everything. However, just like selecting any outfit, you should consider the purpose or occasion. You can always go with boot cut jeans and cowboy boots; however, depending on your purpose - functional, professional, or evening attire –shorts, boot cut pants, skirts, dressesand causal suits will go perfectly with your cowboy boots. Note: If you are not used to walking in cowboy boots, you will notice a sense of confidence, a solid connection to the ground or floor, a feeling of assertiveness, the stylish elegant boot curves and the rhythmic sound of the solid leather heels.

BOOT CARE AND FIT OF YOUR BOOTS

Proper Fit of Your Boots. You can put your boots on sitting down or standing up. Standing up helps to place your foot at the right angle for entering the throat of your boot; however, make sure you are balanced. Using the pulls or boot hooks push your heel down as you pull on the boot. When your foot is all the way in the ball of your foot should be in the widest part of the boot. The arch of your foot should be supported by the shank of your boot. Your instep should feel snug and to a lesser extent the ball of your foot may feel a little snug. However, your toes should have room. When you walk heel slippage is normal. Slippage from 1/2 inch to about an inch is normal. After your inner and outer sole are broken in the slippage should subside or go awaycompletely. Wool and cotton socks should be worn not synthetics. Ideally you should wear the same thickness of socks as you wore when your foot was measured for your boots. Proper Boot Care With proper care your boots will last longer and look better. Traditional Boots – Cowhide, Calf Skin, and Bull hide, Bison, Goat, Kangaroo and Embossed Leathers

1. Wipe off your boots often with a dry cloth to prevent the dust from collecting in the creases of you boots and harming the finish.

2. When your boots muddy or dirty, wash off loose dirt with a damp cloth. If dirt still remains on your boots, use leather cleaner.

3. Condition your boots twice a year. Let the conditioner dry overnight and rub with a soft cloth or brush.

4. Polish is not required; however, for smooth leather finishes a cream polish will seal in the conditioner and give a shine to your boots. Use matching colors or neutral cream polish.

5. Good boot practice *Never put wet boots near heat to dry. Never, ever wear your boots after they get wet – take them off and let them air-dry. *Never wear the same pair of boots every day. They need to rest and air out. *Keep conditioner on the welts. *Use cedar boot trees. They will help keep the shape of your boots. * Never let your rubber heels wear down to the leather. * Resoling Blackstone River Boots uses only the best sole leather in the world (Imported Baker Leather from England). However, depending on how hard you are on your boots you will eventually have to replace the soles of your boots. Some people have to replace their work boot soles every 12 to 18 months, others, only after years of wear. I have a pair I have worn often for over a decade that still doesnot need resoling. The above care should keep your boots looking and feeling good for many years.

Exotics - Caiman, Ostrich, Lizard, Snake and Python Skin

1) Remove dirt and dust with a soft brush or damp cloth.

2) Apply thin coats of a quality exotic conditioner (water based).

3) Optional – For a shine, polish with a matching color, or neutral crème polish.

4) Optional - Apply a non-silicone stain and water protector if water protection is needed.

5) On snake skins and pythons, gently clean and condition under the scales where much dust can collect and cause leather deterioration. Spray reptile cleaners andconditioners are available that provide a foaming action to clean under the scales. After conditioning, rub the scales back down in the direction of the scale grain with a soft cloth. (Note: Because of the delicate nature of exotic leathers, it is very important to clean and condition these leathers on a regular basis. Apply thin coats of conditioner rather that thick ones. Remember to do this often. Stingray - Lightly wipe with a damp cloth. Do not rub too hard for it is possible, over time, to rub off some of the color.

Impregnated Leathers – Work Boots

1) Remove dust and dirt with a soft brush or cloth.

2) While these leathers have additional oils added to them in the tanning process, in time, these oils with start to disappear. Applying heavy coats of conditioner, or products such as mink oil will help these leathers withstand the heavy abuse they were intended for.

3) When wet, be sure to clean and oil them as quickly as possible. Allow them to dry naturally and never under an artificial heat source. • Soaps –These are tough cleaners that work into leather to get dirt and tiny particles out from under the surface. Use for work boots only. Lightly lathered Saddle Soap can be used, or Murphy’s Oil Soap in jell not liquid form. We use Bick 1 Leather Clean. • Conditioners– Lexol can be used, but it may darken light leather boots. We use Bick 4 Leather Conditioner. • Polishes — these are waxy substances designed to make a smooth coating on the surface of leather. They shine and add a useful layer of protection to smooth-surfaced boots. We use Meltonian Boot & Shoe Cream Polish. Meltonian shoe cream polishes are good for all smooth and grained leathers.

COWBOY BOOT HISTORY

Some handmade boot making procedures are documented to be in use back to the middle ages and most likely well before that. However, the inspiration and development of the cowboy boot is thought to start mainly with two historical events. In 1815 the duke of wellington defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo wearing a modified Hessian boot which became known as the two pieceFull Wellington boot. Some cowboys in the 19th-century wore boots similar to Hessian soldiers, who fought with the British during the Revolutionary War. Billy the Kid was photographed in 1879 wearing such a Hessian-style boot, distinctive for its V cut in the front and pull-straps on the side. Still other cowboys from 19 century wore variations on the Full WellingtonBoot. From the 1850's to the 1880's, U.S. Army Officers wore the Full Wellington. When the army went west the Full Wellington went with them. By 1870 many of the cowboys and frontier horsemen were wearing a boot very similar to the Full Wellington military issue. About 1870, John Cubine from Coffeyville, Kansas was making boots for cowboys that had no right or left foot, a low Cuban scooped heel, pull straps, and slightly rounded toes. They often had a graft on the upper front panel. By the 1880's these boots began to morph into the truly American foot wear the four piece cowboy boot(dresswellington). These boots often had straight stovepipe tops, along with star and horseshoe inlays, stitch patterns and high undercut heels. By 1900 the most popular cowboy boot was the four piece (DressWellington) boot; now the traditional and purely American style cowboy boot that we know today. In the early 1880s, bootmakers C.W. Hyer and Joe Justin were making a name for themselves along withSam Lucchese, Tony Lama and others. The cowboy boot business probably started in Kansas but the industry flourished in Texas. During the early 1900s cowboy boots were simple and practical made mostly for work. However, in the 1920s and 30s, with the invention of the movies the ornamentation of the cowboy boot start to change. The traditional work boot was still popular as they are today; but movie stars like William S. Hart, Hoot Gibson, and Tom Mix made more elaborate decorative stitching, inlays and overlays popular. In the 1950s, with the advent of television, movie and television stars like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hop a Long Cassidy and others brought the fancy cowboy boots into are homes.

REFERENCES: SHOE HISTORY REFLECTIONS ON POLISHED LEATHER A History of the Western Boot by D.W.Frommer II Jennifer June, Cowboy Boots the Art & Sole

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.