As a craftsman in the leather industry, it’s hard not to be inspired by other artisans. Mike Vaughn came up with the design for his wife Phyllis’ chocolate full quill ostrich, hand-tooled boot after seeing a belt. This belt had been tooled with a beautiful floral pattern then hand-painted, but only the background was painted, leaving the floral pattern in its natural color. The wheels were turning in Vaughn’s head as he envisioned a chocolate full quill ostrich vamp, tooled top and braided side seams.
With 38 years of boot making experience, Vaughn went to work. Terry Henson, award winning saddle maker, hand tooled the top and his wife Phyllis, in whom the boots were made for, did all the braiding making this beautiful boot a catchy collaboration.
Mike Vaughn grew up in Texas riding horses and wearing cowboy boots, so naturally when given the opportunity to work in a boot repair shop during high school work release, he took it. The experience he gained working in a boot shop during his junior and senior year served him well, landing him an apprenticeship with Clyde and Joe Vasquez of M.L. Leddy’s. This is where Vaughn learned the labor intensive process of making custom boots.
In 1989, after six years with the famed boot company, Vaughn ventured out on his own, opening up his own boot shop in Milsap, Texas. Later he moved his shop to Bowie, Texas, where it resides today.
Vaughn’s boots dot the globe with clients from Turkey, France, Australia, Canada, and Switzerland and of course, the good ‘ol USA. Right now you’d have to wait 2 ½ years to get a custom boot built by Mike Vaughn.
Like his friend and fellow bootmaker, Lee Miller of Texas Traditions, Vaughn has plenty of work to keep him busy. But that doesn’t keep the two artisans, along with Mike Allred, another Texas boot making friend, from giving back in the industry by lecturing at various gatherings and events. “We learn from one another and mentor each other,” says Vaughn of Miller and Allred.
Each morning you can find Vaughn on the back of his horse. “It helps me get my mind right before I head to my shop.” Indeed Mike, indeed!
Mike Vaughn Handmade Boots
2390 Orchard Rd
Bowie, TX 76230