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These Boots Were Made for Gawking. And Giving Away.

In a couple of hundred words, I'm going to tell you how you can win some boots. Until then, sit back, sip on something for a spell and let's talk about history, culture and identity.

Here’s a surprising admission: I don’t wear cowboy boots. 

I’ve always wanted to own cowboy boots, though. In the spring of 1994, I went to Pakistan for about five months. Before I left, I searched the mall up and down for a pair of, don’t laugh at me, red cowboy boots. I wanted to wear them on the flight over with a pair of Gap jeans and a black button down shirt. I owned the jeans, purchased the top and then was sorely disappointed at not finding the boots. There was a specialty store for cowboy boots in my area. I wasn’t about to go in there, of course. Frankly, I was afraid of looking like a big poser. I’d never ridden a horse or been within ten feet of a cow at that point. Actually, come to think of it, I’ve still not been within ten feet of a cow unless it's on a plate.

Why the cowboy boots? Because I’m American and I wanted people to know that when I got to Pakistan.

I was contacted recently by Country Outfitters about reviewing a pair of boots and hosting a giveaway for Native Born readers. If you’ve read this blog since the beginning, you know I don’t work with brands or products in this space. I really, really, REALLY wanted a pair of cowboy boots, though, so I said yes. Plus, cowboy boots are interesting and I want to write about them.

As I waited for my boots to arrive, I got to thinking about cowboy boots and the irony of a first generation Pakistani-American chick sporting a head scarf walking around wearing them. If you’ve read my post about why I cover my head, you’ll know that a great deal of the decision rests in cultural authenticity and a desire to express my identity. That was true back in 1994 when I tried to look for those red cowboy boots, too. I’m not any one identity and the fastest way to transmit that to people is through fashion.

Clothes, jewelry, shoes - these are all markers and suggestions of who we are, where we’ve been and they're ways to reinforce not just a community but cross cultural commonalities, too. Most people, for example, associate cowboy boots with America. While it’s a fact that cowboy boots were made fashionable by the likes of Will Rogers and John Wayne, their origins have been traced as far back as the 12th century to Genghis Khan (no relation). The present day construction of cowboy boots is still based upon the specific needs of horsemen that were addressed by Khan and the Mongolians. Four hundred years after Genghis Khan, caballeros and vanqueros in 16th century South America were wearing cowboy boots as they herded cows and livestock. As Americans began to realize the economic potential associated with transporting cattle and livestock from one place to another, the need for a strong shoe that could handle the strain of that type of work became high and thus the use of modified Wellington boots which had been used in the Civil War became widespread in the West and Midwest regions of our nation.

Now, here is where it gets really cool. About twenty years after the Civil War, Buffalo Bill used elements of the cowboy lifestyle to provide entertainment value to the American public in ways that still resonate in today's culture. What had been a sturdy brown working shoe now reflected beautiful and intricate overlay, color and design. The functional had been transformed into the fashionable and as each decade passed, innovative methods of construction and design allowed Americans to claim this specific and fashionable version of a historical riding boot as their very own.

The American cowboy boot’s current construction and visage is reflective of all things American: borrowed, worked over, branded and most beautifully reenvisioned . 

When I look at a pair of well crafted and artistically magnificent cowboy boots, I know exactly how people who do not originate in the subcontinent feel when they see a beautifully patterned sari or scarf. The modern day fashion cowboy boot, like those things, is a symbol of tradition, evolution, beauty and culture. This may sound dramatic, but when I look at a gorgeously designed cowboy boot, I am reminded that the nation of my birth is no less rich in its tradition and beauty than the one of my origins.


I’ve always looked good in blue and I may never take these off.

Country Outfitters has agreed to give away a $150 gift card a member of Native Born's audience. Honestly? You should totally try to win this. The winner will be announced December 7th.

CLICK HERE and enter your email address. Country Outfitter will occasionally send you marketing messages. You are welcome to opt out at any time.

For an additional entry please leave a comment below letting me know that you entered. Must be a US Resident 18 years and older.

To gawk at more boots, visit their main website and like them on Facebook 


Disclosure: As the writer of this blog, I am wholly committed to expressing my real, honest opinion with the highest degree of integrity about products or services I've been asked to review. CountryOutfitter, a retailer of women's cowboy boots sent me these turquoise Corral boots to review this month and is sponsoring the giveaway of a gift card, as well.


Photo Credit: Country Outfitter -- Dingo Women's Adobe Rose Boot - Distressed

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Reader Comments (37)

I signed up. Would love to win a pair. Tks for hosting this.

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTanya

Like you, I have always wanted a pair of cowboy boots but felt like too much of a poser to fork out the money to buy some. Would love to win. Those turquoise boots of your are pur-ty!

Why yes, the girl who grew up on the south side of Chicago wears cowboy boots. It's a statement :) I entered, time to make another statement :)

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNyt

I love me some boots, as you might recall. I've also ridden many horses and owned cowboy boots for that specific purpose, but never just to wear, and that's just a shame.
(Obviously, I entered.)
(Also, you look great in anything!)

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Law

Oh, I hear you about the allure of cowboy boots. I lived for a few years in Idaho as a child, and went back there for another few years for a job as a young adult. So I understand the allure, and yet I also feel like they are not for me. If I win these boots, I'll buck that idea right away!

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHapaMama

I loved this post. particularly the info about Genghis Khan. I had no idea about his use of boots. You might remember that Charlotte's oncologist was also named Khan (also no relation to Genghis) and shared quite the affinity for cowboy boots as well. I think you're on to something. Also, I love a sweet pair of sassy boots so I totally entered the giveaway.

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I got my first pair of boots at age 2. Adorable, tiny, awesome, and according to my parents, I never took them off till I was 3. Over the years I owned boots in several different incarnations.... the suede knee high, the black patent go-go, and my fave, the over the thigh leather boots I'd wear while riding my motorcycle in college. Now that I'm in my ...cough, cough... 40's, I think another pair might be in order!! Cool!

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlondefabulous

Awesome. I'm still super j of your new boots!

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I've entered the give away contest which I normally never do. Those boots you have on are absolutely gorgeous!! Do you think they come in green or pink?

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

I loved your story, love your boots more! I am so happy you got a pair, they are gorgeous!

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

I LOVE cowboy boots and have been in desperate need of a new pair for years.

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKailyn

New Yorker votes yes for cowboy boots, heyo! I have a pair that I got while on vacation in Colorado, and even wore them to ride a horse once, but I happen to love pairing them with fancy dresses. Thanks for hosting this!

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPetunia

I have some Red Wing boots I love, and Deb just bought some Frye boots for this fall/winter! Glad you've "gone country." I blame it on Memphis.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthe muskrat

So I live out west, was born here in fact, where rodeos and ranches abound, and I've never worn cowboy boots in my life. I recently decided I need some cowboy boots. Seriously. I *need* them. So I entered, and I don't do that very often on the Internets, so that must tell you something about the level of my need.

Also? I had a real life ell-oh-ell that you felt the need to state that you were not related to Genghis Khan. Because I can see where that may confuse folks ;-)

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I'm already on their list. And this Wisco Jewess needs herself some boots.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

I entered and dude, i want a pair of boots in the worst kind of way. I have serious boot jealous whenever i see a gal sporting a pair.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentererin m

I live in Chicago. I like Miles Davis. I drink vodka. I smoke cigars. I can't wear cowboy boots. I'd have to turn in my card. Thanks anyway though...

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRW

I love the blue boots. Excellent choice. I couldn't envision myself as a Wearer of Cowboy Boots either, until very very recently.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNichole

I like how you think.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Rox

I have a pair of cowboy boots that I love and wear all the time. I'm sure the grocery store, and the PTA is sick to death of my cowboy boots, but I don't care!
Thanks for a chance to win. I'd buy a red pair. I'm dying for a red pair.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermonstergirlee

Entered. :-)

November 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJane

submitted my email :) thanks for a great post :)

November 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Entered! Thanks for the chance!

November 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Dysart

I entered. I love the looks of their boots.

November 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicky

I entered! Thanks for this giveaway!

November 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMandy R

I love the history of them! I love boots. I feel like I can kick serious ass in boots. I have however never had the time/money to find a pair that fit my freakish feet. Time to solve that.

November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia Sprout

Besides the fact that I love shoes, I have always, ALWAYS, wanted a pair of cowboy boots. I signed up.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjodifur

yes, yes, yes! i totally get the love of a good cowboy boot! so i totally signed up. fingers, eyes, and legs crossed that i win. oh how i want to win!

p.s. LOVE those boots you picked. they are fantastic.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

I am a boot wearing kinda gal. I had black cowboy boots at 7 (yay Kansas!). I bought my first pair for myself at a second hand shop in Iowa. Now, I have Fryes. And after writing this comment I realize that I need to write a memoir titled: The Vikki Reich Story - My Life in Boots.

So yes! I entered!

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVikki

I really love boots. I grew up spending my weekends in Samsula at my best friend's family farm. Boots then were more to protect from 'the elements" (read poop and poison ivy). I want fashion boots now! Tahnks for hosting this giveaway!

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKerri

sooo...i was hoping to see red on your feet, but oh that blue is nice. i have drooled over country outfitters. pick me...pick me...HA

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissaJ

I entered! I love cowboy boots :) I've had a love affair with Cowboy Outfitter for awhile now. One can never have enough boots!

December 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

LOVE these boots. entered to win. i don't have a pair but i have been drooling over them forever now :)

December 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterliza

Faiqa, I entered and I liked them on FB! I haven't had a pair of cowgirl boots in years, and would love a pair!

December 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

Signed up! Thanks for the chance!

December 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDebnmike moretti

I entered! Thanks for the giveaway!

December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMandy R

I'm entering!!!! Thanks for the chance.

December 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

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