Dallas Cowboys

Secret behind the iconic Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader boots

NBC Universal, Inc.

When the Dallas Cowboys take the field, there’s another squad a few yards over, a team so iconic their uniform sits in the Smithsonian.

The secret behind the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders’ famous kick line and those jump splits may lie in their Texas-made boots. Precision, flexibility and timing are the cornerstones of the cheerleaders.

“They want perfection. They demand it,” Kleine Powell, a second-year cheerleader says about her coaches. “You got to be the toughest of the grain,” she says.

They are athletes and brand ambassadors for the most storied team in the NFL.

“What little girl doesn't look up to the DCC? I mean, they are so iconic," Powell said. "Iconic, 60 years running. Once you put on the blouse, vest, the shorts and then last but not least, you put on the boots, it really just makes everything like the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader way.”

The look wouldn’t be complete without the boots. Powell says they’re almost magical. She recalls her first pair. “I put them on and I was like, life changed. The lights turned on. I was like, I have to make this team.”

The cheerleaders have been hiding a secret just beneath their toes.

“I feel like I could just fly all day. And they are truly built for endurance,” Powell says.

White, hand-stitched with a star motif and a heel that is built for bounce.

“So we'll have some kicks and we'll have some extensions. There are so many things that we perform in these boots,” KayDianna MacKenzie, also a second-year cheerleader says.

The classic-looking Lucchese design can handle more than boot-scooting or riding the range. But they didn’t start that way. Dig into the DCC archives and you’ll find the 1970’s vinyl go-go boots. By 1989, they went with a western design that we through many iterations before the Dallas Cowboys landed on El Paso bootmaker Lucchese in 2011.

“You see a star here on the front quarter panel, on the back quarter panel, on the heel of the boot and on the sides.  Every side from any angle reflects a star,” Randy Steele, Lucchese’s historian said.

Steele is on a panel that helps select the DCC squad every year.

“They have to find the best and there are a lot of people who aspire to be that. But it's only the best thirty-six who make it,” he said.

Steele knows what it takes to make a boot. “Those girls hit their marks and it's amazing. These boots have to hold up. They're very special.”

Three hours on the turf in a pair of cowboy boots, dancing nonstop. The ones you see today are version four, made custom in El Paso.

“We had them try it. It was too stiff, it was too soft. It was this, it was that. This was the one that we settled on.”

Steele didn’t spill all the secrets but says these boots are made for performing at a high level.

“We use a completely different sole. The steel shank that's in there is much different. We don't share exactly what it is, but it provides support and flexibility and that's the key to it when they're on the field performing."

”The way that they're made, they have some ridges on the bottom of it. So it's like the perfect traction that it just catches you and you're fine,” Powell said. 

Each cheerleader gets three custom pairs. One for rehearsal, one for game day and one for appearances, plus more as needed. If the boot fits, wear it with pride.

“I mean, if I can do a jump split in these boots, I can do anything,” Powell said.

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