Spur of the moment: why cowboy boots are back in fashion

It’s not just their cuban heels that are heavy: cowboy boots are freighted with associations. They are James Dean in Giant, reclining under a hazy Texan sky, Robert Redford haloed by a cloud of dust in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Patricia Arquette in the highway phone booth in True Romance. They are a presage to violence in No Country for Old Men. In western showdowns, the camera zooms in on them. They epitomise the wild wild west, a dangerous place of sharpshooters and outlaws. They can be kitsch – Dolly Parton’s are pastel-hued and decorated with flowers – or political, worn by Ronald Reagan on the campaign trail and are collected by Arnold Schwarzenegger as a symbol of his allegiance to the US. They represent American pride, the horrors of US history, and the worst of the US present: in October, a pair of cowboy boots decorated with stars and stripes, which had been abandoned by survivor Stephen Vicelja, became a symbol of the Las Vegas


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