Custom bootmakers in Texas; is this the right fit for you?

a row of 5 pair of custom-made boots made by Guy Spikes and Paul Bonds. All leather, hand-crafted boots

Custom Bootmakers in Texas; Is This The Right Fit For You?


The beloved cowboy boot is a symbol of pride for America and is adored by many. They’re not only stylish but also functional and filled with history, making them a desirable option for people of all ages. Whether they’re custom-made or bought off the shelf from a custom bootmaker or factory, there’s a pair of cowboy boots to suit everyone’s taste.


The History of Western Cowboy Boots

Historically, we cannot go back to the first bootmaker and the year, but somewhere around the year 1865 in Texas or Kansas, the first boots were noted in the United States. Due to the environment, there was a need for specific footwear that was fit for riding and hiking for hours. Where else but the West for these to appear?

Cobblers made these shoes for functionality and not fashion. These boots had to help protect the riders’ legs and feet while riding the ranch for hours on end through cattle, trees, brush, and don’t forget about snake bites! Boots weren’t just footwear but tools used by cowpunchers and ranchers.

Before cars, most people traveled on horseback. Boots also helped to protect their legs while riding, made slipping their foot into a stirrup easier, and helped it to stay in place during long rides.

Originality and Style

Cowboy boots are a specific style of riding boots and historically worn by cowboys. The construction of the cowboy boot is made with a high heel, that is traditionally made of stacked leather, rounded to pointed toe, high shaft, and no lacing. Normally, cowboy boots are made from cowhide leather, which may be decoratively hand-sewn a by custom bootmaker, but are also made from exotic skins such as alligator, snake, ostrich, lizard, eel, elephant, and so on.

There are also different types of cowboy boots when it comes to the shaft. The height of the shaft can depend on your leg length, comfort, and the style the individual may be looking for.

Toe shapes on boots are another way to distinguish what you’re boot is being worn for, demographics, and again, personal preference. There is a rounded toe, squared toe, broad squared, snip toe,  a toe, s toe, pointed toe, and a few more to choose from.

Heel sizes and shapes are another aspect of the custom-made boot that needs to be considered. From the cowboy heel to roper style and undershot or riding heel, there are many shapes to choose from. Some are personal preferences, but some are just the custom bookmaker’s choice due to the style of boot he/she likes to put out.


True Cowboys and Their Boots

Today you’ll find cowboy boots are considered more fashionable rather than a tool or functional footwear, depending on your location. Because of Hollywood’s Western movies and shows, people started seeing more and more of these cowboy boots between the 1930s and 1950s. As more regular folk got a glimpse of the “Wild, Wild West”, soon everyone wanted to sport a pair. (Somewhere true cowboys are rolling their eyes). Some will say that ranchers and cowboys, nowadays, will prefer a pair of tennis shoes or flat-laced shoes to work around the ranch or ride, but a true cowboy will always wear his favorite riding boot to get work done and most choose their favorite custom bootmaker to get them built. And let’s admit it…there is something about a cowboy or cowgirl in their boots!

Brown leather custom-made boots with spurs built by Guy Spikes

Boot Influencers and Custom Bootmakers

There are different influences when it comes to the style of a boot. From the Wellington, which is a British Military boot, to the English riding boot and not to mention, the Vaqueros; the Spanish version of the cowboy boot.  Custom bootmakers took note of these styles, with horse riding in mind, and used this influence to create Western boots.

Mass-Produced Pollution

I hope you have your boots on because I’m about to step on some toes! Enter the Industrial Revolution. This is when boots, along with millions of other products, allowed companies to mass produce almost anything. The First Industrial Revolution caused global growth from hand production to machine production. Not only did output increase but so did chemical pollution and population growth. With population growth came the need for more production due to materialism, thus more factories, in essence causing more pollution. And so on and so on!

Quality Over Quantity

Since these factories were thriving off the need of the ever-growing population, they learned how to create more with less. They use less material and less quality to keep costs down. Due to wanting to keep costs down, they have less manpower. Today it’s worse than ever with most of the things being sold in America made in China!

Don’t get me wrong, shelf boots have their place. Some use shelf boots for work, be it steel toe, rubber, or lace-up boots, there is a fit for everyone. The price point is a real issue, also. Personally, I have a pair of black eel skin boots I purchased through a locally owned Western wear store and my friend in my hometown of New Iberia, called Gulotta’s, and love them!

I’ll admit, being born in the late ’60s, I don’t remember many handmade products other than the clothes my grandmother sewed for us and the quilts she made, or the bullets my dad reloaded on our back patio. Once I was introduced to handmade products by skilled and knowledgeable people out there that are still doing them, I’m infatuated with them. I can see and feel the difference and I want to share about them. The need for these artisans to be spotlighted and made known to those who don’t normally know this world is what most of our blogs will be about and the reason for our website. Bootmakers are just the start! Hold on to your hat because this is just the beginning!

a row of custom-made leather boots with American flags on either end. they are on a wooden timber on the ground in Santa Anna Texas

Custom Bootmakers

Custom bootmakers are still around. They are alive and well, folks! From Texas to New Mexico, Oklahoma, California to Arizona, and Colorado, they are everywhere and preserving the history of bootmaking.

You’re going to have to do some research in your area and ask those who have custom boots about where they had them made in order to find your maker. Take some time to check out a few and decide on whose style fits your liking the best. Better yet, go visit each shop, ask some questions, and check out any boots available for you to see. Oh yeah, expect to be on a waiting list to get them built. I mean, they’re sought after, made to last, and worth the wait!


Seymour, TX Custom Bootmakers

During our recent trip through Texas we blogged about, Vince brought us to Seymour, TX. During our visit there, we were able to visit with Mr. Guy Spikes. Now, I’ve heard of Guy Spikes since Vincent has several pairs of boots custom-made by him. He has some that are over 20 years old and are still in great shape. He also had a pair that needed new soles and heel caps, so he brought them back to Guy to get those done.

After meeting Guy, I wanted to watch him work, but our first visit was more of them catching up on things. Mr. Spikes is someone who has truly dedicated his life to making a good boot. He has the function over fashion down and he makes it quite clear that it’s important to him and his clients over the years since most were cowboys who came into town to get fitted for work boots with him. He never believed in charging a price that these guys couldn’t afford, just to keep up with the other custom bootmakers.

Brazos Custom Bootmaker

The second day we met with Guy; Vince teased him about measuring me for a pair of custom boots. You see, Mr. Spikes now only does a few repairs of boots and is proud of the lasts he created and is perfecting. Guy quit taking custom boot orders in 2018. He has served his time and has also passed down his knowledge to others on how to make a custom boot. He’ll take repairs for current customers, but concentrates on his lasts and getting them to other custom bootmakers.

When he talks about those who have worked in his shop, you can see the happiness and pride on his face of handing down his trade to others. These ladies would start out by stitching tops for him and turn it into a full-time business after opening their own shops. Guy liked helping the wives of the cowboys who worked on ranches in their area. Seeing the importance of having two incomes in the household, he did what he could to educate them on making their own boots and turning them into a business. He has worked hard for 44 years as a custom bootmaker to build his business as it stands today; Brazos Boot Shop.

After visiting and teasing him, I found myself having my feet measured by Guy, explaining every step along the way. I was fascinated by his way of measuring since it’s not done just for fit and comfort while standing, but the thought that must go into it for the all-day wear while walking, riding, standing, and how easily the boot will go on and to take off. The knowledge and understanding of the anatomy of the foot and what happens with each step all affect the build. After all, these are custom boots to fit your feet, no one else’s!

Tobasco Sauce and Bribes

When we returned a week later, we came bearing gifts from New Iberia, LA; more importantly, Tabasco country! You see, Mr. Guy is a Tabasco hot sauce fan. He says he puts it on everything! He joked about accepting these gifts as a bribe to build a pair of boots for me, but I assured him that they were just a gift and not a bribe, unless bribes were acceptable!

Mr. Guy Spikes started making boots in 1979 when he attended TSTI (Texas State Technological Institute) for a year and a half to learn the art of custom bootmaking. Never having any job placement through school, he found himself looking for a shop to work in. Bob Ross was his instructor. He and his family celebrated 100 years in the business back in 2019. Guy ended up working at Moorhouse East with equipment found in Tom Moorhouse’s garage in Benjamin, Texas. There was equipment there for boot-making that someone acquired by paying bail for another. Tom let him repair boots with that equipment, such as Tex Robins and other custom bootmakers.

Guy found himself fascinated by the ortho aspect and always found a way to improve the fit and comfort of a boot. He feels that the right last for making the boot is the key to the best fit and comfort.

After working for Heads or Tails in Haskell, TX doing repairs, Guy Spikes opened his own shop in Lubbock, TX. He then worked from home in Wichita Falls, TX while his wife attended school to become an RN, so he could share in the duties of raising their children.

In 1997, they landed in Seymour, TX, and created a shop in the back of his home for 15 years. Currently, Brazos Boot Shop is in downtown Seymour and has been for 11 years now.

Lasts Made To Fit

As I said before, he no longer does custom builds, but will do repairs here and there. He also has lasts that he designed and has a few shelf boots he’s made with these lasts. So, technically, if he has a pair on his shelf that fits your feet, you’ll have yourself a pair of custom boots by Mr. Guy Spikes!

Mr. Spikes concentrates his time and efforts on boot lasts. Boot lasts is a tool used by custom bootmakers to shape a boot while being constructed. It’s a mold that looks like a foot and is the most important tool in bootmaking. Lasts are used to keep the shape of the boot. Lasts aren’t an exact copy of the foot but are used to create the cavity inside of a boot where the foot will be. They were originally hand-carved by bespoke shoemakers, made of hardwood such as maple or beech. Nowadays, more plastic or composite is being used.

The word last comes from the old English word, “laest”, meaning footprint. These footprints, or lasts, are an exact replica of your foot, but an abstraction based on the measurements of your foot. This is why having a last for a build of a custom boot is the most crucial step of the process.

The last Guy has designed are made of composite material and built in Mexico by Sorrell. He would love for other bootmakers to buy his last, test them out, and give him some feedback in order to perfect them. He has spent years of research, and trial and error to get these lasts right.

Crimp Boards and Custom Bootmakers

Crimp boards are all around his shop, as he still uses them to stretch the vamps and their liners. There are sewing machines of all different kinds since no two machines sew the same part of the boot. Guy doesn’t mind working on machines as they break or slow down. He knows older machinery is built better, tougher, and stronger, so it’s worth putting in a little work on them every now and again.

Now, I’ll be back real soon to visit Mr. Guy Spikes after receiving a phone call from him telling me he has a pair of 6C shelf boots built that will fit my foot according to my measurements. Hopefully, the picture with my new boots will accompany this blog.

UPDATE…got my boots and they are BEAUTIFUL! He really surprised me with these!

Custom-made brown leather and turquoise leather topped women's boots made by Brazo's boots, Guy Spikes

When you find yourself checking out Seymour, TX, don’t forget to stop in Brazos Boot Shop at 118 S Washington and tell Mr. Guy Spikes that Lesley and Vince sent you. Check out his shelf boots and ask to see his lasts. Oh! Don’t forget some hot sauce!

We would love to hear where you get your boots. Drop us an email @ [email protected]

Until next time, you can bet your boots I’ll be wearing mine!