This was a question entered into a search engine that directed another visitor to this blog, “what cowboy boots are as American as Levi’s Jeans?”
And the answer is…
… well, first of all, Levi’s jeans are not made in the USA any more. The company exported those American jobs overseas in 1996. The jeans are made in various countries in Asia, wherever they can get the cheapest source materials and underpaid, non-union labor.
So what cowboy boots are as American as Levi’s (reputation) for being all-American?
Some of the names with a long history of American cowboy boots come to mind: Justin, Tony Lama, Nocona (all made by Justin Brands, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway). Additional well-known, American brands of cowboy boots that have been around for a long time also include: Lucchese, Dan Post, and Olathe.
There are other brands of cowboy boots made in the USA; literally dozens more. Not all have been in business as long as the above-mentioned companies, or have the name recognition that goes with a reputation earned over decades of cowboy bootmaking. (I also should point out that the high-end custom bootmakers like Bowman’s Wilson, Chris Bennett, Paul Bond, Espinoza, and Legendary Boots, are as American as the reputation of Levis jeans, but fewer men wear these boots simply because they are so expensive and not made in the quantities as the lower-end commercial boots are made.)
I also have to point out that guys looking for “boots on the cheap” may find that the least expensive Justin, Tony Lama, and Nocona boots are made in China. You really must read the label or ask to make sure, but if the price of a pair of new traditional cowboy boots is less than about US$150, and you don’t want boots imported from China, then ask first or be surprised. (Companies are not required by law to indicate the source of origin of its products.) The keyword to watch for is, “imported.”
Good quality, American-made, iconic cowboy boots are available from the long-standing brands — Justin, Tony Lama, Nocona, Lucchese, Dan Post, and Olathe. Is one of these kinds of boots “more American” than another? Nope. Shop around, and get what you like. Different makers offer different styles, colors and textures of cowboy boots. Some have higher shafts than others, some have different heel choices, some have pointed toes, some have rounded, and some offer you the choice to customize them. But any USA-made boot from any of these companies will fit the bill of “being as American as Levi’s (reputation).”
Life is short: know your boots!