Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | News | Local News | Contact Us | Home RSS

These boots were made for riding

June 27, 2018
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Sports Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - When most people think of horse shows, horseshoes come to mind. But when nicely appointed riders need footwear to match their ornate riding clothes, many turn to Jose Der, who has been crafting customized boots for more than five decades.

Der is the founder of Der Dau, a boot and shoe manufacturer based in Brooklyn. While Der's tent at the Lake Placid Horse Show obviously has mostly riding boots, the company also makes western, or cowboy, boots and a wide style of leather shoes as well.

Using leather from cows, alligators, iguanas and crocodiles, Der Dau's boots can be purchased from the tent or at the company's showroom in Manhattan. Der, who immigrated from Cuba about 60 years ago, said he uses 11 different measurements to make custom boots.

Article Photos

Jose Der, a specialty boot maker, is surrounded by his wares in his shop tent Tuesday, June 26 at the North Elba Show Grounds on the opening day of the Lake Placid Horse Shows.
News photo — Justin A. Levine

"I've been coming here for 20 years," Der said of the Lake Placid Horse show. "My uncle teach me in Cuba. I make boot for anyone. For Paul Newman, Barbara Streisand, for Charles Bronson.

"I go to 28 shows a year. I go to California, Germany, France and Canada. I do everything by hand."

Der, in his classic Cuban four-pocket shirt and gold rings, looks like he would be equally at home at a horse show or sitting outside a corner bodega. He said in broken English that he has three kids, two daughters and a son. A wide smile crept across his face as he said his son, Joseph, was largely running the business now.

"I have 13 employees," he said. "Four employees have been 18 years with me."

Der said a pair of boots can take anywhere from four to six weeks from measurement to delivery, but the company's website highlights a multi-step process that requires a master craftsman each step of the way.

First, the company measures your feet and lower legs and then designs the style boot you want according to the measurements. Then, a master cutter selects the materials and cuts out the pattern, which is then passed to a master stitcher who assembles the boot.

From there, a master laster nails the boot to a mold in the shape of your foot, where it is left for three days so it will maintain its shape and fit. The master trimmer then attaches the boot to the sole and heel before trimming the excess leather. The final step sees the master blocker shape the leg portion of the boot, which in riding boots goes to the knee.

The blocker hammers wood blocks into the boot and leaves them for up to two weeks before the boot is delivered.

The result of these masters' expertise, according to Der Dau, feels "second to skin."



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web