The Pointy Mexican Boots Trend
An interesting thing is happening in the world of Mexican boots. The toes are getting pointy. And long. And dance crews are flaunting them as they shuffle the night away to the pre-hispanic-African-Cumbia lovechild that is Tribal music.
Where did these boots come from? What makes them different? Who first started making and wearing them? How are they worn? And what do they have to do with Tribal music?
Kick off your pathetically boring shoes and pull up a chair. I'll give you the low-down on the Mexican pointy boot trend below.
Mexican Boot Origins
If you want to fully understand the pointy Mexican boot trend, you'll need to understand the origins of Mexican boots in general.
Mexican boots emerged in the 1800s as an offshoot of more general cowboy boots. What differentiates Mexican boots from cowboy boots is:
- They are typically worn for show or fun: they're not work boots like cowboy boots
- They were traditionally made out of exotic animal skins (e.g. alligator, armadillo...)
- They started out as flat-heeled and shorter than cowboy boots (though now their styles vary significantly)
- They are typically more expensive than cowboy boots due to more expensive materials, more customization, and fancier design
Modern Mexican boots can be flat or high-heeled, and they are bound by no specific design constraints. Most have flat toe caps, though some utilize silver pointed toes. Some are simple while others are incredibly elaborate. Many of the more elaborate ones come with a theme.
The Pointy Boot Trend
Mexican boots were already fancy. The addition of extra-pointy toes is just an extra mod to make some boots even fancier.
The trend emerged in late 2009–early 2010, and runs parallel (and seems greatly inspired by) the Tribal music trend.
The boots (botas vaqueras exóticas) started out as only moderately pointy—just slightly different from most Mexican boots. But the toes just got longer as fashion daredevils sought to outdo each other. Before long, toes that extended out just a couple extra inches were reaching out as far as seven feet.
The trendsetters were usually modding the boots themselves—using plastic hoses for the curved soles of the added pointy toes, topping them with materials ranging from leather to designer fabrics, and using screws to give the toes shape.
The Rise of Tribal Music
The pioneers in the pointy boot trend were also pioneers in the Tribal music movement.
One person in particular stands out when it comes to Tribal music: Erick Rincon (other people to watch on that front are DJ Otto and DJ Sheeqo Beat). This music producer / DJ / kid (he was only 16 when his work really started gaining traction) creates some awesome sounds by mixing pre-hispanic and African sounds with Cumbia basslines.
According to Rincon in a VBS Behind the Seams episode on Mexican Pointy Boots, the Tribal movement is by no means new. It first emerged in Mexico City around 2000/2001, and though it had a more indigenous, Aztec sound to it in the beginning, the movement developed a Tribal Guarachero split (which combined Colombian guacharacas with Cumbia) once it hit Monterrey.
Many of the first people to flaunt this interesting footwear were dance crews, such as Los Parranderos and the Barrio Apache Hyphy Crew. Rincon says he first noticed pointy boots at the Far West Rodeo Club in Dallas and says that most of the pointy boot wearers hail from Texas and San Luis. Apparently there are more pointy boot wearers in the States than in Mexico proper.
What makes the pointy boot trend interesting is how it, like any good trend, applies new materials and technology to a timeless cycle.
Mexican boots have always been about being fun, dressy shoes. That these are extra pointy should not come as a surprise: extra pointyness only adds extra flare to something that is worn for flare in the first place.
My favorite thing about this trend is how it puts a new spin on the material with which these shoes are made. While the first (and most traditional) Mexican boots are often characterized by being made with more rare materials, such as alligator skin, new Mexican boots are utilizing a new sort of high-profile material: branded material.
Just as alligator skin said a lot about status a while ago, Coach fabric, or Playboy logos, say something about status today. Hence the integration of these elements into modern Mexican boots- pointy or otherwise.
A second noteworthy aspect of the Mexican pointy boot trend involves modding and technology. Many of the guys wearing these boots modded them themselves. Some have integrated fun elements like LEDs and the like. This idea of customizing and modding clothing brings the pointy boots trend in line with interesting DIY and crafting trends taking place across the globe.
Finally, these pointy boots are interesting in that they're a throwback to pointed shoes worn by the upper class in medieval times. Much like Mexican pointy boots, these shoes had long, narrow toes that curved up at the point. The longer a toe was, the more status one was thought to have. There were even regulations limiting the length of toe that certain classes could wear. Some toes on these Medieval shoes got so long that they had to be worn with a chain that looped around the calf to keep the tips of the toes off the ground and to prevent tripping. I never imagined that such impossible shoes would make their way into the 21st Century... but here they are!
How to Wear Mexican Pointy Boots
Mexican pointy boots are best worn with skinny jeans and a whole lot of attitude.
If you're going to go for a bold statement, I say go all the way. Chances are you're going to have a pair custom made—or you'll be modding a pair yourself—so go all out and really express yourself. Choose interesting colors, and really make a statement. If I were to make a pair for myself (and I don't know how well that'd work, since I haven't seen any girls wearing these), I'd include some LED tubing like a TRON-esque pair I saw on the Chuntaro Blog the other day.
Once you've got your boots and your skinny jeans on, and your attitude is turned on to maximum volume, I recommend you dance. Preferably to some Tribal mixes. And let's be honest—it's pretty hard to listen to Tribal mixes without dancing, so you'll find the going pretty easy. Just make sure nobody steps on your toes. And be careful—you might put someone's eye out.
Have you ever seen these pointy boots in person?
A Note on Accessibility
Though pointy Mexican boots might be trendy, they are by no means mainstream. You will not find them in stores, mass-produced by a major (or even minor) brand. To my knowledge, all of these boots are custom made and modded by a handful of local shoemakers—if not the owners/wearers themselves.
If you go to Mexico or the areas of the States where these boots have caught on, you're not going to see people walking along the streets wearing them. To be honest, they're kind of hard to move around in, so they're only worn on special occasions (e.g. out for a night of dancing to some awesome Tribal music).
Though I am kind of sad that these shoes are not so easy to find, I suppose their exclusivity and rarity is yet another thing that makes pointy Mexican boots special.
Have you ever seen a pair with your own eyes? Let us know in the poll to the right!
© 2011 Simone Haruko Smith