March 05, 2016

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A Man and His Boots

Sometimes all it takes is just hearing someone's voice to know how very special and unique they are. I had an encounter like this during my first year at Paul Bond Boots while I was exploring the question, why us? Why do people love Paul Bond and what does Paul Bond mean to them. It was at this point that I came across a man by the name of Kent Clark. He was the proud owner of over 50 pairs of Paul Bond Boots and was sweet enough to chat with me for a bit about his life and his love of custom cowboy boots. Mr. Clark was a tried and true collector of our boots, and one who never deviated outside of our custom catalog styles. I distinctly remember getting off the phone with Mr. Clark, and thinking to myself, what a great conversation. It was one that stuck with me, so when I heard the news that Mr. Clark had recently passed away, I was very saddened.

However, shortly after, his son, Kurt, sent me an email with his father's obituary along with several photos. To commemorate his father, the family pulled out some of his favorite boots to celebrate his life. Seeing these photos made my heart sing, as they did for everyone at the shop who saw them! We can't describe how happy it makes us to see someone who enjoys their boots as much as Mr. Clark did. So while we are sad to see him leave this world, we know, he is up there in heaven in his good ole' cowboy boots having one heck of time! Mr. Clark, please know - you are remembered and forever missed by Paul Bond Boots.

February 14, 2016

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My Boots: A Poem by Kim Strellis

As many of you know, Paul Bond Boots made the trip to Jackson Hole, WY this past year for the Western Design Conference. Upon arrival, we set up our booth quickly as we were eager to head to the town square before the true hustle and bustle began. As a first timer in JH, I was blown away by the natural beauty and artisanship that surrounded us. Bobbing and weaving throughout all the little shops and restaurants, we came across a quaint wooden box which read – “Poetry Box, Pick One and Enjoy.” Of course I was intrigued and drew a poem from the box, and surprisingly what came next was an interesting and somewhat confusing poem about cowboy boots. Ironic, huh? It read:

My Boots
On the shelf, collecting dust
Unworn, except for try-ons
A sealed deal of least expensive
Brought em’ home
Then the walk around
The leather lied, but I had hope
Back on the shelf
Unworn
Then in their time
They ended up
Being the best
Or was it me
That softened in the soles
Kim Strellis

The reason I bring it up now, after so many months, is because for one reason or another, it stuck with me. I think primarily because I didn’t quite understand what it meant. Was it about a person who grew to love their boots over time? Was it as simple as breaking in a new pair of cowboy boots? Or was it even about boots at all?

After a quick first read, I thought to myself, well that was depressing… the poor guy bought an ill-fitting pair of boots! But after diving a little deeper, I realized it wasn’t depressing at all. To me, this poem is about a man, who grew and changed over his lifetime. Somewhere along the way he purchased a pair of cowboy boots but for some reason, they never felt quite right. In my mind, it wasn’t until he was ready to wear them that he realized their precious nature. In the end not only had the soles of his boots softened, but so had the soul of the man.

*Kim, if you are reading this - I would love to know the thoughts and sentiments behind the writing.

This got me to thinking, if you look back through time, the history of cowboy boots is quite rich with influences from all the over the world. While styles have certainly come and gone, one thing has remained true - the people who wear them are in a league of their own. Those special cowboys and cowgirls are often referred to in literature as the salt of the earth, and I can personally attest to their pure spirits and strong hearts. Some might even say they have soft souls just as the poem implies. People who wear cowboy boots, particularly custom cowboy boots, tend to have a passion for old world craftsmanship and quality materials. When they wear their boots, they wear them with pride because they know the great love and care put into every stitch and every layer. Whether you realize it now or not, I know one thing to be true, cowboy boots are woven into the lining of not only American culture, but the world's culture, and for that, I am grateful to play a role in continuing this fine form of custom craftsmanship.

It's funny how such a little poem can spark such a big thought - thank you Kim!

February 02, 2016

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Ready to Wear Valentine's Day Suprises

Alright ladies and gents, it's that time of year again - Valentine's Day! Whether you are single, dating, or married, it is time to show the love. Here at Paul Bond Boots. we feel like there is no better gift than a pair of cowboy boots!  After all, they illustrate the ultimate level of creativity and uniqueness. Whether you wear cowboy boots everyday or just every once in a while, cowboy boots are embedded in the lining of American history and culture, therefore making them an ideal and timeless gift!

However, we also know that Valentine's is a time for instant gratification. Your Valentine isn't looking to have a gift 6 months from now, they are looking for their special surprise that day (even if that special someone is yourself!)

In lieu of this simple fact, we are offering 10% off on all our Ready to Wear starting today through February 14th! Below are some of my personal favorites! 

*If you can't tell from the images below, I'm really into the exotic cowboy boots right now but trust me, we have countless others - give us a call!

 

1) American Alligator Belly Riding Boots: Size 6.5B

 

2) Ostrich and Calfskin Boots: Size 10D

 

3) Full Quill and Half Quill Ostrich Boots: 9.5C

4) Blue Jean Blue Ostrich Cowboy Boots: 8D

 5) Black and Brown Alligator Boots: Size 10D

January 25, 2016

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3 Reasons You Will Never Wear Stock Boots After You've Worn Custom

Because I live in the world of custom cowboy boots, I often fail to convey the special nature of bespoke craftsmanship, essentially what makes custom boots preferable to your run of the mill stock boots. If you are not acquainted with this custom art form, all you see is dollar signs!  So today I am here to tell you why you should opt for custom despite the higher price tag.

1) Sizing

To begin, sizing is everything when it comes to boots. If you have ever worn a pair of uncomfortable cowboy boots, you know as well as I do that there is no worse experience!  Therefore, if you are trying to incorporate boots into your wardrobe or even make them a staple, the fit is everything! Very few people realize that what we put on our feet today will affect us in the future. Ill fitting shoes can lead to bunions, hammer toes, corns, and that is just to name a few. They can also effect our posture leading to knee, hip, and back pain. If you think about it, our feet take us from A to Z hopefully throughout our lifetime, making them one of our most important assets as humans. For this reason alone, custom boots are always preferable. In order to ensure the best fit possible we take 6 measurements as well as tracings to construct a wooden replication of your foot. One of the most important measurements is around your ball. When this is done properly, it ensures that your foot is housed comfortably in the boot allowing your weight to be evenly distributed throughout versus front heavy on the ball of your foot - hence leading to foot issues later in life and pain in the immediate future. Did I mention, that I have NEVER measured two identical feet? So even if you find a stock boot that happens to fit you well, it is unlikely that both of your feet are going to feel that same love. So folks, Ill say it again - fit is everything and here at Paul Bond Boots, we guarantee our fit!

2) Longevity

Next up is longevity. Bottom line - custom handmade boots last longer than mass manufactured stock boots. Our boots are handcrafted using only the finest materials here in the good ole USA. Every stitch, peg, and nail is custom placed to ensure the longevity of your boot. And guess what, if for some reason you have an issue with your custom boot, we can always fix it, because WE made it. We know the inner and outer working of every aspect of our custom made boots and with that knowledge, we are able to diagnose a problem where someone oversees either can't or is unwilling to do so. So if you think about it, you could by one $400 pair of cowboy boots every year or so for the next 10 to 15 years, or you could purchase one custom boot starting at $900 that could last you up to 20 years!

3) Design

Notice that I left design for last. I did this because I am well aware of all the cool and exciting options out there, especially when it comes to mass manufactured boots. Some people are not willing to pay a little extra to get the exact look they desire. However, I think once you are convinced of the importance of fit and longevity, the ability to custom design your cowboy boots is just an added bonus! Once you get into the details of custom design, you will see just how creative you can get. On the surface, you can pick the exact heel, toe, and height that is most flattering to your foot and calf.

Note to all women: If I have learned one thing, regardless of whether you have a small or a large calf, the size, shape, and height of the tops can make all the difference in how the boot looks and feels on your leg. Let me help you pick out the perfect combination!

Once you get past the basic choices, you can move onto leather combinations, color, inlay and stitching. While I may be biased, trust me when I say, there is nothing more fun than making the trip to Nogales, Arizona to play with all the possibilities of custom cowboy boots. Come see us and experience the legend of Paul Bond Boots - we can't wait to meet you!

*If you are a custom boot owner, we would love to hear what led you to custom boots and what has kept you in them over the years - let us know in the comment section!

January 13, 2016

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Dallas Safari Club 2016

After our first year at the Dallas Safari Club Convention, I can safely say we will definitely be back next year. Not only were we in awe of the cool people we met, but also the vendors were incredible! Coming from all over the globe, the categories ranged from safaris and land leases to precious jewelry and off road vehicles. However, of course our favorites fell into the western realm and even more importantly, the products that we loved most were all hand made with love and care here in the USA just like Paul Bond Boots. Here are a few of our favorites:

1) Rand's Custom Hats

Over the past year we have met Ritch Rand and his lovely wife Neta several times on the road. Each time, I am so impressed with their variety of work and passion for what they do. Having been in business for over 30 years, they have certainly mastered the technique of hat making. While I have yet to decide on the exact hat I want, trust me, a Rand custom hat is in my near future!

 

2) Montana Watch Company

Up until this past weekend I was not familiar with the Montana Watch Company. Luckily for me, I have finally been enlightened to the wonders of old world timepiece craftsmanship. Not only is their work beautifully made, but it also pays homage to the designs of early American watchmakers. If you are the market for something truly unique, this is the place to go. Personally, I am eyeing this beauty!

P.S. Ask for Melanie, she is a sweetheart!

3) Clint Orms Engravers and Silversmiths

Unlike some of the other vendors, I have been familiar with Clint Orms for a good while as we both share the good ole' hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas. To put it simply, his belt buckles are pure masterpieces. The intricacy of his designs and level of craftsmanship makes all of Clint's pieces timeless - certainly something to pass on through the generations.

Speaking of Wichita Falls, come see us this May for Boots, Buckles and Bourbon! More details coming soon.

4) Western Grace

While Western Grace did not set up this year, we were able to meet the lovely up and coming designer Jesse Smith. She makes beautiful pieces, many with hand tooled leather accents. Here she is below (right) with one of our all time favorite customers, both in their Paul Bonds!

The moral of this blog post is essentially to celebrate other artisans, who like Paul Bond Boots, aim to keep the world of bespoke craftsmanship alive in the U.S. Another takeaway would include this simple fact - if you did not attend this year, please come out next year, you won't regret it!

 

 

December 04, 2015

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Ostrich Boots: 101

There is so much thought that goes into designing custom cowboy boots, but lately, I have had several questions around the concept of ostrich boots. People often ask, what is the difference between full quill, half quill, and smooth ostrich? What is an ostrich leg boot? How do you take care of your ostrich boots? How do they feel on, do they stretch? Well today, I want to go into all of that!

For starters, let's define the differences in the hide. As you can see below, an ostrich hide provides several areas to create an excellent boot. For instance, the crown is used for a true full quill ostrich boot. This is where the quills are the most pronounced, while the smooth areas of the hide are used for smooth ostrich boots. Another option is to use part of the belly and part of the smooth area to create a half quill look. All three are very popular, it is merely a matter of preference and price point. As you can imagine, price goes from high to low based on the amount of quills. Therefore full quill is the most expensive, while smooth is the least expensive.

Ostrich Hide

Full Quill Vamps

 

Smooth Vamps and Half Quill Tops

While we are discussing the ostrich hide, let's talk ostrich leg boots. This is a popular trend that creates a very unique looking cowboy boot. What is interesting about this type of boot is the amount of intricacy and talent it takes to craft one. You must assemble the legs together in way that is both appealing to the eye, as well as matches it's mate - it is quite the challenge but has a beautiful end result! These boots can take as many as 15 - 20 ostrich legs with approximately a 13" height restriction due to the size of the ostrich leg itself. This boot below combines both ostrich leg tops and hornback alligator vamps. Pretty cool right?!

Now that we've covered the anatomy of an ostrich skin, let's move onto to the fit and feel of an ostrich boot. In terms of malleability and long term wear, it doesn't get much better. However, like any boot, particularly exotic cowboy boots, we do recommend cleaning and conditioning them on a regular basis to extend their life. Our favorite line is Bickmore, specifically Bick 1 and Bick 4. While Bick 1 cleans your boots, Bick 4 is important to follow up with in order to condition the leather. If you allow too much dirt into the leather, over time, your leather boots will lose their strength and that's the last thing we want! According to the Bickmore experts, "if (your leather) feels dry or if it’s dirty, it needs to be cleaned and conditioned. We generally recommend applying Bick 4 once a week if the item is used every day."

 

 

November 17, 2015

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How to Best Take Advantage of Our Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale!

Every year Paul Bond Boots participates in Black Friday festivities (November 27th). And every year we get a little bit better at handling the chaos! However, this year, we want to take it a step further, and participate in Cyber Monday as well (November 30th)! Additionally, we want to give you a heads up on how to find the perfect sized boots for you.. at this amazing 20% discount!

For starters, men sizes run pretty true to size. For example, if you wear a 10D, most likely our 10Ds will fit you. However, women, if you typically wear an 8D, you are looking anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 sizes smaller that your standard.

As many of you know, most of our shelf boots were made for other customers and for one reason or another, the boots didn't work out. Now the question is, how can we make these boots work for you?! The answer is quite simple; the best indicator of whether a boot will fit you or not is determined by two things 1) your size and 2) your foot's heel measurement. This is the measurement that allows your foot to make the turn into the boot. Below you will see a diagram illustrating this measurement.

Now down to what you all really want to know - 1) What boots do we have in your size? 2) will they fit you? and 3) how much are they?

The great news is that we have updated our website to break out our shelf boots by size - click here and then go to the "Ready to Wear" tab to check it out! Once a boot catches your eye, give us a call and we can tell you the likelihood of the boots fitting you. Keep in mind, we have the tools to stretch and shrink boots, so that is always an option if you receive the boots and they don't quite work.

Lastly, the boot you choose will have a price attached to it but remember, Black Friday and Cyber Monday is all about the discounts so take an additional 20% off the list price!

Word to the wise: start your search today! We will do our best to place a hold onto your boots until the big day comes along!

Happy shopping!

 

 

November 05, 2015

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The Art of Boot Making: Patterns, Cutting, Stitching, & Inlay

Now that we've covered some of the basics of last making - it's time to move on to the rest of your custom cowboy boot! After your last is completed, we will hand cut a custom pattern on manila folder like paper specifically for your boots. Many people believe that you can use the same pattern for multiple people, a "one and done" mentality, however the truth is, the top pattern panels must be re-cut each time in order to fit and balance with your foot and calf measurements. A boot is all about balance and symmetry, and the pattern process is where that idea all begins. For example, below you will see two patterns, for two very different people with very different measurements and specifications.

Once the top's paper pattern is complete, we pull out your leather selections. At this stage it is vital to thoroughly examine the skin for scars, holes, as well as grain and color variations. This process is particularly important with exotic skins such as alligator boots or lizard boots. You want the scales/checks to match up. This may sound simple but it can be difficult as no two skins are exactly the same! After this, we glue the pattern onto the leather with a soft rubber cement glue. We use a rubber cement because it merely holds the pattern in place, and does not effect the leather as it peals off with ease. Additionally, we cut the vamps, lining, front and back stays, as well as pull straps.

From here, we glue down the lining, all the while, our lead artist is hand drawing your chosen custom design on the paper top patterns. Again, this is all about balance and symmetry. It takes time, a keen eye, and lots of practice. For example, a lot of times it is necessary to balance a big inlay design with some top stitching in order to balance the boot out for a more succinct look. Additionally, stitching is a great way to tie in your color way. Below you will see a classic pattern of Paul Bond Boots, the ever popular Tulip design.

After the artwork is complete, the stitching and inlay commences! Additionally the front and back stays are sewn down. It is easy to gloss over this topic but for those curious boot connoisseurs out there, your back and front stay is what enables your boot to stand tall and not bunch up around your ankles. This is a must for all you boot fans out there!

At this point, your boot isn't quite complete, but it is well on its way - stay tuned for more details on the custom boot making process! Comment below if you have any questions or just give us a call!

 

 

  • Prepare paper patterns
  • Cut tops, lining, front and back stays, and pull-straps out of leather
  • Skive appropriate edges of top pieces
  • Assemble tops with cement, including beading
  • Sew tops and pull-straps with inlays, overlays, and stitch patterns
  • - See more at: http://dev4.artlung.com/ordering-custom-boots/cowboy-boot-basics/how-a-cowboy-boot-is-made/#sthash.ygEf6qZs.dpuf
  • Prepare paper patterns
  • Cut tops, lining, front and back stays, and pull-straps out of leather
  • Skive appropriate edges of top pieces
  • Assemble tops with cement, including beading
  • Sew tops and pull-straps with inlays, overlays, and stitch patterns
  • - See more at: http://dev4.artlung.com/ordering-custom-boots/cowboy-boot-basics/how-a-cowboy-boot-is-made/#sthash.ygEf6qZs.dpuf
  • Prepare paper patterns
  • Cut tops, lining, front and back stays, and pull-straps out of leather
  • Skive appropriate edges of top pieces
  • Assemble tops with cement, including beading
  • Sew tops and pull-straps with inlays, overlays, and stitch patterns
  • - See more at: http://dev4.artlung.com/ordering-custom-boots/cowboy-boot-basics/how-a-cowboy-boot-is-made/#sthash.ygEf6qZs.dpuf
    October 21, 2015

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    Flash Sale: Custom Alligator Cowboy Boots!

    This holiday season we are offering several flash sales! This is perfect for those individuals who are just unwilling to wait for their custom cowboy boots. Throughout the season, we will publish several random stock size boots with a random design at a random time, and offering them at a discounted rate! To kick things off, the flash sale starts NOW! Ready, set... GO!

    Size: 10D

    Vamps: American Alligator

    Tops: Kangaroo with cording

    Toe: French toe

    Heel: #3 (1 5/8th inch)

    Height: 12 inches

    Price: $2500 but now $2000!

    October 14, 2015

    1 Comment


    The Art of Boot Making: Lasting

    As many of you know, there is nothing worse than an ill fitting boot. The pain you experience after a couple of hours or so can be TOUGH! Whether it's tightness in the ball of your foot or calf, or even that searing pain in your arches, the pain is real and often unbearable.

    While these "off the shelf" boots or even misfitting custom boots can be a pain, they are often what lead customers to our doorstep. Handcrafting custom cowboy boots is no simple task, and many often inquire on what exactly it entails. Therefore, this blog series is going to center around the art of making a custom cowboy boot. 

    The obvious first step in boot making is taking your measurements but it is after this that the crucial first step of the manufacturing process takes place; last making. To begin, lasts are wooden molds of your feet derived from your measurements. Recently, I read that less than 10% of people over the age of 20 years old have identical feet so you can imagine how much time and precision goes into these wooden shapes.

    This process takes time and dedication to learn as the last maker reading your measurements is like a translator. They translate your one dimensional tracing along with several measurements in order to build 3D representations of your feet. It is here that a mere 1/16th of an inch can make all the difference in the world.

    To begin the translation process, they start by finding a standard stock last that comes closest to your measurements. From here, they build up the last where it is necessary. For instance, they add leather in areas where your foot has irregularities due to age or injuries, such is case for  bunions, "hammer toes," and various other foot issues. They create these "build outs" with pieces of leather glued to the last. After this, the leather can be skived and sanded down in order to achieve the ideal dimensions.

     Additionally, we like to add a small piece of leather and begin the toe shaping process. While this is not necessary, we like to do this in order to make the process run smoother once the boot reaches "toes."

    Once all the additions are made, and the toe is securely fastened, our last makers will go back and check all their measurements before giving the last a smooth finish and passing it along to the next station; patterns and leather cutting. Stay tuned to learn more on the art of boot making!

     

     

    FAQ's:

     

    1) How long does Paul Bond Boots keep my last?

    If you are a frequent boot purchaser, we will keep your last forever. However, if it is a one time purchase, we might use your last for someone else after a year's time. The good news is, we keep your card which has a detailed description of how your last was built. That way, if you decide to order again, we should have no problem replicating your last.

    *Fun fact, we have one of the largest collections of wooden last in the world! Therefore, if we don't need your last for someone else, your last could be around for a longggggg time!

    2) How long is my last "valid?"

    We ask for new measurements every 10 years as your foot changes over time. We want your last to reflect those changes.

    3) What happens if I receive my boots and they aren't fitting properly?

    We will make the necessary adjustments to your boot in order for it to fit you. Additionally, we make the alterations to your last to ensure your next boot fits even better!

     

    The model used to make all custom and factory boots. Until recently it was always carved from wood, but now often fiberglass is used. The toe, however, can be fastened to the end of the last in any style the customer desires. And small pieces of leather are shaped and glued and then sanded down smooth to compensate for any irregularities in a foot or changes that occur normally as a customer ages. - See more at: http://dev4.artlung.com/ordering-custom-boots/cowboy-boot-basics/how-a-cowboy-boot-is-made/#las
    The model used to make all custom and factory boots. Until recently it was always carved from wood, but now often fiberglass is used. The toe, however, can be fastened to the end of the last in any style the customer desires. And small pieces of leather are shaped and glued and then sanded down smooth to compensate for any irregularities in a foot or changes that occur normally as a customer ages. - See more at: http://dev4.artlung.com/ordering-custom-boots/cowboy-boot-basics/how-a-cowboy-boot-is-made/#las
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