Dang, those Lucchese boots are pricey!
But they look so good.
John Wayne’s boot of choice ain’t cheap, but there are some good reasons why a Lucchese costs so much. I’m breaking down the different factors that make Lucchese’s more spendy than your average cowboy boot, plus giving you my favorite alternatives so you can get a fantastic looking cowboy boot for cheaper.
Why do Lucchese Boots Cost So Much?
Lucchese offers several lines of boots. But they’re most well-known for their cowboy boots.
You can find all kinds of Lucchese boots: some with intricate designs, others with exotic leathers like Ostrich, lizard, and crocodile.
Lucchese has been around since 1883, but they’re not expensive just because they’re old. Here’s what you might not know about Lucchese’s.
Famously sported by country music star, Blake Shelton, The Charles sports a leather heel, a leather reinforcing heel counter for support, and a full welt that attaches the outsole to the insole. The style leans slightly into the electric horseman school of fashion, without fully committing. This is likely why Shelton wears them so often, whether he’s on tour, at the grocery store, or walking the red carpet with Gwen Stefani.
Most Lucchese cowboy boots are made in the USA: Texas to be specific. While Lucchese does import some of their boots, the real cowboy stuff is from the States.
Their line of Chelsea boots is manufactured in Brazil, they have a factory partner in Mexico, and their Frontier Tech line is imported from China.
Their domestic, USA-made boots are usually over $500. That’s a big portion of the cost: labor.
A lot of readers here on BootSpy appreciate American craftsmanship and supporting the local economy, so the extra cost is worthwhile for them. It may be for you, too.
But if value for money is your top priority, I have a few alternatives below as well that I think are really exceptional.
Not only do the boots feel good, but they sound good, too.
Personally, I think a huge part of the charm of a cowboy boot is in the lemonwood pegging, hand welt midsole and sole, and the hand tooling and stitching in the shaft. That’s what makes a cowboy boot a cowboy boot!
Any western boot with a cemented sole is out for me.
Now if you’re wondering the difference between USA-made cowboy boots and boots made in say, Leon, Mexico, I’ll say this: I don’t think there’s a difference in craftsmanship between American and Mexican-made cowboy boots.
If anything, Mexican-made cowboy boots are better, just because Mexico has so many skilled craftsmen and artisans.
As the art of bootmaking is dying out in the US, brands are having a harder time meeting demand with USA labor, so we’ll probably continue to see more and more cowboy boot brands outsource. Lucchese is one of the few who still produce cowboy boots in America.
Lucchese selects excellent leathers for their boots. Their standard line of cowboy boots (made with cow leather) usually runs in the mid-$500 range.
You can also find some goat leather boots in the same range (goat leather is usually less expensive than cow hide).
But some of their boots are made with what are called “exotic” leathers. These include: caiman, ostrich, alligator, lizard, and buffalo, among others.
These leathers are far less common and have a distinct look to them as well. This makes them much more difficult for brands to find (as the tanneries get a limited number of orders, and fewer tanneries are willing or able to do exotic leathers).
If you get a USA-made alligator leather boot from Lucchese, that bad boy can cost well over $1,000. Now that’s expensive.
The Lucchese Limited Edition Western Boot is the Lucchese Charles’ more sophisticated and complex brother. The Nile crocodile leather is durable and shiny, and the cording is far more intricate. It features a saddle vamp and leather heel, though the heel is straighter and more sturdy-looking compared to the Charles. Furthermore, the Lucchese Limited Edition Western Boot is 100% made in Texas.
3 Affordable Lucchese Alternatives
If you’re looking for high quality cowboy boots but you’re not willing to dive straight into the expensive end, these are three brands I really like. I think with each, you’re getting an exceptional value for the money you’re spending.
The Tecovas Cartwright is my go-to recommendation for a cowboy boot. It’s simple, classic, has all the construction quality I love, and the price is well under $300.
It’s crafted in Leon, Mexico, the cowboy boot capital of the world.
For everyday wear, I really like my Tecovas Cartwright. Your Lucchese’s might be for more formal-wear (like a wedding). I don’t know about you, but something scares me about wearing a $1,200 boot during my normal work day.
Ariat is a bit hit or miss for me: they make a lot of “lifestyle” boots that are pretty low quality. But they stay true with their cowboy boots.
I’m not a huge fan of the crazy designs some cowboy boots get (like with flags or other ornamentation)—I prefer the simple shaft stitching of an iconic western boot.
Ariat is my budget recommendation if you’re looking for your first cowboy boot.
Chisos is an Austin, Texas brand that also makes their boots in Leon. The quality is absolutely superb on these boot, but keep in mind that the cost is on par with Lucchese’s low end.
That said, I think the quality is comparable. Plus, Chisos offers a few really cool designs: I personally like the shaft on the Chisos No. 1. And the longhorn skull on the Chisos No. 5 is awesome. That’s as Texas as brisket.
While I wouldn’t call Chisos a budget-friendly brand, if you were considering stretching for Lucchese’s but are curious about your other options, then Chisos is an excellent brand to scope out.
Saving Money, or Balling Out?
Lucchese boots deserve their high price tag. And not just because they’re a legacy brand with a rich history (after all, they were John Wayne’s favorite boots).
And while I think you’ll be happy with your Lucchese’s once you get them, there are also a few fantastic alternatives that can help you save a few bills.
The Tecovas Cartwright is a much more budget-friendly boot without sacrificing on construction quality. The leather isn’t quite as nice, but it’s fantastic for the price.
And the Chisos No.1 is similar in pricing to low-end Lucchese’s, but you’re getting some incredibly intricate stitching and the leather is superb.
So what’s it going to be?
What boots are comparable to Lucchese?
My top picks are Tecovas, Chisos, and Ariat.
What’s the most expensive leather for cowboy boots?
In general, the most expensive leather I see on cowboy boots that’s still relatively available is crocodile. Of course, you can find certain buffalo leathers, fish leathers, and snake leathers from specific regions that are much more expensive, but with most brands I’ve seen, the crocodile leathers are the priciest.
Are Lucchese boots made in China?
Most Lucchese cowboy boots are made in the USA. Lucchese also crafts some of their boots in Brazil and Mexico. Their Frontier Tech line is made in China, but the majority of their manufacturing is done in the US, Brazil, and Mexico.