With the introduction of our Ranch Wear, we turned over a rougher, rowdier leaf at Tecovas. And before we introduce new products to that line, we decided it was high time to share why we’re so proud of The Stockton and The Bandera. The Q&A that follows will give you a look inside the boots, and inside the mind of our CEO and founder, Paul Hedrick. Here’s everything that went into these rough and ready Tecovas boots.
Paul Hedrick: Prior to the Ranch boots, all of our focus had been on recreating a more approachable experience centered around “traditional” western boots to make them more comfortable and more affordable than ever before. This meant focusing on leather-soled construction, beautiful leathers both exotic and non-exotic, and generally, boots that were created for more everyday use. And I can personally attest to the versatility of our leather-soled boot line, which I have been wearing every day for nearly every occasion in the last 5 years –from concerts, dates, weddings, offices, festivals, and more, they always fit the bill.
But, we know that there are many occasions in which a nice pair of leather-soled boots are simply not the right tool for the job. When work and play call for boots that can withstand the elements and the outdoors with grit and grip – these were moments where we found ourselves thinking about a new Tecovas. We know there are lots of guys whose “office” isn’t an office at all – that’s why we made these boots.
TT: What were the goals when Tecovas started developing these boots?
PH: Our goal with Ranch boots, first and foremost, was to build the highest-quality and most comfortable performance-minded boots that anyone can wear while delivering unmatched value because of our direct-to-consumer model. And as always, we wanted these boots to make you feel good – to create joy in how they look and feel - and how you look and feel in them. As far as utility goes, we wanted to make boots for those times at the ranch, on the job, in the mud, snow, or rain. Boots that guys could depend on for hours on end in just about any outdoor situation.
There are obviously a ton of outdoor boots for people to choose from – both western and non-western alike. What was missing, however, was an absolutely over-engineered, beautifully-designed rugged western boot that delivers the handcrafted nature of a Tecovas at an honest price. We built the handsome, everyday sports car with our “traditional” cowboy boots, and now it was time to build the off-road beast with all the bells and whistles.
TT: Let’s talk about the details. What sets these boots apart from a materials and construction standpoint?
PH: There are a lot of differences between our Ranch boots and our more traditional western boot line. They offer the comfort you’ll find in every Tecovas boot AND they’re outdoor-ready from top to toe.
The leathers are oily nubuck, a new material for Tecovas. It’s both water-resistant and extremely durable – all while maintaining signature broken-in Tecovas comfort. Given the oily nature of the leather (which also makes for an awesome casual look), they recover easily from scratches with a simple rub of the finger. We also made sure to reinforce the nubuck pull straps for added durability. The nubuck is really quite something.
Our exclusively-designed Vibram outsoles (the first-ever rubber soles we’ve offered) feature self-cleaning lugs. Not only do these lugs look good, they’re angled at 45 degrees so that when the boot flexes, mud and dirt will often pop out on its own!
Our Ranch boots feature another Tecovas first – a dual insole with a removable leather-lined footbed. Ranch boots include the signature Tecovas comfort insole with an additional removable leather-lined insole on top that can be removed and replaced over time if needed. Trust me, you can stand all day on these and forget that you’re wearing boots.
From a construction standpoint, Ranch boots are similar to the rest of our line with one key difference: water-resistant seams. In any area of the upper where materials are stitched together, we use waterproof sealants to ensure that water doesn’t seep through the gaps, keeping your feet both comfortable and dry all day.
Every pair is handcrafted by master bootmakers in the bootmaking capital of the world, León, Mexico. We’re really proud of where they ended up and can’t wait to see where customers take them.
TT: Tell us about some of the tweaks y’all made to the boots along the way.
PH: Most of the changes we made in the process of developing the boots were in adding more performance features to prepare these boots for the outdoors while maintaining unmatched comfort. We spent months designing and tweaking the custom Vibram outsole. We experimented with waterproofing as many seams as possible. We reinforced the pull straps and redeveloped the leather countless times to make sure it was the right balance of extreme durability, comfort, and waterproof performance. Finally, we made sure that the fit was tried and true like all of our Tecovas boots. Given how different these boots are from the rest of our lineup, it took months of attention, fitting, and refitting to ensure that Tecovas customers both new and old can order our boots online or in-store with the confidence that they’ll fit like a glove.
TT: What has the response been from customers?
PH: We’ve been blown away by the positive response to all of our Ranch Wear so far – and we’re especially proud of the role that the boots were able to perform for many of the weather-related challenges Texans and other southerners faced during that brutal winter storm in February. Customers have been asking us to create the Tecovas boot that’s built for the extremes, and overall I would say everyone is really glad that we delivered on that promise.
TT: Can folks expect more “Ranch Wear” from Tecovas? Any clues on what’s coming next?
PH: The Stockton and The Bandera are only the beginning of our journey to create footwear and apparel that is built for life outdoors and in the elements. We have more rugged leathers and silhouettes on the way in our already tried-and-true Ranch boot program. We will be thinking more about those occasions in the dirt, on the workshop floor, in the saddle, or simply any time when casual, durable comfort is key. There’s so much good stuff ahead with chances to go Tecovas from head to toe. We hope y’all are as excited as we are to see it all!