A recent fashion article from the Chicago Tribune declared that cowboy boots are no longer reserved for those on the range. According to writer Ellen Warren, “cool girls” all over are wearing them with pants, jeans, skirts, and dresses. Brides are wearing them down the aisle, and every young university student seems to fancy wearing them with shorts.
If you browse the array of different designer boots on Lyst, you can see just how many are stepping outside of their comfort zones to accommodate the upward trend to create their own take on the old Western footwear. Just check out the styles from Frye, Guiseppe Zanotti, or Freda Salvador. They’re some of the biggest names in the industry and, sure enough, they’re enthusiastically embracing a style once reserved for getting down and dirty on the ranch.
It’s hardly the first time a functional wardrobe piece has turned into a fashion statement. Remember overalls? Otherwise known as Salopettes or bib-and-brace overalls, denim overalls were originally worn as protective garments by tradesmen, farmers, and factory workers. The connected shoulder straps kept the pants upright no matter how hard the men worked; the denim was durable enough to last for years no matter how grueling the conditions; and the ample pocket space was perfect for storing different tools as needed. It wasn’t until the 1960s that they became more of a fashion statement, worn by men and women alike.
Cowboy boots are no different.
They were originally created for cowboys. Ranch hands needed a comfortable shoe that could withstand hard days along a rugged trail, with a pointed toe that could easy slip in and out of a saddle stirrup. But their rise in popularity could be hit with a steep downfall. You don’t see many people wearing overalls these days, meaning this trend could be susceptible to the same fate as overalls, or more recently, UGG Boots.
E! Online contributor Diana Nguyen recently published an infographic detailing the rise and fall of UGGs, which once dominated the shoe scene. She blamed the shoe’s popularity decline on the public’s love-hate relationship with the design, as well as the shoe’s over saturation in the market—two factors that could just as easily apply to the cowboy boot. For every person who loves them, you’ll find one of two who despise them. However, that hasn’t stopped them from showing up again and again on celebrities and non-celebrities alike.
But the question remains, how sustainable is the cowboy boot? Is it worth the investment? That’s up for you to decide.