Since the golden era of the Singing Hollywood Cowboy in the 1930’s, country music has maintained an enduring fascination with cowboy boots. These iconic footwear staples have played a significant role in the genre’s identity, symbolizing both rugged individualism and authenticity.
Cowboy boots not only enhance a performer’s stage presence but also evoke a sense of nostalgia, transporting us back to simpler times when old school values and western themes prevailed. The continued fascination surrounding these classic leather boots is easy to understand as they epitomize the spirit of the Wild West – daring adventures, open landscapes, and unapologetic freedom.
Cowboy boots have an unrivaled charm and timeless appeal, and embody a rugged yet a refined spirit that transcends fads and trends.
It will forever remain popular because they carry with them the spirit of an era long gone while effortlessly integrating into the here and now.
We thought it would be fun to look at some of the fancy footwear from the ye olden days through now. Though I won’t be trading in my stilettos any time soon, I love all these boots, and am happy to see the tradition is kept alive!
Gene Autry: The Singing Cowboy
Gene Autry was larger-than-life, and revolutionized the entertainment industry with his undeniable talent, charm, and entrepreneurial spirit.
He wasn’t just a singing cowboy; he was an iconic symbol of the American West and a cultural ambassador around the globe. Autry’s unique blend of country music and Western imagery captivated audiences, making him one of the most beloved entertainers of his time.
But his importance extends far beyond his remarkable musical career. Autry, in fact, paved the way for artists seeking creative control over their work by establishing himself as a shrewd businessman and wise investor. With his unique foresight, he embraced new platforms like television and owned radio stations, film production companies, and even a professional baseball team!
And most importantly as far as I’m concerned, he devoted much of his time, and wealth to charitable organizations, and bequeathed a substantial sum on his passing. Gene Autry remains an unforgettable trailblazer whose legacy continues to shape the world of entertainment today. Here are a collection of his iconic Lucchese boots!
Gene Atrey’s Boot Collection
The One & Only Lefty Frizzell
Lefty personified 1950’s honky tonk swag! He was an unbelievable talent blessed with a soulful heartfelt voice.
At the time, he ruffled some feathers as his style of singing, which incorporated bending, and holding of notes was not heard in country music before. He was also criticized for using drums, and electrified instruments steering further away from the early Appalachian sounds of the genre.
Lefty truly did move country music forward and for awhile it was the music of the youth in the 1950’s until Elvis changed everything. The Grammy nominated vocalist, and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee was equally known for his sense of style.
He would not go to even the local Waffle House without his signature boots and a blinged out top. Check out the pictures of his famous custom boots below.
Lefty Frizzell Boot
The Fabulous El Rey IV Boot
This boot would make Lefty proud! It came with a whopping $50,000 price tag, 100 diamonds and 4.4 ounces of 14 karat gold, wow! All this is to commemorate Tony Lama’s 100 years of boot making back in 2011. Susan Eisen and Tony Lama collaborated to create the epitome of cowboy boot elegance and luxury. These boots are meticulously crafted with the utmost attention to detail, featuring exquisite diamonds intricately set on premium quality leather.
Diamond encrusted Tony Lamas
The collaboration between Susan Eisen, renowned for her fine jewelry expertise, and Tony Lama, an iconic name in the world of western footwear, elevates these boots to unparalleled levels of sophistication. Susan Eisen and Tony Lama’s dedication to craftsmanship is evident, and make these diamond-studded boots a true masterpiece for those who appreciate both style and substance in their footwear choices.
The first Californian to become a member of The Grand Ole Opry, and it is easy to see why. Jon really does embody «Bridging The Old w/ The New» as he infuses traditional honky tonk themes with modern radio ready arrangements. So far, Jon has earned a Country Music Association New Artist of the Year award in 2017 and an ACM Album of the Year in 2019 for «California Sunrise.»
Pardi’s chart-topping hits including «Dirt on My Boots» and «Heartache Medication» have also garnered him six No. 1 singles on the Country Airplay Billboard charts. Additionally, he has been recognized by esteemed institutions like Forbes who listed him as one of their «30 Under 30» musicians in 2018.
Boots have been a successful theme for Pardi as Dirt On My Boots, and Head Over Boots were each certified platinum five times! More than almost any of the new 2010s crop of country singers, Pardi like Dwight Yoakam in the 80’s is keeping the aesthetic style of honky tonk country alive. Often, you can spot Pardi sporting a gentleman’s cowboy hat, polished boots, and sometimes even a nudie type jacket or sports coat.
Jon mostly sports Lucchese. Here’s a pic of his signature honky tonk style..
Jon Pardi’s Iconic Honky Tonk Aesthetic
In the past three years there has not been a name more synonymous with the new wave of country music than Morgan Wallen. A truly unprecedented climb up that has galvanized not only the Billboard country charts, but the all genre chart as well. So far, Mr. Wallen
has the most popular album of 2023 with One Thing At A Time.
And one of the longest leading number one Hot 100 singles also goes to Wallen with Last Night.
And despite a doctor mandated vocal rest that sidelined Mr. Wallen for a couple of weeks, the most recent PollStar data indicates the country singer is number one in all concert ticket sales for the past three months generating $7,926,911.00 in revenues. Morgan is currently on tour but found time to add to his footwear collection with a custom pair of cowboy boots.
Morgan Wallen’s Custom Tecovas
Apparently Morgan stopped by the Shoe Surgeon’s shop in Los Angeles, and saw a pair of custom kicks Dominic (The Shoe Surgeon) made for professional BMX athlete, and artist Nigel Sylvester. Morgan’s custom Tecovas feature hand dyed python skin, and suede. The sold out SoFi Stadium concert attendees were the first fans to see the new boots. TMZ were the first to air the story, see the video below. You can get a similar boot from the Shoe Surgeon, check it out here.
Cowboy boots are undeniably iconic and hold a significant place in the world of country music.. Since much of country music is centered around storytelling, cowboy boots serve as a tangible representation of the genre’s roots and values.
Resilience, and hard work are qualities often associated with both cowboy boots and country musicians. Real-life stories, and songs about persevering against unsurmountable odds, and heartbreak fold in well with the bold cowboy boot designs that emphasize the larger-than-life stage presence we experience in country music concerts.
Let’s also recognize that cowboy boots have become a distinctive fashion statement for fans and performers alike sometimes linking heritage, but more often now linking passion for the music. In a world increasingly driven by mass production and conformity, cowboy boots exude classic charm, and originality and that never goes out of style..
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