Cowboy boots have been available to the public since the 1880's when the first mail-order company was formed. In the early 1900's as silent films became popular and railroads spanned the countryside, cowboy boots gained in popularity by leaps and bounds. The earliest cowboy boots were always custom-made, but as they became a more "in-demand" item, companies found ways to capitalize on the popularity of cowboy boots, making them available to more people.
There are two different ways cowboy boots can be constructed: welted or cemented. In welted boots, the upper part of the boot has been stitched to the sole. In cemented cowboy boots, the upper part of the boot has been glued to the sole. Both types of construction are solid and will result in a durable pair of cowboy boots.
In order to make a pair of cowboy boots, a manufacturer will have several different departments that specialize in perfecting each part of the cowboy boot. First, in the cutting department, the animal skin uppers are cut out, treated, and split if necessary. This material is then sent to the pre-fitting department where the cowboy boots are partially assembled. At some point, each pair of cowboy boots is sent to the computer fancy stitch department where intricate designs are stitched onto the quarters and vamps of the different styles of cowboy boots. This department is where most cowboy boots get their distinctive styles and patterns. In the last few departments the cowboy boots get their finishing touches, including its distinctive heel, and nice shaping and buffing to make them look perfect before shipping.
Manufactured cowboy boots are less expensive because machines do much of the work of making the boot. But don't let that run you off. There are several manufacturers who can produce a quality pair of cowboy boots that will fit you just fine!