Take a walk on the grounds of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, and you'll see them and hear them.
The shuffle of cowboys boots is the sound of the Stock Show, and the styles you'll see are as varied as the people who wear them. It turns out those boots are more about function than fashion.
And the proof comes from an orthopedic surgeon who wears his boots as easily as Carrie Bradshaw wore her Christian Louboutins in Sex and the City.
“I wear them all the time,” says Brady Rhodes, DPM, a specialist in foot and ankle surgery and faculty member in the Podiatry Residency at JPS in Fort Worth.
According to a news release from JPS, surgeons like Rhodes know it matters what you wear on your feet. Cowboy boots “give you a built-in heel lift,” which reduces stress on the Achilles tendon. Rhodes also likes the soles of cowboy boots which have a rigid metal shank from end to end for solid support.
It all makes sense to Patty Adams, one of the people who will work at the FWSSR during its 23-day run.
She told her dad her feet were hurting after just a few days and "Dad said, 'Why don't you wear your boots? You were them every day.' So, I put 'em on, and I'm 100 percent more comforatble than in my tennis shoes."
Adams' fulltime job is selling cars in Fort Worth, but she's taking three weeks off to work at the FWSSR where her kids showed livestock growing up. Her worn out, roughed up Nocona boots have been resoled once in the eight years she's owned them. The pair she wears walking around the grounds of the Will Rogers Memorial Center is the same pair she wears walking customers around the car lot.
Charles Hill, Donald Sealy and Andrew Douglas knew a lot about cowboy boots and keeping them show ready. The three have decades of experience in the shoe shine business. Every year at Stock Show time, they leave their fulltime gigs and set up in the corner of the Amon Carter Exhibits Hall to shine the boots of cowboys and cowgirls. For a $10 investment and 10 minutes of time, the trio helps customers put their best foot forward.
The trio also adds a little fun to those who are making their first trip to the FWSSR. They break out a special little song to celebrate the first timers.
Name the skin - alligator, cowhide leather, goat, eel, elephant, lizard, ostrich, snake or stingray - and they've seen it. Name the price point, and they've seen it, too.
And, when it comes to comfort, Rhodes at JPS says go for more room in the toe box such as boots with a square or rounded toe. In the JPS news release, Rhodes says for those with bunions, “some of the exotic leathers are more forgiving,” with ostrich at the top of the list.