The Lucchese (pronounced Loo-kay-see) Boot Company makes high-end cowboy boots. The company started in 1880 in Texas with Sam Lucchese Sr., a skilled boot maker, who earned a reputation for creating meticulously hand-crafted boots for the U.S. Calvary. Jimmy Stewart and Lyndon B. Johnson were Lucchese customers. The Lucchese family sold the company in 1970 and left many loyal followers to question the quality of the new boots. In part, the change of hands increased demand for vintage Lucchese boots.
Research the current Lucchese line of boots and the company's boot-making methods. Identifying fake vintage Lucchese boots comes more easily when you are familiar with the different styles and manufacturing techniques. The bottom of any vintage Lucchese boot, for example, has small wooden pegs. Look closely and the pegs are visible. Each peg is hand-driven by a hammer.
Look for vinyl or man-made leather. The shaft (the tube surrounding your calf) of every Lucchese boot, vintage or not, has some variety of animal hide. The company uses alligator, ostrich, kangaroo and whitetail deer leather, among others. The interior lining of a Lucchese boot is also constructed from genuine animal hide.
Inspect the outside piping, inlay piping and pull-straps stitching. Machine stitches look even and precise, while hand stitching looks more imprecise and may have some irregular spacing. Vintage Lucchese boots have only hand stitching on these boot parts.
Pay attention to any decoration on the boot's tip. Toe bucks are thin strips of leather in a contrasting color woven over and under the boot's top front, similar to a wingtip design. Toe bucks were popular in the 1940s and 1950s and will show hand stitching. Pointed toes were popular during the 1960s and early 1970s. These characteristics help date the boots.
Fold back the boot shaft and look for two seam joints on the interior of the boot, attaching the front shaft piece to the back shaft piece. Some vintage Lucchese boots have fine machine stitching on these seams. All Lucchese boots, however, are sewn together with the shaft turned inside out. If the front and back shaft leather pieces have stitching on the exterior of the shaft, the boot is not Lucchese.
Contact the Lucchese Boot Company directly if you remain uncertain about the origin of a vintage pair of cowboy boots. Send a picture via email or regular mail, along with some notes on the boot's details.