1887, Syracuse, New York.
Tony Lama – a young boy of 11 – is apprenticed to a shoemaker and is learning the leather and boot trade.
Thus begins the rich history of Tony Lama Boots. We are proud to introduce Tony Lama as June’s vendor of the month.
After the turn of century, and after his apprenticeship, Tony joined the U.S. Cavalry as…you guessed it: a cobbler stationed at Fort Bliss. After his tour of service, Tony decided to make the nearby El Paso his home. With the respect he gained from the army for well fitting boots, Tony set out to make the best fitting, most comfortable boots he could imagine.
At first, Tony Lama found himself doing repairs, but the word about his remarkable Western boots spread like wildfire through the Southwest. Soon, cowboy and ranchers were joining the cavalrymen at his shop. His customers toted hides, requesting custom-made boots. In his first year, Tony Lama and one helper made 20 pairs of custom boots. After the army phased out horse soldiers, Tony Lama concentrated mainly on creating quality Western boots; and in the 1930’s, Western stores began making requests for his boots. With demands growing, Tony developed methods for producing greater quantities that didn’t compromise the key steps in handcrafting. Nearly 50 years later, in 1961, the company moved into larger quarters and began making 750 pairs of boots a day. Quite a difference from the beginning, with Tony and his assistance making 20 pairs a year, huh?
Tony Lama Boots’ founder, Tony Lama passed away in 1974. But, his sons and daughters continued his tradition of quality and hand-craftsmanship, making this a true American success story. In 1990, Tony Lama became part of the Justin Boot family, a former competitor, that has set the standard for quality and craftsmanship all over the world.