The Last Word

A blog about Lucchese, our process, our culture and the people and places that inspire us

Innovation in Design

Innovation: From Western to Casual


(No. 267) Craftsmanship
03.22.2021

We began making boots in Texas in 1883. Though some things will never change — like an unshakeable commitment to handmade quality and unrivaled fit, comfort, and style — we don’t shy away from innovation. Knowing that you likely don’t live your whole life on the ranch, we wanted to take you wherever you may go. By bringing elements of our bestselling Western boots to casual footwear, we created a line that melds handmade heritage with a modern lifestyle. Premium leathers, technical construction, and certain aspects of design are used throughout the relaxed collection.

Scenes from the Barcenas Ayala

Old-world craftsmanship and a design debut come together in Barcenas Ayala — a boot like no other. The construction technique, called ayala, features a single piece of Giant Belly Caiman from toe up through the front quarter. The back of the boot is built the same way — with one gorgeous panel from the heel box to the top of the back quarter. Goat side panels with our brand-new Barcenas stitch pattern finish things out.

Uncommon in the modern boot world, the ayala technique draws the eye up the boot and celebrates the beauty of the exotic skin. Legend has it that the idea came from a man named Martin Ayala, from our old factory on Montana Street in El Paso, which is now a factory outlet store. That’s not true, however. The pattern was actually dreamed up by our very own Fidel Rodriguez, circa 1986. It’s historically been used on super exotics, and we’re excited to be showcasing it in this new way.

There’s only one bootmaker in El Paso who works on Barcenas Ayala, which means each pair is very special and a perfect example of the fact that it takes time and dedicated attention to make a boot right from the start.

Scenes from the Casual collection

Each of us is unique. Some can’t think of a single time or place when they wouldn’t wear Lucchese handmade boots. Some like to pair Western boots with dresses. Others prefer jeans with suede booties. And all of us like to live in Lucchese, which is where our contemporary, casual footwear line comes in. New styles – Same legendary quality, fit, and finish.

We asked our Director of Product Development Trey Gilmore and Director of Women’s Design Holly Mery to provide some insight on their process of designing and inspiration of the casual collection.

What’s the inspiration behind designing the casual collection?

Trey: The inspiration behind the men's casual collection was to create a pinnacle line of after ride product for our discerning Lucchese consumer that desires something of high quality, comfort, and is easy on and off. We started with using some our most sought-after articles: Mad Dog Goat, Florence Buffalo Calf, and our waxy Comanche suede. We paired these leathers with our own translation of some of the markets best silhouettes adding signature Lucchese details like full leather linings, the stacked leather feature in the outsole, and of course, that unmistakable Lucchese fit. Finished off with durable Vibram outsoles, our casual collection overs an easy wearing, comfortable option for our lifelong fans as well as a straightforward entry to the Lucchese brand.

Holly: With the world heading into a “work-from-home-casual” aesthetic, it is important to cater to customer’s evolving lifestyle. While cowboy boots will always a staple in our closets, we are transitioning into a comfort driven market that include other styles of footwear.

Let’s take two of our most popular casual shoes for example: The Lace Up Range boot and Music City Wedge:

The Lace Up Range boot offers comfort and functionality when you’re not in the saddle. Crafted from one of our favorite leathers, Mad Dog goat, it has a lightweight leather stacked wedge that’s in keeping with the Lucchese stacked heel tradition. The rugged Vibram outsole adds traction while maintaining excellence. The welt is leather — just like on your best-loved boots. Available in tan and chocolate.

The Music City Wedge is a fun take on a bootie. Handcrafted from full-grain cowhide leather, with a lightweight, 3-inch wedge sole for height and style, it makes a statement day and night. The pull strap helps you get the boot on (and it looks good). The hand-stitched toe bug and wrinkle medallion give the shoe a true Western look. The welt is leather — just like on your best-loved boots. Available in four colors.

Tell us about the style evolution you’ve seen in Lucchese products.

Trey: To me, in the broad spectrum of today’s market, the individual and how they wear a piece of footwear would define their singular taste. We see folks from all over world wear our product in many different ways. From the cowboys that live and breathe it every day to the urban populations that just love high quality footwear, the spirit of the west lives in one’s heart and each one of us define our own style. The evolution truly comes from our consumer who have slowly but steadily, over the years, demanded option outside of a cowboy boot.  

How did you pull elements of Lucchese western product into the Lucchese casual collection?

Holly: Incorporating subtle Lucchese western details into the casual collection was very important to me. I wanted our customers to feel the essence of Lucchese comfort, quality and fit, while wearing a more contemporary type of footwear. Traditional natural welts, full grain leathers, and touches of western stitch patterns and overlays are just a couple ways I was able to keep it “Lucchese” with a twist.

What makes something western? What makes something modern?

Holly: It’s all in the details. I truly believe the same piece of footwear could be either western or modern based on the materials, colors, and finishing used. For the past 5 years or so, western boots have become more and more prevalent in mainstream fashion, so for me it is not as much in the silhouette, but the way the details are put together that makes something western or modern. Take a basic 5-toe 13” women’s boot for example. Make it in black patent leather with a polished black sole and heel and it looks very modern. Take that same basic 5-toe 13” women’s boot and make it in mad dog goat leather, a mahogany outsole, throw it in the stonewashing machine, and it looks very western.

Scenes from the Vintage Western collection

Tell us about the designing process of the vintage western collection.

Holly: Designing the vintage western collection was really a tribute to the 138 years of handmade Lucchese boots. I was fortunate enough to be able to study our archive boots and bring some very special iconic details back to life. Nothing was off limits, and I definitely took advantage of that by playing with bold color and shapes. The Queen of Hearts boot is a personal favorite of mine, and how perfect that it launched just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Trey: The vintage collection has been, without a doubt, the most enjoyable piece of my cowboy boot career. Researching our archives and discovering the work of our founder and his humble family; redefining and reinterpreting their designs and turning them into something new for our family of Lucchese enthusiasts to wear today; it is truly rewarding to see our customers embrace and appreciate the work we’ve been doing for close to 140 years.


To shop our men's casual collection, click hereTo shop our women's casual collection, click here.