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Eleven Days of Giftmas: Cowboy Boots

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Sick of corporate Christmas? Try shopping local. Hair Balls presents a 12-part series highlighting ideas for holiday gifts made and sold in Texas.

Cowboy boots are a Texas tradition, and not that Hair Balls cares, but they're apparently a huge trend for this winter. Houston's got dozens of awesome places to buy cowboy boots. Two of Hair Balls' favorites are listed below.

Texas Junk Co. boasts Houston's largest collection of used cowboy boots and they really do have a huge selection, some with the dirt still on 'em. The "boot room" is well organized (an oddity at any junk store) and kickers can be had for as low as $30. The Montrose institution is located at Taft and Welch streets and is so packed with other dusty odds and ends you'll probably knock something over looking for that perfect pair. Only trouble is the Junk Co.'s got weird hours. This summer, cantankerous owner Bob Novotney changed the hours from three days a week to one, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you could always splurge for some custom-made boots from another Montrose shop, Tejas Boots (warning: auto audio). This cobbler is tucked away next to the Hollywood Food Store convenience store on lower Westheimer.

Hair Balls first started going to Alvaro Rivera to get a pair of high heels fixed and shined, and we were instantly charmed by the guy, who calls us "M'lady" every time he sees us. Now we're regulars. Sometimes Rivera can do heel repairs while we wait, and we'll stand at the front counter which is covered in hundreds of hide swatches, marveling at the softness of python and findling the many technicolors of suede from which a boot can be made.

Last time we were there, a customer was in for some adjustments on his brand new pair of alligator skins. Rivera and his father have made boots for lots of famous types, including custom boot collector George H. W. Bush. Their pictures line the walls.

A pair of custom boots starts at around $1,000, but think of it this way -- a well-made boot constructed just for you is a lifetime investment. And who wants to wear someone's old sweaty shoes anyway. Besides, don't these peanut brittle boots just make your mouth water?

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