There are anywhere between 150 to 200 individual steps that go into making a Lucchese boot. For custom boots, the steps could be doubled depending on complexity and hand detailed work. Lucchese has over 280 production employees, including direct and indirect, pushing through nearly 440 to 470 pairs on any given workday.
We spoke with one of our factory workers, Inocenta Espinoza, about what a typical day looks like in the El Paso factory. Inocenta has been working for Lucchese for 33 years. She is originally from El Paso and, with seven brothers, is the only woman in her family. Outisde of daily bootmaking, she enjoys cooking, helping others, charity work, and collecting toys to gift to needy kids at Christmas time.
In 1983, Inocenta began working at Dan Post but joined the Lucchese with family 12 others in 1987. She first worked at the Paisano location, then moved to Montana Avenue and eventually to Walter Jones Blvd location where the factory is located.
What brought you to Lucchese?
The mother-in-law of my eldest brother worked at Dan Post, and I was wanting to do some temporary work. She brought me over to work at Dan Post, and I decided to stay [at Lucchese] because I really enjoyed it.
What is your role at Lucchese?
My main position is to [attach] the lining on the leather quarters, but I also put the lining on the foxing and vamp. I also put the doubler reinforcement on the quarters, which require sewn design patterns.
What are the steps taken? What is your team responsible for?
[We handle the construction of all the leather pieces before the boot goes to fitting.] The steps are:
1. When the quarters arrive from the previous step [of detail embroidery and stitching], the piping is added.
2. The piping is sewn.
3. The quarter is skived to take off the excess lining.
4. The lining is glued to the quarters.
5. The cording is placed by hand and then sewn to highlight the cording.
6. The cording is added to the vamps that have a toe medallion.
7. The excess material is skived from the sides of the quarters.
8. All pieces are checked before passing to fitting, which is the next department.
What does your day consist of?
I arrive at the factory at 5 a.m. for a start time of 6 a.m. I like to walk around the factory before starting my day. After my walk, I come in the factory and drink coffee and wait for time to check in. After checking in, I go to my station and prepare to start my shift on time. Then, I go look for the next batch I need to work on from my coordinator. Throughout the day, we take a morning, lunch, and afternoon break. I end my shift at 2:30 p.m. normally and stay an hour overtime when required.
What’s it like on the factory floor?
I learn many operations and continue to learn more and more every day.
Describe your relationship with your coworkers.
I have good relationship with my coworkers! We eat together in our morning and lunch breaks. We sometimes bring food and eat together in groups and celebrate each other’s birthdays in our small group.
How do you feel about Lucchese as a place to work?
It is great because you learn a lot about the bootmaking process. When we have visitors, they are always impressed with the number of steps and detailed work that goes into every pair of boots.
How do you feel when you see the finished product of a boot you worked on?
Very satisfied and proud. Especially when we make a pair for a celebrity, politician, or musician. I have photos with a lot of them. My dad was very proud of me working at Lucchese, and he always spoke very highly of me.
What do you feel every day when you put on Lucchese boots?
I wear them on weekends and feel very good and proud to wear boots. When I was younger, I wore boots every day to work, now I use them on the weekends to go out.
For more information about our process in the factory, click here.