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Did you hear about the cowboy who walked into the cobbler shop?

It's no joke.

In 1875 a cowboy walked into C.H. Hyer's small cobbler shop in Olathe, Kansas, and the history of footwear was changed forever.

1870’s Kansas was Cowtown. The link between the established cities of the East and the ever-developing frontier of the American West. And with that, came the arrivals and passing-throughs of a new class of American icon: the Cowboy.  

One ordinary day, a wayward cowboy on the long-haul cattle trail made his way into C.H. Hyer’s small cobbler shop in Olathe, Kansas. His civil war style boots had seen better days and he needed boots that could withstand the rugged work of the cattle drive. C.H. Hyer listened as the customer described the features he needed for his safety and comfort—a toe shape that would slide into the stirrup, a raised heel that would hold the stirrup and a scalloped top so he could slide his foot in and out of the boot more easily. HYER had never made boots like this, but he willingly accepted the challenge. After a couple of attempts, he finally made a pair he felt sure would meet the needs of the foot-sore cowboy and he appropriately named it: the “Cowboy Boot.”  


It turns out that unnamed cowboy did a great job of spreading the gospel of C.H. Hyer and, before long, requests for the Cowboy Boot were coming in from the far reaches of the American frontier. Soon HYER Boot Company was making and shipping boots for cattlemen, rodeo performers, dignitaries like Calvin Coolidge and Teddy Roosevelt and even movie stars such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Will Rogers and Marilyn Monroe. HYER Boot Company had become a real success, or as they said in the 1800’s, a lally-cooler.  

For nearly 100-years, this family-owned company was at the forefront of manufacturing and innovation. At one time, the largest manufacturer of handmade boots in America, HYER Boot Company led the way in streamlining the footwear production process while finding intuitive ways to deliver the best fitting, highest quality boots to real cowboys in the most remote ranches in the West. History credits our company with many innovations beyond the infamous cowboy boot: the first to sell boots via mail order, designing a toe bug to the vamp of the boot to provide better flexion, invention of the fork construction for pull tabs and… according to at least one historian: The assembly line (you’re welcome, Ford!)


Unfortunately, financial hardship struck in the 1970’s, forcing the family to relinquish the business that brought them so much pride. The company changed hands several times over the next few decades but suffered from the lack of dedication and drive the Hyer family had given the business. Eventually, with business dwindling, HYER Boot Company was forced to shut its doors completely, and just like that, the sun had seemingly set on a once true American icon, HYER Boot Company.


Fast forward 25 years, when the great-great-grandson of C.H. Hyer dusts off a box of HYER memorabilia from his grandmother’s basement and uncovers a piece of American history. With every photograph, catalog and foot tracing he discovered, Zach Lawless gained a newfound understanding of his family’s legacy. On that day, he made a promise:  “I’m going to get the business back for Nana.”


Every Wednesday, armed with a cup of tea and a telephone, Zach called the corporation that owned the trademark to try to get it back. Two years later, his perseverance and determination finally paid off when the corporation let go of the trademark allowing Zach, and his fiancee Alicia, to return the brand, not only to the family, but to the entire western community.