• murphy thiel

Learning to Make Cowboy boots

I first moved to New Mexico in the Fall of 2018, strictly on a mission to learn the art of making Cowboy boots. Little did I know that learning to make custom Cowboy boots is as challenging as it is rewarding. I moved to the South West, not knowing a single soul to study under the fourth generation Master Boot maker Deana Mcguffin, of Mcguffin Custom Boots, based out of the South Valley of Albuquerque New Mexico. I have worked with leather for over ten years now, and thought it would be a simple thing to pick up and add to my arsenal of tricks. HA!

Making boots, the "proper" way is an extremely difficult task to conquer. To become a good boot maker, one must spend a lifetime mastering the smallest details. Making boots is equal parts engineering, sculpting and a well tuned design eye. You can be a excellent maker, top and bottom finisher, but I think it takes a certain finesse of making sexy looking boots. I'm NO WHERE near being a master, but I feel accomplished about chipping away at the lifelong task ahead. Lots of cuts on my fingers and stab wounds to show for my efforts.

What draws me to making boots is fusing art and design while making a functional piece of footwear. The way traditional cowboy boots are made, are made to last a lifetime. Parts can be taken off and replaced, and at the same time, you can beat the shit out of your boots and they look even better that way. I sew welts, build heels and make shanks from hammered nails like a cavewoman. IT IS NOT EASY. I have a deep respect for my fellow boot apprentices out there , because we are collectively trying to keep this craft alive, while our amazing mentors are still around to show us the ropes.

For Now, I am working on a Footwear collection fusing all of my leather tricks into one cohesive collection. Whatever that looks like, its a massive project that I am so excited to show you in the future. Using what I have learned in Menswear fashion design, handbag making and now cowboy boots. Stay tuned and to everyone who continues to support me, a huge giant big virtual hug to all of you.


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