NOCONA, TX (KAUZ) - Nocona was once known as the leather goods capital of the Southwest, and boots have helped give the town that title.
The boot making industry has been a part of the city since the 1800s, when Nocona was a key stop for cowboys traveling down the Chisholm Trail.
What those cowboys would do is ride by Justin Boots Company to place their order and get measured up for a perfect fit.
Although things may be a little different these days, the Fenoglio family is keeping things traditional and making handcrafted boots in Nocona.
After the Nocona Boot Company closed its doors in 1999, another door has been opened, and now the Fenoglio Boot Company is the proud manufacturer of the James Montague boot line.
"Nocona has always been known for their cowboy boots and leather goods, and it seems like it's all dying off and everyone wants to move things overseas and make them cheaper. It was a great pride to my father and I that we could acquire this company and keep people working in the United States," said James Fenoglio, the owner of the Fenoglio Boot Company.
About 60 to 65 employees work at the factory and make about 40,000 pairs of boots a year.
"Some of the workers are multiple generations, and their parents have worked in this industry. We have several people that are coming up on 40 years that have been making boots between Nocona Boot Company and here," said James Fenoglio.
The fact that these boots are handcrafted are what make them so special.
"We put a lot of detail in the quality. Mostly everything we use in our boots are made in the U.S. We purchase leather from all over the world, but all the components are made in the United States," said James Fenoglio.
The factory makes about 200 pairs of boots every single day, and almost 800 a week are shipped to Cavenders.
From the moment the order is placed, and the boot making process begins, a piece of leather goes through ten different departments and 100 steps to make a single pair of boots.
It all starts with raw leathers like ostrich, cowhide, goat, pig, shark and even elephant.
"We'll cut the lining, the upper, the bottom and the pull straps; whatever is needed for that entire job," said Caiden Fenoglio, the purchasing agent for the Fenoglio Boot Company.
The bulk of the boot is sewn by hand, including the beading, pull straps and side welts.
An embroider machine creates the patterns and designs and can do two pairs of boots in 12 minutes.
Next, the side seams are sewn inside out and the boot is then turned using hydraulics.
Insoles are cut, and then the toe of the boot is formed with the lass.
Whether it is a western toe, square toe or round toe, that is all decided on what lass is put on the boot.
A machine is used to do the shaping of the toes, and the leather is pulled under in a process called hand lasting, a technique used since the dawn of time.
During the process, many nails go in and some come out.
The final sanding takes a skilled craftsman because the leather can easily be ripped off if it touches the heavy grit sand.
Last the finishing touches are made, and the boots are inspected before hitting the shelves.
A lot of work is put in to make these boots and preserving the Nocona boot making heritage.
"Cowboy boots are what made the Texas cowboy, the American cowboy, they are known for their boots," said James Fenoglio.
You can be known for your cowboy boots, too.
The Fenoglio Boot Company opened a store downtown, where you can get your very own pair of Nocona made boots from one of the last domestic cowboy boot manufactures left in Texas.