CORVALLIS - Before the break of dawn – and in the freezing temperatures of winter -- our Montana ranchers are up and at it feeding their livestock.
In the spring, their out the door for branding season. All year round, these cowboys and cowgirls are doing the dirty work. Their chores may change from day to day, but a reliable and comfy pair of boots could stick with them for years.
This Montana Made report features a small studio in Corvallis where one Montana man is creating the sole for a sturdy pair of boots.
A man sits at work in a quaint 10’ x 20’ workshop where the sound of the needle and thread going through the leather is a good sign -- Scott Mitchell is creating another one-of-a-kind Western boot.
“I just really liked good boots. I could always appreciate them. Always loved a good pair -- that’s what I really enjoy is the art of it, so it lends it,” Mitchell said.
His love for a sturdy pair stems from the need for a good boot himself. When he was younger, Mitchell injured his ankle and needed to have surgery and finding good footwear meant more comfort.
As for creating his own boots, it wasn’t until years later when Mitchell made friends with a Texas couple who showed him the ropes. But, Mitchell says he never considered himself to be an artist, however his original boot designs show otherwise.
“Whether you’re going dancing at night or you wear your britches tucked in your boot top… that doesn’t suit you?” Mitchell said. “Some do a brown on brown or a black on black because they want functionality. But with a handmade boot, it’s made to fit.”
Between the ages 12 to 20, Mitchell worked on a family farm. It was there he fell in love with the ranching ways. In fact, he still has his first pair of boots his uncle bought him.
“I really enjoyed the lifestyle and the stories. From Charlie Russell to the history there to the Old’ Buckaroo’s that traveled up,” Mitchell said. “I just really enjoy all the history with cowboying really.”
When creating a boot, Mitchell starts with the measurements of the foot and continues onto the design.
As for material, buyers have the option for the typical bull or calf hides. But, for a more exotic choice, Mitchell can work with ostrich, alligator, shark and even sting ray hides.
However, despite the type of pair a person is looking to buy for Mitchell it’s all about the art of boot making -- which he hopes to someday pass along.
“My youngest son is learning more as time goes -- when he has time, as well! I didn’t’ know 100% if I would have that time availability, but it’s becoming that -- something we’ll look forward for in the future,” Mitchell said.
Click here to learn more about Mitchell Custom Boots.