Three Generations of Student Leaders Create Longhorn Boots

T-shirts, dresses, swimsuits, hats, dog collars—you name it, and sure enough, there’s a burnt-orange or UT version.

The same goes for cowboy boots, a true Texas staple. UT’s official pair of boots, found at the Co-op, have staked their claim as a game day tradition in just a few short years—and the story of their creation is as unique as they are.

It took the efforts of three different Student Government administrations and leaders—who also happen to be best friends—to get the footwear on the shelves.

The idea for a pair of University of Texas boots was the brainchild of Clayton Stewart, BA ’06. The external financial officer for Student Government at the time, Stewart was interning at the State Capitol when he noticed lawmakers wearing boots featuring the State Seal.

“It didn’t make sense that we were the largest school in Texas and we didn’t have an official pair of boots,” Stewart says.

So he got to work. As graduation approached, Stewart worked with UT’s trademark office to get the go-ahead to create a UT version of the boots, then passed the baton to incoming SG executive director Evan Autry, BA ’07, who then got to work developing a design.

A student government committee decided the boots would carry the traditional Longhorn logo and UT’s seal and would be made by a high-quality U.S. manufacturer. Autry pinpointed Lucchese in El Paso as the company for the job.

And the resulting pair of boots was truly what Student Government had envisioned.

“The only difference from the committee’s design was the Longhorn stitching on the toes,” Autry says.

The boots project, which was nearing completion, was then handed over to Andrew Solomon, BA ’08, when Autry graduated. Solomon’s job was to get the boots on the shelves.

From left: Evan Autry, Andrew Solomon, Clayton Stewart.

Since the quest for a pair of official UT boots had begun, the primary goal had been to put the proceeds towards a scholarship fund—a purpose that George Mitchell of the Co-op embraced. After a small snafu regarding the use of the UT seal, the boots took their place on the Co-op shelves for the first time in 2007.

To date, nearly 2,000 SG boots have been sold, raising almost $200,000 towards the University Co-op Student Government Scholarship. The boots go for $349.99—seven times less than the custom Lucchese boots also available at the Co-op—and the Co-op takes no profit; the markup is given directly back to deserving students.

The three boot creators now take pride in seeing their pet project on the feet of Longhorns on game days, around Austin, and even at the Cotton Bowl for the Red River Rivalry Game.

“Regardless of whether you’re a male or female, it’s a tradition that has caught on,” Solomon says.

And even though they each had a hand in the boots’ creation, all three guys had to buy their pair out-of-pocket like every other UT student. To their knowledge, only two pairs have been given away: to Bill Clinton and to Earl Campbell. Even Bill Powers had to purchase his own.

But though they may be out $350, the three friends don’t seem to mind.

“We were definitely on the forefront of university boots,” Stewart says. “The best is when an Aggie sees the boots and is jealous. That’s just the icing on the cake.”

Top, current Student Government president Natalie Butler shows off her Longhorn boots. Photo by Jeff Heimsath. Bottom photo courtesy Andrew Solomon.


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