Justin Boots have their origin with H.J. Justin, who In 1879 left Lafayette, Indiana for a new life in Spanish Fort, Texas. Starting as a boot repairman, H.J. was a quick study and soon began his own boot company in his home. The first Justin Boot customers were cowboys who passed through Spanish Fort on their way up the Chisholm Trail.
When a railroad was built in Nocona, Texas in 1889, H.J. moved his family and business there to capitalize on the enhanced marketing opportunities. Annie Justin, H.J.'s wife, developed a fit kit in the early 1890's, which included a tape measure and an instructions chart for taking one's measurements for a pair of custom fit boots. Cowboys carried the fit kits with them on their journeys, becoming 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, the company doubled its production utilizing new technology, and Justin boots were sold to 26 states, Canada, Mexico, and Cuba for $11 a pair.
John and Earl took over the business after their father's death in 1918. In 1925, the brothers moved the company headquarters to Fort Worth to capitalize on the city's growth. Western boots popularity began to wane during this time period, so Justin began to make men's dress shoes and other items. The 1930's brought a revival in Western boot popularity, and also the first pair of boots made exclusively for women, which were called the Western Gypsy.
In 1948, John Justin, Jr. purchased controlling interest in Justin Boot Company. John Jr. immediately made Justin solely a boot maker and began marketing the company aggressively. Even though the boot company consumed the majority of his time, John Jr. is elected to the Fort Worth City Council. In 1961, his civic duties greatly expanded as John Jr. runs for and is elected Mayor.
It wasn't long before H.J. Justin & Sons was growing again. In 1968, the company formed a deal with Acme Brick, another Fort Worth company with pioneering roots, to form Justin Industries. Nocona Boot Company also becomes a 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. This addition brought rugged, specialty outdoor footwear into the product mix. In 1990, Justin Industries purchased competitor Tony Lama Boots after years of intense rivalry. In an effort to bring all of the footwear companies within Justin Industries under one management team, Footwear Management Company was formed. This move allows each of the brands to maintain their individuality and integrity under uniform management.
In April 1999, John Justin, Jr. stepped down from his role as Chairman of the Board of Justin Industries. That same year, he was honored for his work and dedication when he was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Under the direction of John Justin, Chairman Emeritus, John Roach, Chairman of the Board of Justin Industries and J.T. Dickenson, President and CEO, the Justin Industries Board of Directors approves the sale of the publicly traded company to Warren Buffett and Berkshire-Hathaway in August 2000. The boot companies and the building companies are split to form Justin Brands and Acme Building brands as separate entities. Randy Watson is named President and CEO of Justin Brands; Harold Melton is named President and CEO of Acme Building Brands.
While Justin has grown considerably since the early days, the same principals that the company was founded on still remain. Justin Boot Company still holds true to the dedication put forth by founder H.J. Justin. "No boot shall ever bear the Justin brand unless it is the very best that can be produced from the standpoint of material, style and workmanship. It is my wish that I might leave behind me an institution which will uphold the standards and spirit of the true West."
For more company information visit the Justin Boots website.