Custom cowboy boots from a heritage Texan maker

Maida’s is a sixth-generation artisan master bringing fashionable flair to this workwear staple

Maida’s classic boots are made from alligator, ostrich, snakeskin or French calf leather
Maida’s classic boots are made from alligator, ostrich, snakeskin or French calf leather

In 1883, Sicilian shoemaker Salvatore “Sam” Maida set up shop in Houston, Texas, paving the way for the family-run sixth-generation business that is still going strong today. Maida’s classically stylish men’s shoes and boots are made using the same techniques and machinery as they were a century ago – though these are now combined with state-of-the-art technology and new designs that have evolved with the times. There are natty Derby and Oxford dress shoes, golf shoes, polo boots and casual Chelsea boots, but it’s the classic, beautifully made cowboy boots ($2,000-$6,000; more for exotic skins) that still set this brand apart.  

The Houston-based company offers personalised embellishments and initialling inlaid in gold as part of its bespoke service
The Houston-based company offers personalised embellishments and initialling inlaid in gold as part of its bespoke service
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Bespoke footwear is Maida’s speciality. Each commission begins with a consultation, usually over the phone, to discuss everything from the type and colour of leather – alligator, ostrich and snakeskin, as well as French calf leather sourced from Hermès-endorsed tanneries such as du Puy and d'Annonay – to embellishments, embroidery and tooled appliqués, as well as toe and heel styles. Requests range from hard-wearing and practical snake-bite-resistant boots (with Maida’s three-layer construction) to eveningwear showstoppers embroidered with initials, animals or jaunty toe medallions. Initials can be inlaid in gold or an array of vivid hues. 

“Cape Buffalo” boots made by Maida's for local Safari Club members, from $2,400
“Cape Buffalo” boots made by Maida's for local Safari Club members, from $2,400
Bespoke Maida’s boots for a Parisian client that took over five weeks to make and were worn at her wedding
Bespoke Maida’s boots for a Parisian client that took over five weeks to make and were worn at her wedding

After design sketches and pricing have been discussed, the next step is an in-person meeting to measure the foot using 3D technology and then build a last for each foot that ensures a precise fit. Sole selection also takes place at this stage, with Goodyear welt and Blake among the most popular and practical options. The custom boots take an average of 65 hours to make. Women’s Western styles are also available. 

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Other popular commissions include the evening shoe ($1,200), aka the Prince Albert Slipper, a refined tuxedo shoe made of patent leather; classic chukkas ($1,800-$7,000); and spiked golf shoes in Derby, Oxford or Monk styles, with custom options including perforated patterns and colourful trims. Whatever the shoe style, the entire process typically takes between three and four months. Get ready to kick up your heels.

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