First Discovered and Built by Justin Boots
The origin of the original cowboy roper boot came about in the 1950s when members and riders of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) petitioned for a change in the uniform worn during a rodeo competition. PRCA riders wanted something that would allow them to transition off the horse faster and smoother. In particular, for events like steer wrestling, calf roping and break away roping.
For a short time, the wish was granted – riders were allowed to wear tennis shoes and ball caps. But this phase didn’t last long as in the late 50s the PRCA reverted the regulation back and made a final decision that only western clothing could be worn as rodeo attire.
Due to numerous complaints about the change, the PRCA approached Justin Boots with the task of designing a boot with features different from the traditional pointed toe and slanted heel with more comfort and agility. At this time, Justin Boots was under the leadership of its second generation - John Justin. John’s father - H.J. Justin - always preached to his children, “never throw anything away, you never know when you’re going to need something.” And he was right.
THE JUSTIN STORY OF QUALITY.
When H. J. Justin began his bootmaking business in 1879 in a little wooden building near the Chisolm Trail, he had no choice but to make quality boots. Every piece had to be hand-cut and stitched – or else.
It wasn't long before his reputation for making quality boots grew among drovers, desperados and lawmen. A testament to the fact that his personal pledge was to make "the best boots in the world."
As a man of creativity and vision, he is credited for many things that helped shape the boot industry including introducing fancy stitching on boot tops and designing a self-measuring kit that allowed cowboys to "mail order" their boots during a time when travel was impractical at best.
But if you ask John Justin, grandson of H. J. he'll tell you that his grandfather's most important contribution was to set a standard for quality that his company is still proud to live up to.
FATHER KNOWS BEST
For inspiration, John Justin decided to go through a back room full of old shoe lasts that his father refused to toss out. While working through the room he remembered a shoe his father had made during the war, a simple square dancing shoe for his brother, Sam. This style stood out to John because of its round toe and flat unit heel. He saw these features as a way to provide grip and security for the foot while the rider was in the saddle. Using this last, he added an eleven-inch shaft and the roper cowboy boot was born.
The characteristic toe and heel provide a relaxed fit in and out of the stirrup and the cushioned insole supports the foot for lasting comfort. All of which helped the new style become rapidly welcomed into the closets of ropers and rodeo goers alike.
Justin Boots’ roper sales instantly increase rapidly and have become a staple in our offering to this day. PRCA rider and members were thrilled with the smooth, comfortable feel in the roper, and production capacity maxed out at the Justin Boots Factory in Fort Worth, TX.
Today the first ever black pull on roper boot is still a customer favorite and is available to shop here.
Customers say the fit and style of this generational boots will never grow old. We can thank Sam’s 1930 kangaroo skin square dance shoes for the creation of the iconic roper boot that has since shaped the roper’s history.