Those familiar with Lucchese Boots know that Lucchese makes three lines: Classics — handcrafted and most expensive; Lucchese 2000 — mostly roper styles nowadays and considered mid-line, and are machine-made in the USA; and this year, replacing “Lucchese 1883” they now offer “Lucchese Since 1883” — slightly different name for the entry-level of machine-made cowboy boots. And, not unexpected, the “Lucchese Since 1883” boots are …
… not always made in the USA. I just snagged a pair that are marked inside the boot shaft, “Made in Mexico.”
I do not mind that, actually. Boots made in Mexico are usually well constructed of quality materials. Cowboy boots have been made in Mexico for hundreds of years. There is a lot of knowledge passed down through families of bootmakers.
In my opinion, the real reason why Lucchese makes some of their boots in Mexico is to leverage quality materials being available with less expensive, non-union labor. That is why the entry-level of Lucchese Boots have significantly lower price points than boots made in the USA with handcrafted processes.
By the way, what does “handcrafted” mean? It does not mean that the boots are entirely made with human hands. Bootmaking requires tools and machines to fit leather over the last (foot form), sew on the sole, insert lemonwood pegs into the soles, and apply that fancy stitching pattern on the shafts. But when humans hold the boots during the process and guide the machines to do their work, then one can say the boots are “handcrafted.”
Boots that are machine-made are “held” by robots, not people. Sometimes this robotic boot-making process results in lower quality output. But robots are cheaper to employ to make boots — they don’t take breaks, can work extra long shifts, and keep going without griping. Robots don’t have bank accounts and families to feed.
In summary, I think Lucchese Since 1883 boots are pretty good for consumer-oriented, off-the-shelf non-custom cowboy boots. I just wish the pricing was not so extraordinarily high, due to a massive across-the-board price increase that Lucchese instituted on March 1. I like the fit and feel of Lucchese boots, but not the retail prices.
I thought I would not buy any more Lucchese boots until I spotted a pair of M1707 “Black Oklahoma Western Boot with ‘El Santo’ Hand Tooled Design” at a local boot retailer. The price on the pair that I found was a mistake, but the retailer sold them to me for that price, which was half of what these boots are sold for on-line. Great snag! Great boots! More photos of these boots are here.
Life is short: know your boots!