Wet-weather boots

When it’s wet and slushy outside, as it promises to be today, I don’t wear fancy or expensive cowboy boots, for water (and, in winter, salt) is death on boots. But I have some well-made and sturdy boots that are my standbys for bad weather. Here’s a nice pair: Lucchese calf boots from the “San Antonio” days (, when these off-the-shelf boots were of a quality similar to custom boots.

Because they’re calf, they’re prone to cracking; this can’t be avoided even with good boot care. (This is why my new custom pair of boots is kangaroo, which doesn’t crack.) You can see the surface cracks in the picture below. But I love the color, and these things, even if worn in dire conditions, are sturdy enough to outlive me. 

The sign of a good handmade boot: wooden pegs used to hold the sole onto the boot. The pegs (traditionally lemonwood) are hammered in my by hand, and wooden pegs are better than the metal ones used in cheaper boots as wood swells when it’s wet, giving extra binding force hold on the sole. Lucchese “San Antonios” were all like this, but haven’t been made for years. Now the comparable boots are the top-of-the-line Lucchese “Classics,” which are quite pricey.



  1. BobTerrace
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    The pegs (traditionally lemonwood) are hammered in my hand…

    Now THAT is true dedication.

  2. Doneta Pernak
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Lol @ “the pegs are hammered in my hand”! That may be the funniest, most ironic typo ever.

  3. rickflick
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I’m more of a galoshes man myself.


  4. darrelle
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I scored a pair of San Antonio Luccheses quite literally just before they left San Antonio in 1986.

    It was quite the adventure. I was in Texas for my brothers wedding. I flew in and out of San Antonio and I knew that Lucchese was there and that I wanted to try and get a pair. I celebrated hard for about a week and never made time to go get boots. The morning of the day I was flying out I got up early and called a cab. The cabby had trouble finding Lucchese so by the time I got there I had only minutes to pick out a pair of boots. I had the cab wait, ran in, took about 3 minutes to pick out a pair of boots and then had to figure out how to pay for them, since I was a poor student at the time. Maxed out the low limit credit card I had at the time and emptied my wallet of cash and that just covered it. Barely made it to the airport in time.

    Loved the boots. Hands down, no question, the best boots I’ve ever worn. Still have them, though they are a bit worn. Lots of stories to those boots. Once they were even stolen, but thankfully recovered.

    • dabertini
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      How did you recover them?

      • darrelle
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        It turned out that a neighbor just down the hall from me had stolen them. I was at an impromptu party at his place and just chanced to see them sitting on the floor of a closet with an open door. I took them, confronted him, then left with my boots.

        He wasn’t a friend, but a friendly acquaintance. I never would have suspected him, but the incident certainly taught me something about him. Afterwards it made sense. He had seen the boots before and was very complimentary about them.

        • Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          Now that-there’s serendipity!

  5. Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Cool boots! Looking good with them up on the desk! 🙂

  6. Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Don’t wish to be morbid but I hope you’re bequeathing your fantastic boot collection to someone deserving!

  7. Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I seem to remember ostrich leather also being quite sturdy (from prior discussions on this website).

    Any quantum of experience as to how this and kangaroo compare? (Just in case I’ll ever be in the position to decide on which animal to skin for a pair of boots.)

    • darrelle
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know anything about the toughness of ostrich hide, but kangaroo hide is used for competition level motorcycle racing suits because of its toughness. It has about 10 times the tensile strength of cow hide allowing for better protection, lighter and thinner, which equates to wearability / flexibility.

      • Posted December 2, 2016 at 1:04 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the heads-up! Should I have a pair of boots made, I guess I’ll wait till I can purchase the hide on a trip to Australia. 😃

        Ben Breuer (sorry for the divergent login name)

  8. Posted December 1, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Love the boots! I just hope you don’t wind up on the Orwellian “Professor Watchlist” by the far right group, Turning Point USA. It looks like Trump will return us to the “good old days” of McCarthyism and witch hunts for those deemed to be un-American by these self-appointed guardians of real ‘Murica. There is an article about them on Daily Kos at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/11/27/1604471/-New-conservative-website-lists-professors-accused-of-liberal-bias-and-anti-American-values

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