Heritage - Since 1875
The Olathe Boot Company has made lasting footprints in American history by making the boots worn by cowboys, outlaws, presidents and many others since 1875. C.H. Hyer learned the art of boot making from his father William, who immigrated to Illinois from Hanover, Germany in 1850. C.H. Hyer moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, for a railroad job. In 1872, after his railroad job ended, he taught leather working at the Kansas State School for the Deaf in Olathe, Kansas. Here Hyer passed on to students his boot-making knowledge and skills that would later make his name legendary.
Hyer began making shoes out of his home to supplement his income in 1875 and later opened a small boot shop in Olathe.
According to legend, Hyer’s reputation started when a lone cowboy rode up to Hyer’s shop in 1876 wanting a new boot design. With a pointed toe, raised heel and a scalloped top, the new boots were proudly worn to the Colorado range by this nameless cowboy, who told others about the fine boot maker.
One of Hyer’s major contributions to the boot trade was his measuring system that allowed customers from all over the country to mail order their boots. A version of this chart is still used by boot makers today.
As demand for his boots grew, Hyer’s brother Edward and later his three sons joined in the boot making company, changing the name to C.H. Hyer and Sons. In addition to family, Hyer employed and looked out for many European immigrants as well as former deaf students. Hyer was soon a major employer in Olathe.
Hyer’s cowboy, riding and army boots have served a long list of legendary customers throughout history including presidents Calvin Coolidge and Teddy Roosevelt; outlaws Jesse James and Billy the Kid; illustrious cowboys Buffalo Bill Cody, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Will Rogers. Modern icons to wear Olathe Boots include World Champion Steer Wrestler Hunter Cure and Nobel Prize winner Lech Walesa.
Olathe Boot Company was purchased in 2001 by Western Leather Goods, the same good people that make Rios of Mercedes and Anderson Bean boots. All of our boots are made by hand in Mercedes, Texas. With Olathe, Western Leather Goods has the two oldest lines of American Made boots with Rios of Mercedes – 1853 and Olathe Boot Company – 1875.