The iconic Texas bootmaker has applied its timeless style and perfected fit to a new frontier of footwear: work boots.
Lucchese has built its reputation on handcraftsmanship, top quality leathers, classically elegant designs, and, above all, an original last that makes every pair of its boots fit more like a pair of socks.
“We’ve been perfecting our great-fitting boots since 1883,” says Teddy Boxberger, senior director of marketing at Lucchese. “I don’t know that when you think about a heritage company, you necessarily think innovation, but since our inception we’ve been really obsessed with podiatry, and we have a proprietary boot last, the twisted cone last, which was a Lucchese invention. It’s why we’ve always had the most comfortable fitting boots, and it’s why we have the reputation that we have. I think a lot of people, at first glance, look at Lucchese and think of exotic materials or custom colors or the incredible craftsmanship, but if you talk to people who wear boots every day that are really a part of the Western lifestyle, they know that the reason Lucchese is Lucchese is because of our fit. There is an old saying in the boot industry that Lucchese is the only pair of boots you can wear all day without feeling like you’re standing on a pencil.”
While they may be plenty comfortable, Lucchese’s handcrafted, and often custom-ordered, boots are not typically seen in, say, muddy cow pastures or horse barns. “Basically, we realized, we’ve got a lot of loyal followers who wear our boots when they want to look really sharp or if they are going out at night or in a professional setting,” Boxberger says. “But what about all of the other things they are doing? What about when they go to the ranch? What about when they are working as a foreman and managing a construction build?”
The issue hasn’t gone unaddressed. In response, the bootmaker introduced a seriesof roper and horseman barn boots in 2017. Now it’s taking things one step further, launching Lucchese Frontier Tech, a line of top performance work boots. “We recognize that a modern consumer has a lot of different roles and environments that they exist in, and we want to offer them the same Lucchese quality and value for everything that they do,” says Boxberger. “Lucchese Frontier Tech is continuing in the tradition of really great-fitting boots but with products designed for all-day comfort and protection in unrelenting modern conditions.”
“Lucchese Frontier Tech is continuing in the tradition of really great-fitting boots but with products designed for all-day comfort and also protection in unrelenting modern conditions.”
“It’s been a natural progression for us,” Boxberger says. “In the last two years, we’ve done a lot of consumer research and have really tried to listen to what our consumers are looking for. We’ve found that our consumers love and cherish our Lucchese Classic boots, but they can’t wear them all the time. Nothing feels better than sliding on your favorite pair of Lucchese boots, but if you are going to go hunting or you’re going to ride a dirt bike or you’re going to go to your ranch or to muck out stalls, you’re probably not putting on that favorite pair of boots. They are cherished. And we want to allow our consumers to wear Lucchese and have that same feeling anytime, no matter what they’re doing.”
To allow for just that, Lucchese first went about developing top performance outsoles. And in doing so, it turned to the best in the business: Vibram. With partners such as NorthFace and New Balance, Vibram is renowned for its Carrarmato soles, made with vulcanized rubber technology, especially among mountain climbers who need optimal traction on rugged terrain. “Partnering with Vibram was a big decision for us,” Boxberger says. “We gave a lot of consideration to making our own outsoles, but at the end of the day, it came down to the fact that we are new to this. We are experts in podiatry and bootmaking, but we aren’t experts in outsole manufacturing. So, we thought, Let’s partner with Vibram and have them make something unique for us — which they did and which is even pinnacle to the top of their products.”
Frontier Tech’s premier designs include the Western Welted and 360 Welted. As the name suggests, the first features a Vibram rubber sole welted to the boot in traditional Western fashion. “So if you were just looking at someone’s silhouette, you would think that they were wearing a traditional cowboy boot, but if you look at it in closer detail, it has all of the bells and whistles to make it the most comfortable, durable, high-performance technical work boot on the market,” Boxberger says. “It will come with a steel toe, composite toe, and waterproof options. And it’s completely OSHA approved, certified for any regulated work environment, but with a finesse and look to it that is very uniquely Lucchese.”
The latter is even more performance-focused. “It’s very sporty,” Boxberger says. “It’s really meant to be the most aggressive product for recreational outdoor activities or work. Its silhouette will be a little more of a departure from the traditional Lucchese — there will be a lace-up and a wellington.”
Lucchese Frontier Tech seems like a step in the right direction for the brand to connect with its customers. “It’s really about occasions and how we can be a bigger part of our customers’ lives,” Boxberger says to sum up the new performance line. “I think about it in terms of the mudroom. It’s this transition place where you’re changing to go from outside to inside or vice versa. We realized we were kind of a one-way street in the mudroom. You take off your muck boots or work boots or stall boots, and then put on your fresh Luccheses to go inside. But we want that to be a two-way street. We want you to be able to take off your outdoor Luccheses and put on your indoor Luccheses, without ever having to leave your favorite brand at the door.”
Featured in The Source/January 2019 issue of C&I's sister publication, Western & English Today.
PHOTOGRAPHY: courtesy Lucchese