Boot/Shoe

Houston’s Parker Boot Company

LIVIN' A TEXAS LEGACY by Gene Fowler  Most fine, custom cowboy bootmakers have at least a passing awareness of the artists and artisans who preceded them. But few live that legacy as fully as Zephan Parker, who hangs his bootmaking shingle in wide-open H-town, the frontier space-age megalopolis named for Sam Houston, one of the most maverick Texans who ever lived.  Zephan grew up in Sam's town. “Cowboy culture, of course, was a
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Mercedes Boot Company: A Legacy of Horsemen

By Nick Pernokas  You probably noticed those old boots over in the corner. Leaning up against that canvas suitcase like an old dog begging for one more road trip. Orange tops. Black bottoms. Yeah, I know, not to everybody’s taste. They suit mine though and fit just as well. They should, because they are the only pair of custom boots I’ve ever had made. In 25 years, they’ve literally traveled around the world. From the subways
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Oklahoma Boot Maker Finds Solace in Leather

by Liisa Andreassen  When Dan Hickman couldn’t find the right boots to fit his feet, he decided to take matters into his own hands – quite literally – and has been making boots since 1975. Bootmaking was not really a job for him; it was more of a calling. He’d meet with other bootmakers while he traveled the country during his 37-year career with the railroad. Today, he reflects on his past, present and future.   Nurturing a passion  
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Run and Hide Leather to a Whole ‘Nother Level

‘Cowboy Booties’ Ascending  by Gene Fowler  Shoe and bootmaker Murphy Thiel of Run and Hide Leather in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, knows a thing or two about taking it to the next level. She moved back to the Eastern Seaboard just recently after an intense, two-year apprenticeship with bootmaker Deana McGuffin in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But at age 30, her personal journey to leatherwork goes much further back and includes a number of
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Abilene, Abilene, Prettiest Boots That I’ve Ever Seen…

Leddy’s Cowboy Boot Legacy by Gene Fowler “Legacy” is one of those words that when you look it up in the dictionary, the definition you get is underwhelming. “Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor from the past.” Really? Come on, Webster! Get with it! It’s so much more than that. At its best, a legacy is a living entity. A force of nature. A jolt of ancestral
Artisan Boot/Shoe Leather

Pablo’s Way: The Story of Pablo Jass

By Edward Loya  Shortly before his retirement, Ray Jones told reporters that custom western bootmaking was a vanishing art. Ray said none of his apprentices were ready to take his place because they had not yet mastered every step of bootmaking. As Pablo Jass—Ray’s best known and most accomplished apprentice—approaches his 50th year in the business, we know that Ray’s prediction missed the mark. But what does this tell us about Pablo Jass?   Like his mentor,
Boot/Shoe

Ray Jones: Texas’s Greatest Bootmaker?

By Edward Loya  In the late 1970s, there was a growing consensus in Texas that Ray Jones just might be the best bootmaker in the state, if not the country. So, when Ray abruptly announced his retirement in 1977 at age 65, he shocked his clients and the entire bootmaking community. Every major newspaper in Texas covered the story because it was unthinkable that an artisan of such extraordinary talent and
Artisan Boot/Shoe Leather

RESTARTING A SHOE COMPANY

MaineSole is redefining its products and marketing goals after COVID setback  By LYNN ASCRIZZI  For almost four years, a small shoe factory called MaineSole has been making handsewn, all-leather shoes in an old woolen mill, a massive brick structure built in 1835, situated along the East Branch of the Sebasticook River that winds its way through Dexter, Maine.     MaineSole was launched in the spring of 2017 by its owner-operator, Kevin Cain. “When the shoe factory opportunity came along in Dexter, I was planning to be one of the investors and its marketing-sales person,” he said. “I knew nothing about manufacturing shoes. I never made a pair of shoes!”    He
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Veteran Bootmaker Says Air Force Affected Bootmaking Career

Liisa Andreassen  It happened when he was 11. Brian Thomas walked into his local shoe repair and leather store and was quickly seduced by the sultry smell that lingered in the air. He just knew he had to find a way to be around it and he did. In fact, he’s made a lifelong passion of it with no signs of slowing down.  From the ground up  As a kid growing up in southern California in the early 1970s, Thomas took his first