Tres Outlaws Boot Company has been making exquisite western boots since 1990. Each pair takes a team of master boot-makers about four weeks to craft. Prices start at around $800 and boots are known to have sold for as much $75,000.
According to Forbes magazine, these boots are among the most expensive in the world. The Outlaws’ clientele is a who’s who of the rich and famous including California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as well-known business moguls, and film stars, Jane Fonda, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Goldie Hawn, Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis.
Modern cowboy boots, like the romance surrounding the history of the cattle-drive era, are largely based upon the myths of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, Hollywood movies, and 20th Century TV. Actual wrangler’s boots were round-toed, with sturdy stirrup-grabbing heels, and tall tops to protect from sagebrush, snakes and small varmints. The fantastic creations of today’s master crafters are a small part history and a large part creative imagination.
Pointy toes, tooled leather, and fancy stitching are found on dress boots. The pointier the toe and the fancier the work, the dressier the boot. Plain leather round-toed boots are practical, work boots. Short-topped boots made their debut in WWII when leather was scarce. They’re called "Pee-Wees" and are generally reserved for women.
Owners Scott Wayne Emmerich and Jerry Black are passionate about the art, fashion and museum qualities of their boots. The gallery shown here is just a small sample of the incredible work done by the world-class artisans in El Paso, Texas. A pair of their boots may be the perfect compliment to cowboy-inspired fashion lines in 2009.
Want to know more?
Tyler Beard and Jim Arndt have written two books devoted to the fine craft of the Cowboy Boot, Art of the Boot and Cowboy Boots
Will Wyatts Trunk Show has a video online that includes clips about Tres Outlaws.
Der-Dau Company makes custom-fit boots in New York. While their boots are not the hand-tooled art pieces of Tres Outlaws, they are fine footware. Their manufacturing process is shown in the video above.