Spring boots

I’m fortunate to have the same boot size as several famous bootmakers (9D), and can occasionally acquire boots that they made for themselves.  This unique pair was made by famed bootmaker Terry Stanley for his own feetz. They’re not only pure ostrich, but are made of two pieces of leather instead of the usual four. This means that there’s no junction between the “vamp” (the front foot part) and the “shaft” (the cylinder above the foot part), making the boots incredibly pliable and comfortable.

You can see on the shaft where Stanley has inlaid his initial, “S”, in a sort of Gothic heraldry style. There is also “foxing” (overlay decoration) on the “counter” (heel).

These may be the most comfortable boots I own. Ostrich leather (the holes are where the feathers were) is not only soft, but quite durable.

Boots 1


  1. Posted April 29, 2013 at 4:44 am | Permalink


    Oh, wait a sec… 

    Are the holes actually holes or do they seal naturally when the leather is tanned?


  2. BilBy
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Your boot collection is great, but I have to say – there is something about that pair that is quite disturbing; the holes for the feathers…something rather gruesome about them!

  3. Don
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Very handsome. I like the look of the slightly squared-off toe.

  4. Posted April 29, 2013 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Beauties, those are, they indeed do look most comfy!

    My Saturday Coffee Caucus group-members are curious: do you own more boots than Carter had liver pills? How many days can you wear boots before repeating?

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Guessing that it’s only possible to make two-piece boots with certain, extra pliable leathers.

    And then I start wondering about the differences in the structures of the collagen in one vs another species, assuming that therein lies the basis of the pliability.

  6. Posted April 29, 2013 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Lovely! They kinda remind me of prickly pear, with all those nodules and the soft sheen.

  7. Posted April 29, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    I think you’ve shown us these boots before.

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Those do look comfy! I love boots because I have stupid wobbly ankles. I’m impressed with your boot collection and now don’t feel so bad that I have many (but much fewer) than you. 🙂

  9. Mary Canada
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Very nice

  10. mrclaw69
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Crimeny Prof Coyne!

    You have more shoes than Imelda Marcos!

    • JBlilie
      Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      You knew that comparison was coming, didn’t you, Dr. C.?

  11. darrelle
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    A well made pair of boots are about as comfortable as it gets in foot ware. Presuming they are the correct size for your feet of course. Some of the better pairs I’ve had were so comfortable I regularly wore them without socks.

    But I’ve never owned a pair in the same league as your boots. I’ll have to treat myself someday. My best pair would have to be the Luccheses I bought back about ’86 or ’87. My first pair of Luccheses, and I haven’t had better since. I almost missed my flight out of town in order to buy those boots.

  12. tardis_blue
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Alright, maybe I’m missing something obvious, but if the holes are where feathers were, why aren’t there holes all over?

    • Mike Yonts
      Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Is it possible that the quill dots only come from a certain part of the bird, like the tail? Maybe ordinary feathers don’t leave them.

      • Tardis_blue
        Posted April 30, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        I was nervously envisioning that the dot-free parts were neck skin, which, for some reason, squicks me out. I like your hypothesis better.

  13. jiten
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Lovely boots. I’m wondering how many more posts will you be able to do before you’ve shown us your complete collection. Are we there yet?

    • Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Are you kidding me? I have about 120 pairs, though I’ve never counted.

      • JBlilie
        Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Holy cow (pun intended)! Quite the storage issue there …

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          I’m envisioning a whole room dedicated to boot storage.

      • Marella
        Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        OMG! How would I ever get out the door in the morning if I had to decide between 120 pairs of boots!!

      • jiten
        Posted April 30, 2013 at 12:35 am | Permalink

        Hahahaha, we have a while to go then!

  14. KP
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I can’t remember if I’ve made this comment before, but in my 5 years there, occasionally passing you in the building, but, more importantly, being a teaching assistant in the Ecology and Evolution course you team teach, I completely failed to notice all these boots. Nor do I remember anybody in the Department ever saying to me, “Hey, have you seen all the cowboy boots Coyne wears?”

    The things I’ve learned about you since being plugged into your website….

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      I hope “occasionally passing in the building Jerry” doesn’t annihilate “Internet Jerry” in a strange worlds colliding event. 🙂

  15. Anita
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink


  16. JBlilie
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    A friend of mine’s wife, when they got married, had 100 pairs of shoes. She explained it this way: “30 colors, 3 heel-heights!”

    Impeccable logic. They were all nicely organized and stored so she could find them.

    Seems excessive though. But, to each her own, eh? Thank goodness we all like different things! I’m sure many would balk at the things I have many of.

  17. JBlilie
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Which makes me wonder: Dr. C.: How do you store and organize all those boots? How do you find the ones you’re thinking of in the morning?

    (My footgear are easy — I only have two pairs!)

  18. MaryL
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    They look comfortable and remind me that I’ve eaten ostrich and din’t like it. (There’s an ostrich farm in the area.)

  19. Notagod
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    If they can made crackers from Its meat they can make boots from Its skin. Those dark marks could have been caused by the blood wine leaking through the thorn holes. Jesus Christ is that you?

  20. Venise Alstergren
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry, but these boots are truly repulsive. What a waste of a perfectly good bird.

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