Glad you asked. The Chisos Mountains are located in Big Bend National Park in Far West Texas. They are one of Texas’ most unique and profound landmarks. It was out in West Texas that the idea first came to Will to try and make a damn comfortable cowboy boot. The name "Chisos" is believed to mean either “enchantment” or “spirit.” Both seem quite appropriate to us.
Do Right, Love Texas is indeed something we say a lot. It’s kind of a motto, kind of a slogan, but is definitely the frame through which we operate the business. We believe that running a business is more than just about making a living; it comes with the responsibility to be a positive influence on your community. We aspire to build a company that embodies the principles of the Texas spirit: friendship to others, pride of craftsmanship, and stewardship of the land. That's the type of company we’ve always wanted to work for.
We are committed to donate at least 1% of revenue to Texas land conservation, however we donated just over 11% in 2019 (don’t tell our MBA friends). We also support other Texas nonprofits through donations and volunteer time year round. Contributing to our community is core to our outlook on life.
Chisos is a true small business. We’re not a corporate entity. We’re not backed by millions of investment dollars. And that means we have different priorities. We don’t make thousands of boots a month, we make small batches when we sell enough to afford to make more. We value pride of craftsmanship. And we’re pretty adamant about not cutting corners just to make an extra buck.
Chisos boots are hand-lasted (not pulled on mechanized contraptions). We carve the channel welt directly into our leather insoles (not using canvas gemming like 95% of other bootmakers). We use 10-11 iron center cut leather for our outsoles and similar strong leather for our heel counters (don’t let others claim they have a full leather heel counter when they don’t). We developed our own leathers that are tougher and yet softer (and don’t require harvesting baby calves).
All of this results in a cowboy boot with generational durability. Chisos may look nice, but they’re meant to be used. So beat the hell out of ‘em. They can take it.
Goodyear Welting is the method we use to attach the parts of the boot together (vamp, leather insole, outsole) and it’s been around since the second half of the 19th century. Cowboy boots made in this manner are long-lasting and remarkably easy to repair. Traditionally it involves cutting a channel directly into the leather insole and using this to sew the welt to.
But things changed in the 1950’s when factories looked for ways to cut costs. They invented gemming, a canvas ribbing used in place of that channel. It’s faster and cheaper and more than 95% of all Goodyear Welted footwear is now made this way. However, that canvas creates an inlet for moisture and adds a point of failure. It weakens over time, shortening the life of the boot by reducing the number of times it can be resoled. It’s a departure from craftsmanship.
Chisos boots are made using the traditional channel welt method. The welt is stitched directly to the leather insole. We use a hand-cranked tool to carve a channel into the leather insole (we use triple-thick insoles to achieve this compared to the gemming method). This eliminates that point of failure caused by a secondary attachment point.
The way we do it at Chisos is difficult and labour intensive, but we believe it to be the best way. As the good book says, thou shalt not cut corners.
The full-grain leather used for the exterior of Chisos boots is sourced from retired dairy cattle destined for greener pastures or for the meatpacking industry. Most cowboy boots are made from calfskin, which, unbelievably, yields only one or two boots per calf (versus ten for an adult hide). As a company committed to conservation, we wanted a more sustainable—and durable—leather source, so we established a process with our tannery to render those dairy cowhides more supple than even calfskin. The resulting leather feels broken-in when your boots arrive, is significantly more durable, and is soft as hell.
Cowboy boot insoles are typically lined with a thin piece of leather and not a whole lot of cushion. They can actually cause harm to your body if worn for long periods of time. What sets Chisos apart from other brands that promise comfort is rigorous field testing—aka Will being tired of his back hurting and deciding to fix it. Our boots come with removable, leather-topped, triple-density comfort insoles that provide ready-to-wear ergonomics that will continue to conform to your feet over time. The insoles are made from two layers of semi-organic polymer, which work to cushion the entire foot, as well as provide arch support and all-day rebound while standing and walking. The entire thing is topped with our cactus-fruit-colored leather lining, ensuring the durability and natural antimicrobial properties of leather. And it looks like a cowboy boot, not a tennis shoe, when you look inside your boot.
Yes, the insole is removable! If you have custom orthopedic inserts, you can replace the Chisos insoles with your custom ones. Customers with plantar fasciitis have reported that thanks to the Chisos insoles, they are able to wear cowboy boots again for the first time in years.
Yes, absolutely. We’d be embarrassed not to. Our heel counters are the same type of tough leather used in outsoles. This is very important, as the heel counter is a key structural focal point of the boot. Cheaper, factory-made boots often use merely some celastic or, God-forbid, plastic as their heel counter. Then they cover it with a thin piece of “genuine leather” and call it a leather heel counter. Don’t be fooled. Those will at best provide poor support and at worst crack and wear out in a few year’s time, thus rendering the boot useless. Full leather heel counters should last a generation.
Yes, we do. Cork footbeds are traditionally added for comfort, molding over time to your foot. We have 11mm of comfort insole on top of the leather midsole that covers the cork footbed. You’ll probably never need that cork, but if for some reason you decide to wear your Chisos without the comfort insole, the cork will be there ready to support you.
Each boot has two rows of lemonwood pegs and six brass nails. Lemonwood pegs have a long history in boot construction. The lemonwood pegs are inserted by hand with a special hammer and the one-two rhythm of the bootmaker driving each one into the sole. Lemonwood expands and contracts at the same rate as the leather sole when exposed to moisture, ensuring a tight fit.
Nestled in the gorgeous state of Guanajuato, the same family-run workshop that mentored Will is the one we still work with today. Everything is done in-house, from the channel welt to the hand-lasting to the heel shaping and finishing. We’re down there about once a month, collaborating on new ideas and brushing up on our skills. Positive, safe working conditions and fair compensation are afforded each worker. The lowest apprentice pay is more than twice the region's living wage and all roles receive state pension contributions and health care benefits.
For men, boots will generally match the same size you wear in dress shoes. For ladies, note that Chisos boots are slightly wider than other boot brands. The best advice is to order the size that you wear most often.
Another rule of thumb is to order a half size smaller than what you would wear in Nike shoes. So a size 11 in Nike becomes a size 10.5 in Chisos.
Exchanges are always free in case you want to try a different size.
As you first pull on your boots, they may feel tight until your heel slips fully into position with a satisfying "thump." The leather should feel snug around the widest part of your foot and on top of your arch, but not painful. This area will stretch with wear. Your toes should fit comfortably. If your toes are cramped, considering going up a half size. It is normal for your heel to slip up to a half inch at first. Over time, the leather heel counter will conform to your heel shape and this slippage will reduce. Ultimately, personal preference rules the day.
For wide feet, we recommend going up a half size. Each half size is only 4mm longer and you get the extra width. So, if you typically wear a 10EE then you would order a 10.5D.
For narrow feet, the recommendation really comes down to the length of your foot. Going down a half size only shortens the boot by 4mm, but brings in the width. Combining this with a thick pair of socks usually does the trick.
We provide discounted shipping via UPS (where available) from our headquarters in Austin, TX. All other North American and Armed Services addresses are supported by the US Postal Service. Shipping is free to US military bases. Returns and exchanges are always free, no matter your location.
We're happy to exchange unused boots (no scratches on the soles) up to one year after the purchase date. Simply utilize the included shipping label to return the boots to us. Please shoot an email to email@example.com with the new size you'd like so we know to expect your exchange.
Unused items are eligible for a full refund within 90 days of the purchase date and store credit up to one year. Please email or call us to coordinate your return. You do not have to pay for shipping to return an item. In fact, we also refund your original shipping cost to you.