Boot/Shoe

“The Michelangelo of Cowboy Boots”

“Charlie Dunn, He’s the One to See” by Gene Fowler Photograph courtesy of The Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Photographer Jim McGuire made images of the Grand Ole Opry legends and other country-western stars, and here he shot bootmaking legend Charlie Dunn. Perched all pretty on the Colorado River, where the limestone hills of Central Texas tumble down from the west to meet the Blackland
Boot/Shoe

Semper Fi: Boots with a Mission

By Liisa Andreassen Sarah Ford, a San Angelo, Texas-native, former Marine officer and Harvard Business School grad is the CEO, founder and creative director of Ranch Road Boots – a brand deeply rooted in Ford’s love for the American West. Growing up in a small town, her parents encouraged her to be self-motivated and hardworking. As a kid, she participated in triathlons with her whole family. After high school, she
Boot/Shoe

Lisa Sorrell

A Ladies Touch Accomplished and acclaimed bootmaker Lisa Sorrell. By Danna Burns Shaw When you visit with Lisa Sorrell you soon realize that she has a zest for learning and chooses to live a bigger and kinder life. Lisa was raised in southwest Missouri in a conservative church where the women all wore long hair and long dresses.  Her mother began teaching her to sew when she was 12 years
Boot/Shoe

Oak Street Bootmakers: Rebuilding the Footwear Landscape

By Gene Fowler There are many steps in building a handmade shoe. Longtime Chicago-area shoe repairman John Vlagos chuckles recalling his reaction upon first learning that his son, George, was starting the handmade footwear business, Oak Street Bootmakers. “I freaked out, you know,” says the father, with obvious pride in his son’s success. Founded in 2010, Oak Street ships its trench boots, penny loafers, camp mocs and other styles—made in
Boot/Shoe

“Ah, Wilderness!”

Alkahest Moccasins & Leathercrafts — custom-made goods hand-built in the wild heart of Oregon’s high alpine country Alkahest Leather founders Dustin Lyons and Tiera Ptacek at an art fair. By Lynn Ascrizzi Eight years ago, on a fine spring day, Dustin Lyons and Tiera Ptacek set out on a life-changing, 350-mile odyssey, driving from San Francisco to Ashland, Oregon, in a tiny, Chevy Geo Metro. “We had it packed with
Boot/Shoe

Sole Talk

Amara Hark-Weber’s impeccable, handmade shoes are in a class by themselves By Lynn Ascrizzi In our modern era of mass-manufactured, big-brand footwear, a person’s desire for a pair of new shoes can be quickly satisfied. Does this mean that the curtain is falling forever on the one-of-a-kind, handcrafted shoe? For an answer, take a look at the masterful, custom footwear being made, one at a time, by Amara Hark-Weber, a
Boot/Shoe

Ty May: Making up for Lost Time

By Nick Pernokas Ty's primary products are boots. When we speak of an “up and coming” artist, we usually think of a young person. That is an assumption that is not always true. Grandma Moses, for example, began her painting career at the age of 78 and became one of America’s most famous painters. Another case in point may be Sullivan, Missouri-bootmaker Ty May. At 55, Ty is really just
Boot/Shoe Saddles/Tack

A One-Man Leather Shop

Long-time leatherwork instructor, Mike DeWitt, keeps his heritage craft alive and well in Oklahoma By Lynn Ascrizzi Michael DeWitt, at the workbench in his leather workshop, with saddle trees and stirrups in the background. You never know where a passion for the age-old art of leathercraft will take you. For Michael DeWitt, owner and operator of DeWitt Custom Leatherworks, the long and winding trail that leading to his current workshop
Boot/Shoe

Laughs and Lasts at Bell Custom Made Boots

By Johnny D. Boggs Alan Bell with his 2017 Academy of Western Artists Will Rogers Bootmaker of the Year Award. Some folks might think that Alan Bell picked the wrong profession. Instead of making custom cowboy boots, which Bell has done for 40-plus years out of a one-time barbershop in Abilene, Texas, he could’ve been a stand-up comedian or a TV talk-show host. Imagine Johnny Carson (if you remember Johnny