The cost of custom made cowboy boots varies widely. First, let’s define a custom boot. Another word for custom is “bespoke,” meaning made especially for a certain client. When I talk about a custom or bespoke boot I’m referring to boots made for an individual client according to their measurements and leather and design choices. I’m not referring to a factory made boot with the option of choosing the toe or heel style.
There are many elements that determine the price of a custom made boot.These factors can be the boot maker’s experience, the boot maker’s overhead expenses, and the number of employees working in the shop.
A boot maker with many years of experience making cowboy boots usually charges more than a beginning boot maker. After many years of making boots a boot maker has a vast knowledge of fit, leather quality, and working with clients. This translates into a higher demand for his/her work and frequently a waiting time of a year of more. Sometimes experienced boot makers don’t even accept new clients and will only make boots for past and current customers.
Some boot makers keep their overhead small by working out of their garage or a building on their property, while others rent or buy a business location. These choices can affect the cost of doing business and will be reflected in the price of the boots. Working from home is less expensive but it can appear less professional and also make the boot maker’s location harder to find.
Having several employees can reduce the labor costs of building a pair of boots. Rather than paying an experienced boot maker to do every step of the process, an employee can be trained to do one or two processes and paid only to do those things. There are many, many steps in building a pair of boots and it takes years to master each technique. Learning only a few techniques is faster and that translates to lower labor costs.
An average starting price for custom made cowboy boots is $1500-$3500 and options like exotic leathers and intricate designs will add to the price.
My own prices start at $10,000 and the wait time for an order to be completed is around 18 months. My shop is located in historic downtown Guthrie, Oklahoma. I work alone in my shop using hand tools and vintage machinery; I have no employees and no computerized machines. I require a personal meeting with each client in order to measure their feet and discuss leather and design choices.