A Custom Conversation with Dustin Bowen

To ensure your footwear selection is set for the upcoming seasons, we tapped general manager of Lucchese Nashville, Dustin Bowen, to share his expert insight on his favorite boots and experience in the boot industry.

Dustin is the manager of our Lucchese retail store in Nashville. He was born in Nashville, but grew up about an hour west, right on the Tennessee River in Camden, TN. The day Dustin fell in love with boots was in college when he worked part time at a boot store. An older gentleman that had been working there for over 30 years took him under his wing and started teaching him everything about boots. Dustin instantly fell in love and knew his heart was in the boot/shoe business. He said, “I knew if I was going to be in the boot business, I wanted to work for the best. Lucchese was a no-brainer!”

Dustin has worked at Lucchese for almost five years. He began his career as a sales professional then moved up to be the assistant general manager. Now he is the general manager of Lucchese Nashville where he specializes in custom design and fit.

With Nashville rapidly growing, Dustin meets new people every day. He loves to help educate newcomers about the brand and see new faces. Dustin continues to heighten the Lucchese experience for every customer so that they are not only leaving with a product that will last a lifetime, but also a memory.

What are your favorite Lucchese boots?

Tough one right off the bat! I'd say my all-time favorite has to be the Sienna Hornback Tail Cut, also known as the Chisholm. The Sienna Caiman has such depth in color while the quarters are a bright Brick Red. It’s always nice to have a little surprise under the pant leg. Most recently, however, I have to go with the Jonah. The Dress Zip style is just so great, especially here in Nashville. It does everything you want a good looking boot to do, but it's easy to slip on and looks great with anything. The natural evolution of the classic cowboy boot.

What’s the learning process of how to properly fit a customer with the perfect boot?

I had basic knowledge of how boots were supposed to fit when I first started working for Lucchese, but with Lucchese using higher quality materials and the boots being handmade, it took me til the end of my first year to nail down the basic concepts. Then I continued from there. Every customer is different, so I am constantly learning something new and that's why I love it. You can never stop learning!

Explain why it’s crucial to be trained as a sales professional.

There is a common misconception about the way boots are supposed to fit. Most think that boots should hurt or take a long time to break in, but this is not the case. If the materials used are of high quality and you are properly fit, the boots should feel like you have had them for years. With our boots being all handmade and each leather having a different grain, it is crucial for our sales professionals to learn how each pair is constructed and how each leather will wear over time. Certain leathers will fit snugger than others at first, but our team has been properly trained to help you understand how each leather will form to you over time as well as help you understand how to wear certain leather styles and colors. 

What is your favorite boot to ever design?

I am known to design a lot of the Lucchese Dress Zip styles that I mentioned before. It is eight inches in height and fits slim to the ankle, making it easy to fit under any style pant. It is hard to name my favorite pair since I had the chance to work with so many clients who I admire dearly. If I had to choose just one, I would say the Black Comanche Suede Dress Zip with White Bronze Stud/Toe & Heel Hardware I did for JJ of Kaleo. Kaleo is an Icelandic blues/rock band. I had this design sketched up for over a year and was waiting for the right client to come along. I took a trip to Knoxville to see JJ and Kaleo perform at the Tennessee Theater and to get JJ fit for a pair of customs. We tossed ideas back and forth on his bus and then I pitched the Black Comanche Zip to him. He trusted me with it and our make ups department did an amazing job of helping us bring this pair to life!

How does the style in Nashville differ from others?

Nashville has always been known for the country and western style with our rhinestone suits, but Nashville is much more than that. Nashville is known as Music City, but it is also nicknamed the "Athens of the South.” It is a city of the arts, which means there are all walks of life throughout the city always looking to express themselves. Many do it through the way they dress. We are Southern rooted, edgy, and not afraid to take chances! This energy spills out to the rest of the community. Lucchese has "many faces," and I love educating everyone on the many different styles we have to offer to help them express their own style! Here are some of the boots I have customized.

Share a memorable story.

I had been working for Lucchese for almost a month when a gentleman in his mid-thirties stopped in with a pair of his father's boots he had left to him after he passed. They were about two sizes too big for the son, but he wanted to know if there was anything Lucchese could do to make them his size. We sized him up and sent the pair down to our bootmakers at our factory in El Paso. There, they cut the boots down to his size and cleaned them up, but still left a few dents and dings from where his father had worn them. When they arrived back in Nashville and the gentleman came to try them on, they fit him like a glove. He was so happy that it brought a tear to his eye. He walked out of our store wearing his father's Lucchese boots. He was carrying on the legacy...That is what I love about this brand. The beautiful craftsmanship and hard work that goes into each and every boot lives on through our amazing clients from generation to generation. They each carry their own, unique story. One day when I have children, I hope to pass on my legacy to them to their children.

All of our stores offer a bespoke experience creating one-of-a-kind styles for every customer. To set up your own custom design appointment with your local store, click here.

For design inspiration, check out Dustin's Instagram @dustbowen or visit our Lucchese–Nashville location at The Gulch.