Cowboy boot hunting is a lot perseverance and a little luck. You have to have boot-mind. You have to have patience. You have to have a high degree of tolerance for cheap-ass mall-rat boots. You have to have a discerning eye, and the feel for boots within your fingers.
Some of my jillion boots were picked up in Salvation Armys across this great land. Some waited behind the man-made leather-like purple pumps to practically fall off the shelf onto my toes. Others, coy, shelved themselves above eye level, as if knowing that only the best cowboy-boot wearers would look up above the dirty children’s tennis shoes.
Quite a few of my jillion boots were found in piquant places. Tombstone, the shop of a cowboy poet, down the street from the OK Corral and Boot Hill. Sweet, slim black and gray jobs, thin leather (kangaroo, someone mused), high heels. My uncle of the motorcycle in his garage although he’s too achy to ride it anymore touched the boots with his big hands, reverently.
Two spangly boots from a West Village consignment shop–high on the top shelf, more decoration than wares. I was heading to my own reading and something about the silver sparkles on one, something about the turquoise leather-red trim flash on the other… trying them both on, one pair then other other, clock ticking I’ll have to run and pray the subways are on time…I bought both, I ate PB&J for the next month.
And still others are gifts from my own urban prairie man, whose hands have spanned my feet so often he can divine the size of a boot with a glance. Racy black and tan cut-out boots. Boisterous party Good Luck! and horseshoes, party animal boots. Lean python boots, cracked with someone else’s use.
A friend and I will be going boot shopping in NYC–yes there are places where you can buy cowboy wares in an East Coast time zone–but there’s nothing like the discovery on the road, slipping off the freaking Tevas to push my foot into skin-meltingly smooth leather.