In 1952, Arthur A. Callister began trading wool with his father in a little shop on Redwood Road in Salt Lake City, Utah. Noticing how many customers were in need of quality tack to outfit themselves and their horses, AA Callister's Western Wear and Tack was born! Over 50 years and many satisfied customers we are still a family owned tack shop still located on the original site. We are proud to represent the traditions and lifestyles that made the West famous. We are also proud to feature some of the finest tack, clothing, and equipment made. Come live part of the American West today!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How to fit a Western Boot:

To fit a boot, you want to use a foot measure. They come in Men's, Women's, and Kid's sizes. This allows you to find out what size your foot is and your foot’s width. You need to make sure that you stand on the measure with you heel all the way to the back of it because your foot will spread when there is weight on it. You can measure your left foot or your right. Men are most commonly a size 10 with a "D" width.

The foot measure can also measure the length of your arch or instep. Do note that every brand of boot will fit differently. Also everyone has one foot that is smaller than the other. Make sure that you try on both pairs of boots to get the best fit.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Different Parts of Cowboy Boots

If you have had the time or desire to stare at someone’s boots, you would have noticed that there are many parts to one. Each part has a purpose for the person wearing them. I will not bore you with the details of every boot part there is, but I will show what some are and their significance.

The shaft is a long, cylindrical part that goes up the leg. Shafts come in many heights and can be very decorative. They can have colored stitch patterns and embroidery, or tooling by hand or machine. If you can think it, someone can make it and put it on a shaft. This allows the owner to personalize their boots if they want to.

The shaft is also for the protection of the leg. Just like shin guards, chaps, and protective vests, this part of the boot offers the wearer protection against heat, cold, sharp objects, and prevents objects from entering the boot from the top and causing discomfort.

The shank is located between the midsole and outsole, and runs parallel with the foot between the ball of the foot and the heel. This significant part of the boot is commonly called the “arch support”.

Shanks are made from steel, carbon fiber, plastic, fiberglass, and even aluminum. They can be flat, forked, dished, and contoured. Have you ever discovered that some boots feel great on your feet, while others seem to cause pain in the arch of your foot, like you are standing on a shovel with bare feet? Frequently, this is caused by the shank not being the same shape as your foot.

The outsole receives the most amount of abuse, so it is, arguably, the most important part of the boot. Outsoles are made out of two main materials: leather and synthetic materials. Leather is a natural, breathable material that conforms nicely to your foot. It comes in many thicknesses to accommodate different needs. The only reason some steer away from leather soles is that they tend to wear out quickly when they are wet.

Synthetic soles offer greater durability in moisture and other liquids, but they come with one nasty side effect: heat. Leather allows heat to dissipate through the sole, but synthetic soles trap it. Synthetic soles usually offer greater longevity and can offer more slip and chemical resistance, but can you take the heat? For many, the answer is answered for them, due to the nature of where the boots are worn. Also, some prefer the cushion of a synthetic sole over a leather one.

Whatever your preferences may be or how you wear them, boots are worth staring at. Most boots are made by hand, so even in this age of mass production, no two pair are exactly, or fit exactly, alike. This makes each one unique, and an expression of the individual.

How to Fit a Cowboy Hat

Now, that you have found the perfect hat and would like to purchase it you say to yourself, self. How is this danged thing supposed to fit? How do I know my size? Well, here are some tips for you.

Well first of all, you have to know your head size and to find that out you must measure your head. Use a cloth measuring tape measure about an inch to an inch and a half depending on preference above the eye brow; measure around just above the ear and around the back of the head to complete the circle. Pull the tape snug not tight, and record the number and use the chart below to better find your size (these measurements are taken from Stetson size scales).
Next, we must talk about the shape of your head. There are many different types of head shapes and because of this hat makers have made many different ovals to better fit your head. The most common of these said ovals are:

Round oval- which are most of all hats made by Stetson

Long oval- which includes Resistol brand hats

Regular oval which is Atwood hats, Milano, Serritelli, and many others

After you find a hat you like and the right size you are going to want to get it shaped. Most people shape a hat to whatever their style is.But, that is not enough once you pick out what style you then have it shaped to compliment your facial and physical features.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What Types of Cowboy Boots are Available?

I remember the days when you walked into your boot shop and you could find a few pair of boots to choose from. That is not the case anymore. There are many styles to choose from now, each with a purpose, and a look, in mind.

The good, old cowboy boot that most think of has a heel around 1.5 inches. It has a pointed toe and a 13 inch shaft. They usually have some stitching on the toe called a “toe bug”. These basic boots have been worn through the decades.

A cousin of these boots is the dress boot, usually made with an exotic leather such as alligator, ostrich, lizard, or many others. They look just like the good old cowboy boot mentioned above, only with that expensive, exotic hide on it.

The Roper has a one inch heel, round toe, and a shaft of about 11 inches. This boot has been a favorite of those who rope, hence the name.

The Stockman is a hybrid of two styles, the roper and the traditional cowboy boot. It has a 1 to 11/8 inch heel, round toe, and a shaft 11 to 12 inches tall. However, unlike the roper, it has a ¾ welt on the sole. This provides a different fit for those who need it.

The Buckaroo has heels up to 3 inches, round toes, with pull holes, mule ears, or pull straps at the top of the shaft. These boots are usually taller, starting at 13 and going up to 18 inches tall. These are usually worn by those who need good leg protection and a good heel to ride in.

Roughstock boots have heels around 2 inches, can have round or square toes, have tough heel counters for durability, and usually have leather soles. They are around 12 inches tall. These boots are made for riding bulls and broncs, or anyone who likes that look.

Fashion boots are in a class of their own. There are no rules these days for these boots, for they are as varied as the people on this planet. High, narrow heels are usually prominent, being 3-4 inches tall, but there are other styles that use designs and colors to set them apart from their competitors. In the western world, bling has come with hurricane force to stick to anything it can. Boots are no exception to this. Silver dots, brass dots, hair on hides, camo, and bling can be found almost anywhere.

Mules are a cousin to fashion boots with their colors and styles, only they have no shaft or heel. With jeans on, they like boots, so many women like to wear these for their comfort and looks.
In general, a boot is a boot. With a closer look, however, boots can give you a closer look at how someone sees the world, and how they perceive the world sees them. Boots are a standard, especially cowboy boots.

Ride on, for a West is still out there to be won.

Summer Cowboy Hats

As spring narrows to an end and summer is obviously on its way it is time to start to think about getting a summer hat. So that question was asked; what is the best summer cowboy hat? I answered with, it depends.

You see, it is all varies to who is buying the said hat. If you were to ask me the question I would answer back with an Atwood palm leaf hat. Many people consider Atwood to be the “king “of palm leafs. The reason I would choose a palm leaf is because; number one its durability, and strength, number two is price palm leaf hats are normally fairly inexpensive comparatively, and number three its versatility.

But, if you didn’t ask me most people would probably say a toyo, shantung or bangora straw; because that is what the majority of people are wearing. The Shantug family includes the framosa, toyo, bangora, and of course the shantung straws. Most of these hats are woven is Japan or china and are made up of a Japanese paper yarn. Then the bodies are shipped to the U. S. to be made into hats. Unlike the palm leaf the shantung are very light weight but not nearly as weather proof or durable. But because most of them are woven by hand and consequentially more time was spent to make them they are much more expensive.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


By Ron Caldwell – “THE TACKGUY”

Although there are many differences between Western and English saddles they do have one common purpose which is to provide support and security to the rider. The roots and basic design of a Western saddle came from cowboys working on western ranches in the United States. The English saddle derives it's design from both hunter and show riders from European countries.

The Western saddle design actually came about from the Spanish vaqueros and horse trainers who handle cattle in Mexico and the American Southwest. The Western saddle was made to be more comfortable for long hours in the saddle and to be used when traveling over very rugged country.

The English saddle is made to allow the rider to have more body contact with his/her horse. The English saddle is usually much lighter in weight and doesn't have the large stirrup fenders which exist on Western saddles. One noticeable difference about an English saddle is that they typically don't have saddle horns. A user of an English saddle learns quickly the importance of being centered and balanced over the saddle and horse. Many riders of English saddles ride horses that jump and go over obstacles which makes the importance of being well balanced in the saddle even more critical. Although the horn on a Western Saddle is used by some western riders as a hand hold, the actual intent of the western saddle horn is for securing the end of a rope to the saddle when working with cattle or other livestock.

Both Western and English saddles will usually have a seat, pommel, cantle, saddle tree, stirrups or irons. In addition, the typical English saddle will have waist skirt, panel, saddle flap, and stirrup leathers. The additional parts of a Western saddle include; horn, gullet, jockey, cinch rings, cinch and latigo keepers, full skirt, saddle strings, and stirrup fenders. Because of the larger number of parts on a Western saddle, it is usually much heavier.

Not all western tack stores carry English saddles but we at A.A. Callister do provide both Western and English saddles.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact me a

Sunday, May 10, 2009


By Ron Caldwell – “THE TACKGUY”

A horse breastcollar (sometimes referred to as a breastplate) is used to keep a saddle or harness from sliding back. Breastcollars are primarily used on western type saddles but can also be found on english saddles too.

Most western saddles will have front attachment rings in which you can attach a breastcollar. It seems that horses with large shoulders or a flat rib cages have need for a breastcollar. Some riders use breastcollars more for appearance and not for securing the saddle in place. Many riders who ride in shows or parades will add a breastcollar (usually made of ornate leather and silver) to dress up their horse's appearance.

A breastcollar can be used as a safety device. When riding in mountainous or hilly terrain, the breastcollar can prevent the saddle from sliding back or off when traveling up a steep incline. Also, if the saddle girth or billets break, then the breastcollar can help keep the saddle in place while you find a place to stop and dismount.

Breastcollars can be used with harnesses. A breastcollar attached to a harness can be used to pull light loads. A breastcollar should not be used on heavy loads as it can put to much weight on the horses sternum or possibility reduce the horse's breathing.

Breastcollars can be found in many different sizes and types of materials. Check your local western or english tack store to see the many styles available.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact me a

Friday, May 8, 2009

The History of Justin Boots

The Justin Boots story began in 1879, when H.J. Justin left Lafayette, Indiana to start a new life in Spanish Fort, Texas. Initially a boot repairman, H.J. soon began his own boot company working out of his home.

When a railroad was built in Nocona, Texas in 1889, H.J. moved his family and business there to capitalize on the bigger market opportunity. Annie Justin, H.J.'s wife, developed a “fit kit” in the early 1890's, which included a tape measure and an instruction chart for the measuring a pair of custom fit boots. Cowboys who carried these fit kits on their journeys became Justin's first Traveling sales force.

In 1908, John and Earl came to work for their father, and the company was renamed H.J. Justin and Sons. In 1910, Justin boots were sold in 26 states, Canada, Mexico, and Cuba for $11 a pair. John, Earl and Avis took over the business after their father's death in 1918. In 1925, the brothers moved the company headquarters to Fort Worth.

In 1948, John Justin, Jr. purchased controlling interest in the company. It wasn't long before H.J. Justin & Sons was growing again. In 1968, the company made a deal with Acme Brick, another Fort Worth company with pioneering roots, to form Justin Industries. Nocona Boot Company became part of Justin Industries when John Jr. purchased the controlling shares from his aunt, Enid Justin, in 1981. Three years later, Chippewa Shoe Company was added to the Justin family of brands. And in 1990, Justin Industries purchased competitor Tony Lama Boots after years of intense rivalry.

In August of 2000, Justin Boots was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway, managed by Warren Buffet. With strong financial backing, a lasting tradition of quality, and a talented management team, Justin Boots today is stronger than ever.

To get more detail of Justin's boot history check their web site: