When I first moved to San Antonio nine years ago, I was daunted at the prospect of purchasing my first pair of cowboy boots. I grew up on a farm in Indiana, sure, but cowboy boots do not maintain the same level of popularity and passion as they do here in Texas. Not by a long shot. So years went by and still, I didn’t purchase a pair. I even went dove hunting on a classic Texas ranch with my best friend, and still I didn’t dive into my first pair. It would seem, on some level, that I was waiting for a boot maker to come along that felt all at once approachable, attainable, and with an attention to detail that I knew I was getting a great product for a terrific value.
Enter Tecovas. Founded by Paul Hedrick after his stint in New York City left him longing for his Texas roots, he brought an innovative business model to an otherwise traditional industry, cutting out the middle man and operating solely online for the first 5 years. The brand’s second retail location just recently opened at The Shops at La Cantera, so we sat down with Hedrick to find out his best advice for those of us taking the Western footwear plunge.
Haute in Texas: Hi Paul! Tell us, what makes cowboy boots special?
Paul Hedrick: Cowboy boots are special for many reasons – and most of all for Texans. They have a rich history, originating in the late 1800s during the famous cattle drives; they are timeless, with designs that have remained largely unchanged for decades; and they are a great conversation starter! But perhaps more than anything, when you put on a great pair of cowboy boots, they just make you feel good. We don’t know of any other footwear that has that confidence-boosting power.
HIT: Can anyone pull off cowboy boots?
PH: 100% yes. If you are willing to invest in quality and simple, timeless style, there is no reason that you couldn’t wear boots at the next concert, party, wedding – or even board meeting – that you attend. At Tecovas, we fundamentally believe that cowboy boots should be universal in their appeal, which is why all of our designs are classic and understated. There are plenty of flashy, gaudy boots out there – but you don’t need to wear those if you’re trying to pull off cowboy boots for the first time.
HIT: What’s the number one mistake people make when buying boots?
PH: I wouldn’t call it a mistake, but most people assume that they need to be an expert – or have previous experience, at least – to buy boots. The truth is, you may need to be an expert to buy the right pair if you’re walking into a custom, boutique, or even big-box store. The best thing to do for a first-timer (or many-timer) is to buy from a trustworthy brand – and to buy the most comfortable boots you can. It is sort of a myth that boots have to be uncomfortable; great boots, in fact, can be extraordinarily comfortable, assuming they are made from high-end, supple leathers. Don’t sacrifice comfort for style!
HIT: What do you say to someone who is considering buying their first pair of boots?
PH: When I set out to design the first Tecovas boot line, the goal was to create boots that could be worn by anyone in as many situations as possible. Anyone can truly be part of the Tecovas family – men and women, young and old, urban and rural. We have specifically designed all of our products to be timeless and universally appealing to meet a wide variety of customer needs. If you’re deciding what style is right for you for your first pair, I always recommend buying what you think you’ll wear the most – not what you’ll think will look good for just one event. Most first-timers that we talk to end up wearing cowboy boots far more often than they originally planned – because they’re comfortable, versatile, and fun! So buy what you like!
HIT: Why is San Antonio Tecovas’ chosen location for just their second retail location?
PH: We’re eager and excited to expand Tecovas’ retail presence beyond Austin, our hometown, and San Antonio had been on our list for a while. Not only do we have thousands of customers in San Antonio already, but it’s a city rich with Texas history – and people love boots! We want our physical retail experience to be a seamless shopping experience – with the same high bar for customer experience that we set for our online store. When a space opened up at the beautiful and oft-frequented Shops at La Cantera, we knew we had found our second store!
Many thanks to Tecovas and Paul for taking the time to chat with us! We’re officially on the boots bandwagon.
P.S. I received gifted product courtesy of Tecovas. Don’t worry, all opinions are my own!