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In Part One of this series – “Anderson Bean Exclusives From Nigro’s: What Makes An Exclusive?” – we learned what an Anderson Bean Exclusive is and how Nigro’s Western Store came to have their own special collection of these one-of-a-kind cowboy boots. The makers of the Rios of Mercedes family of brands, which include the Anderson Bean brand, maintain close partnerships with family-owned retailers like Nigro’s, providing exclusive opportunities for those stores to design and uniquely style, top-quality boots not available through large retailers.

David “L.D.” Nigro’s knowledge of cowboy boots has not only developed over years of wearing and selling thousands of boots at Nigro’s, but it’s been further enhanced by dozens of trips to the Anderson Bean factory – watching, discussing, and learning every aspect of the boot fabrication process. L.D. also has a deep understanding of leather and hide characteristics and a natural knack for design and color combinations. Combined, these traits have put L.D. into a small cadre of retail boot-sellers that create Anderson Beans Exclusives – which he designs specifically for Nigro’s large following of loyal customers.

Recently, L.D. shared his process for designing cowboy boots and the exquisite detail that goes into each pair. Read below how L.D. brings his boot visions to life.

L.D.’s collection of leather and hide samples at Nigro’s Western Store.

Vamp and Top

The first step in designing a pair of Anderson Bean boots is selecting leathers for the vamp and top. Most boots are designed with two separate kinds of leather, which L.D. considers carefully to determine how they will look side-by-side. L.D. has hundreds of leather samples to work with, ranging from standard leathers to exotics, and in an almost endless range of colors, making infinite design options available.

He also selects the boot’s height. L.D.’s Anderson Bean designs range from 10” to 15”, though 13” is the most popular. Nonetheless, L.D. always includes taller tops for working cowboys who need extra protection while riding in rough country.

Then, L.D. makes notes on the scallop (the dip at the top of the boot’s front) and collar style, aesthetic features that exemplify the high level of attention paid to each pair of Anderson Beans.

A collection of stitch pattern samples on various colored hides.

Stitch Patterns

L.D.’s collection of stitch patterns for Nigro’s Exclusive Anderson Bean boots range from vintage designs to more contemporary motifs collected by Anderson Bean over many years. L.D. meticulously chooses stitch patterns that will be showcased on top leather and strike Anderson Bean’s unique balance between classic and new designs.

Leading thread color options.

After the stitch pattern has been selected, one of L.D.’s favorite parts of the design process occurs as thread colors are selected. The stitching on most boots uses a combination of two colors to highlight or “frame” the design. Although small in scale, thread color can be mighty in impact – in fact, it is one of the most integral parts of the design process. The available thread colors are almost unlimited, but making the wrong choice can ruin the look of a new boot design.

Cutter toe (left) and DB toe (right).


One of the most recognizable features of a pair of Anderson Beans is the toe. As L.D. says, “A boot’s toe shape tells you what brand they are from a mile away.” The dominant toe profile for Anderson Bean boots is the DB (duckbill) toe – also known as a wide square toe. The popularity of this toe profile skyrocketed when it was first introduced by Anderson Bean – and the unique look inspired numerous knock-offs. L.D. designs many of his boots with DB toes, but he also includes a few styles with the other top toe profile among Nigro’s customers – the cutter toe – which combines the square shape of a wide toe with the narrowness of a snip toe.

Hybrid sole with neoprene midsection.

Sole and Welt

Full leather soles were once the top choice among boot designers, but L.D. notes, “Most people have much better dancing and horsemanship skills now, so I usually go for some kind of neoprene sole.” Typically, L.D. will use a hybrid or oxbow sole for his exclusive designs. The hybrid sole is mostly leather with neoprene rubber inserted in the middle for traction and flexibility. An oxbow sole is one that is fully made of neoprene, which is highly durable and provides extra grip.

According to L.D., a pair of cowboy boots is a bit like a car: the soles are the tires, and no matter how durable, eventually they need to be replaced. Anderson Beans are ‘built to be rebuilt’, which is why each pair is constructed with a Goodyear welt, a strip of leather along the perimeter of the outsole where the sole is attached to the rest of the boot. Specifically designed to be highly durable, it is also able to be easily resoled without damaging the boot.

An added benefit of this simple resoling process is that the hybrid soles of a pair of Anderson Beans can be replaced with an oxbow sole if the customer chooses.

Roper heel (left) and underslung heel (right).

Heel and Spur Rest

Most Anderson Bean wearers favor a roper heel. Similar in purpose to the heels of tennis shoes, the roper heel is designed for walking comfortably. Occasionally, L.D. will feature an underslung heel, which provides a little more height than a roper, the choice between the two is determined by the customer’s preference.

Heel selected, L.D. moves on to the spur rest, which is exactly what it sounds like – a place for the spurs to sit. Most boot wearers, unless they are working cowboys, don’t have spurs, but L.D. includes this small touch for an added practical, and stylish, benefit. The spur rest sits at the exact height for the bottom hem of the boot wearer’s jeans to catch, holding them up off the ground and protecting them from fraying. L.D. will occasionally eliminate the spur rest on dress boots, but since even most Anderson Bean dress boots are worn for all occasions, they usually retain that feature.

Boots that are Made to be Worn

Cowboy boots are more than just footwear. They’re the valuable tools of many trades and vocations, and as such, they’re designed and crafted with excruciating precision for long-lasting durability. Partnering with Anderson Bean allows L.D. to create unique boots that are truly one-of-a-kind, exclusively for Nigro’s customers, that they will love and, with the proper care, last them a lifetime.

Anderson Bean Exclusives from Nigro’s – Boots Made for the Discerning Boot Buyer

Each Anderson Bean Exclusive designed by L.D. is produced for purchase at Nigro’s Western Store. Available in most all sizes, they are narrow in quantity, and when they’re gone, they may not be restocked for a while – or they may even be a final run. If you find the exact boot you like, don’t hesitate as it may be gone tomorrow. L.D.’s design process is continuous, so new pairs of Exclusives – crafted directly from L.D.’s meticulous designs – are completed by the artisans at Anderson Bean boot and shipped direct to Nigro’s in a steady stream throughout the year. This gives Nigro’s customers ongoing opportunities to pick up a pair of one-of-a-kind boots – unique as a customer’s individual tastes and preferences – as long as they keep a steady eye on Nigro’s inventory!

Find your perfect pair of Anderson Bean Exclusives at Nigro’s Western Store!