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Justin Boots Headquarters circa 1939

The Justin Story

Our roots go back more than 140 years.

Justin Boot Company has been handcrafting western footwear since 1879 when founder H.J. Justin mastered the craft of boot-making and established our industry-leading western footwear brand.

Today our skilled boot-makers continue this tradition using only the finest leathers and quality materials. We take great pride in the character of our superior craftsmanship and the comfort of our product, from the leather to each individual stitch.

Justin Boots are an icon in western culture and their heritage will always have a presence in the western character that lives and breathes today.

An Early Beginning Boot Making Family & Business Heritage

An Early Beginning

Herman Joseph Justin was born to Nicholas and Katherine Hubertz Justin on April 7, 1859. His father, a successful cigar maker, had plans for his son to take over the business, but after striking an interest in leather work, H.J. had other plans.

In 1877 with only $5.00 and a dream in his pocket, the determined 18 year old boarded a train from Lafayette, Indiana to Texas with one mission: to become a boot maker. He took a job as an apprentice cobbler at the Norton Shoe Shop in Gainesville, Texas and quickly learned the trade of making shoes. In 1879, he moved to the Chisholm Trail town of Spanish Fort, Texas. During this time, cattlemen were driving their herds towards markets in the east by the Chisholm Trail.

H.J. noticed the poor conditions of these men’s footwear and started a boot repair business inside a local barbershop. Although the business was quite popular, he was not making enough money to start a custom boot shop. After convincing the barbershop owner, Frank See, that he could make “the best boots in the world,” he was given $35 and Justin Boots was born.

Founder H. J. Justin, early 1900s.

Boot Making

The first pair of boots H.J. Justin ever made were retan boots - a heavier type of boot made for riding out on the range - for Frank See for $9.00. Frank wore those pair from 1879 to 1905 when he quit riding herd on cattle. The first pair of boots H.J. ever made.

After gaining popularity, H.J. became more creative with his design process. He began designing boots with decorative stitching and is credited with being the first to sew rows of stitching across the boot tops as a means of stiffening the leather. This technique prevented the boot from wearing and folding down towards the ankle.

He later began decorating his boots with more intricate stitching, hand tooling, colorful leathers and thread, silver conchos, and unique illustrations. Since then, Justin Boots has paved the way in creative boot design and construction creating many kinds of boots like the iconic Roper and has even designed boots for movie stars and presidents including President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The inside of the Justin display truck, with racks for boots.

Family & Business

H. J. Justin met his wife Louanna Allen, who was called Annie at a town square dance and the couple married on January 12, 1887. Annie played a huge role in the early success of the company. She developed a made to measure chart and order card for the cattlemen passing through Spanish Fort and the company began receiving mail orders.

Together the couple had 7 children: John Sullivan, William Earl, Fern, Enid, Samuel Avis, Anis, and Doris Myrl. Once the railroad was built in 1889, H.J. moved the family and the business to Nocona, Texas for better shipping facilities and to capitalize on the booming market.

In 1908, he enlisted the help of his sons John and Earl and the company became H.J. Justin and Sons. By 1915, Justin Boots were sold in 36 states and 5 countries including the U.S., Mexico, Cuba, Canada and as far away as Australia for only $12 a pair.

After H.J. Justin passed in 1918, the three sons took over the business and eventually moved the headquarters to Fort Worth. The brothers installed new innovations into the factories that slowly replaced handmade production with machine technology, and in 1924 the partnership incorporated as a Texas corporation.

Family Photo
The Justin family, including children and grandchildren, in the summer of 1916. From left: Fern Justin Senter, holding her youngest child Mavis; Jess Senter with daughter Helen standing in front of the Senters; Florence Justin, holding Ruth; Maurine and Myrl stand in front of Earl Justin; to Earl’s left are Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Justin; Enid Justin Stelzer and Julius Stelzer; Anis Justin; Sam Justin; Ruby Harrison Justin; and John Justin, Sr.

Family & Business cont.

In 1948, John Justin Jr., the son of John Justin, turned his dream of running the family business into a reality and purchased the company. During his time with the company, he was very involved with the western community and spent time as the Mayor of Fort Worth.

In 1968, the company merged with Acme Bricks to form Justin Industries and in 2000, Justin Industries was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway.

An artist's rendering of the first Justin shop in Spanish Fort.

Heritage

More than 140 years later Justin Boots remains an icon within the western community. With a focus on quality, integrity, value, and family, each product is handcrafted by skilled boot-makers using only the finest leathers and materials.

From the factory in El Paso, TX to the people, communities and organizations we support today, Justin Boots remains a staple in the western culture and will always uphold the standard of the west.

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