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.
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."
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!
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!
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!
Vamps: American Alligator
Tops: Kangaroo with cording
Toe: French toe
Heel: #3 (1 5/8th inch)
Height: 12 inches
Price: $2500 but now $2000!
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!
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!
From time to time Paul Bond Boots likes to offer a promotion to our wonderful customers. This summer that promotion is going to take place in the form of a referral program. For every customer you refer in the month of August, you will receive 10% off your next pair of custom cowboy boots! And guess what, that 10% is cumulative so for every additional customer you refer, you gain an additional 10% off! And to take this one step further, we will extend the 10% offer to the customer you refer as well!
So while you are busy referring your friends and family, take some time to view some our latest custom creations!
Here at Paul Bond Boots, we craft fine American made custom cowboy boots using your personal designs, measurements, and leather choices. Crafted by our highly skilled artisans, every boot is built from the ground up using only the highest quality leathers and methods. Our goal is to create works of art that you can wear and enjoy for years to come.
When it comes to custom boots, most people are overwhelmed, particularly when it comes to the measurement process. We are here to make this as simple as possible.
To get started, check out the following fit options:
2) Make an adventure out of it and come see us in Nogales, Arizona.
3) Fly one of our experts out to see you - great for big groups!
4) Come see us at a Trade Show.
If you have any questions, please let us know. We will go above and beyond in order to attain your best measurements - we've even done Skype video chats! The sky is the limit, so go ahead, give us a call!
Welcome back guys! Today we are exploring exotics, the last part of this three part series, in The Language of Leather. Exotics are always a fun topic for us because there is such a wide range these days, particularly in respect to color and texture. Many believe that exotics are strictly for formal wear, but the truth is, they can be "dressed down" as well, allowing your custom boots to go from the office to a night on the town with ease.
To begin, let's define the exotic leather options. The most popular are alligator, ostrich, and lizard. However, today we expand this category to include stingray, elephant, shark, and snake/python.
Alligator is considered the premiere option in the exotic class, as well as the most expensive. In the past, alligator custom made boots would be worn solely on formal occasions. However, today they can be
"dressed down," utilizing horned back or even the oily tanned versions. To be clear, I use the term "dressed down" lightly, as alligator is and will always be statement handmade cowboy boots. Paul always said that "no finer boot can be made," than the spectacular Las Vegas. I would have to agree!
Ostrich on the other hand, is considered the most comfortable of the exotics for custom cowboy boots. It molds to your foot overtime like a sock. Additionally, it is lighter and airier than its alligator counterpart due to its quill pattern. In terms of price, full quill is the most expensive. However, you can get a similar look at a more affordable price point if you opt for half quill or smooth ostrich instead. Like alligator, ostrich is great with a suit, or a nice pair of blue jeans. The choice is yours!
Lizard is ideal for providing an exotic, elegant feel, yet at a more affordable price point than gator or ostrich. It is known for its scuff resistant tendencies and high gloss finish. However, in my opinion, it is more difficult to dress down lizard due to its glossy texture. Therefore, if you are looking for great dress custom made boots at a super affordable price point, lizard is the skin for you! An added bonus is the wide variety of colors it is available in.
Now moving on to the less discussed exotics like stingray, elephant, snake, and shark. Custom cowboy boots with stingray vamps run right in the middle in terms of price point. They are slightly more expensive than lizard, but less expensive than gator and ostrich. Stingray is the most scratch and abrasion resistant of all leathers. As many of you know, here at Paul Bond Custom Boots, our leathers are "pre-stretched" in order to have that "broken in" feel the first time you wear them. However, stingray has very little give in it. Because of this factor, it has a tendency to feel snug particularly in the ball and instep. Over time, it will give and mold to your foot. My recommendation is to start with basic handmade cowboy boots if you are considering stingray, in order to get your fit perfect. Once your fit is spot on, move onto stingray as a second pair of custom made boots. The great thing about this leather is the uniqueness of it's pattern, its durability, as well as a wide variety of color options.
Elephant has been a really popular choice in custom boots as of late and runs the same price as stingray. It is known for its durability and unique tanning options. In my opinion, elephant is more casual on the spectrum in terms of exotics. You can opt for a matte version, which most people are accustomed to, or now, you can go for the suede version, which is softer to the touch; less rugged.
NOTE: I want to assure you that all of our leathers, including elephant, are sourced in an ethical way. The only country that legally exports elephant is Zimbabwe. These elephants are raised for years in national parks. As their numbers multiply in the area, the elephants begin to destroy the vegetation and the ecosystem of the land. This is when they must control the population. Not only is this monitored by their government, but by the US government as well.These are the only elephants we are sourcing - like you, we would not be comfortable using elephants that were poached or illegally attained.
As mentioned previously, shark is very difficult to source at the moment due to certain fishing methods that are taking place. However, when shark is accessible it is a great exotic, particularly for a working cowboy boot due to its durability and scuff resistant texture.
And lastly, snake custom cowboy boots are beautiful exotics with a wide range of pattern and color variations. With this leather, it is important to note that it takes a considerable amount of maintenance. The scales need to be conditioned on a regular basis. You must clean under the scales where dust can accumulate and harm the leather. However, if you don't mind that, this leather makes for beautiful handmade cowboy boots with a lot of shine and pizazz!
NOTE: Keep in mind, in terms of all leathers, particularly exotics, you must clean and condition them on a regular basis in order to keep their luster and lengthen their lifespan. Our custom made boots get better with age, if taken care of.
As you can see, there are a lot of aspects to consider when choosing leathers, many of which we have discussed in length throughout this series. Exotics can be a tough choice, particularly because of the added expense. My goal is for you to be educated on each leather so you know exactly what you are getting into when you decide to purchase your custom boots! As we move forward, I would love to hear about any topics you might be interested in. For instance, the importance of handmade cowboy boots maintenance, or even a deeper dive into the production process.
During Part 1 of this series, we discussed choosing your leathers based on occasion. However, today we are going to come at it from a different vantage point. I want to discuss what feel you are going for in your custom boots. Soft and malleable? Sturdy and tough? Or even soft, yet durable! (Yes, you can have both!) I will preface this by saying that all of our handmade cowboy boots are custom fit to your size, and should be comfortable on your foot, as well as durable. Quality custom cowboy boots should last you approximately 10 years, and many last a lifetime. Therefore, this series is all a matter of preference, and worth exploring.
To begin, let's start with the people who are looking for that soft, and pliable leather. This is great for individuals with foot issues such as gout, bunions, excessive swelling, and/or prior foot injuries. By far, our most popular leather in this category is our Italian Kangaroo. Although I don't have many issues with my feet, I tend to like kangaroo for it's light weight feel. It has this great "barely there" aspect that makes them really easy to wear.
Another skin that falls into this category would be our traditional calf skin. Many would argue that it doesn't scuff as easy, and I would have to agree with that statement. Many of us are tough on our custom made boots, and in this case I would recommend calf over kangaroo. It won't be as lightweight but it will give you a similar feel in terms of pliability. Additionally, they look almost identical from an aesthetic standpoint, with calf having slightly more grain to it.
Now moving into the hides known for their durability such as bull hide, bison, shark, and elephant. These make for great working cowboy boots that can also be shined up for formal occasions. For several reasons, a popular choice these days has been bull hide. For starters, it comes in a variety of colors unlike bison which tends to be available in 4 standard colors, black, and 3 shades of brown. Additionally, it takes a great shine with availability in both high gloss and matte.
Bison, elephant, and shark are all great options as well. Bison has been a fan favorite for custom cowboy boots due to its deep grain and rich tones. However, some say it tends to give a little more than your average leather. So if you are looking for a looser fit over time, or something that "grows with you," bison could be the perfect choice. Elephant on the other hand has grown in custom boots popularity due to its wide variety of tanning options and ability to "take a beating." We have access to matte, vintage, safari, and suede as shown below.
Lastly, I want to take a look at ostrich and all its glory! Ostrich is known as one of the all time most comfortable handmade cowboy boots leathers, especially in the exotic realm. Not only does it mold to your foot with its extreme pliability, it is also very durable. Additionally, we have a large library of colors from bright turquoise to muted saddle tones. You name it, and we can find it!
I know not all leathers were covered today, so I encourage you to leave a comment on this post if you have additional questions. The world of leather is endless, making it overwhelming at times. Please remember we are here to help, we make it our job to know everything there is to know about this subject matter.
In the meantime, be on the lookout for our final post in The Language of Leather series where I will be discussing exotics, a category of leather in a league of it's own. Here we will discuss several things such as what leathers are considered exotic? What are the pros and cons of certain exotics? And even more important, price points!
For a look at all our leather options, click here: http://www.paulbondboots.com/pages/boot-anatomy
I think by now you all have a good idea of who I am and what I am doing at Paul Bond Custom Boots, but now I'd like to change up the topic of conversation. My goal is to address all those sticky wickets of the custom made boots ordering process. I know this process can be overwhelming so whether you are struggling with leather decisions or handmade cowboy boot styles, or even wait time or price, I am here to help.
To begin this series, I want to start with the most common question I get; what is the best leather for me?
If you were to ask Paul this question, he would always respond with.. "How do you intend to use these boots?" I am going to take that question a few steps further and break it down into three simple pieces:
When thinking about occasion, think about the objective of your handmade cowboy boots. How will you use them most? If the answer to that question is to work, we need to put you in a highly durable and scuff resistant leather such as french waxed calf, elephant, bull shoulder, bison, or shark (difficult to source at the moment).
Our most popular is french waxed calf, illustrated in our working cowboy boot, but in high demand lately has been the wide variety of elephant on the market these days.