High-rise cowboy boots have proven to be the curse of Rick Perry's macho image. The Texas governor has had to give up his manly footwear in favor of more, shall we say, conservative oxfords and loafers.
As the New York Times reported, "The governor, who had appeared on the cover of Newsweek in 2010 with boots emblazoned with the Texas battle cry 'come and take it,' said he had stopped wearing them because they worsened the back problems that dogged him during his failed run for president in 2012."
Political pundits question that perhaps the sartorial switch, softening that Wild West image, has more to do with a possible run for president in 2016 than a pain in the back. Perry has also taken to wearing thick-rimmed glasses more commonly worn by hipsters, which some commentators have said makes him look smarter.
Nevertheless, the governor's fashion turn equates with turning his back on the state's official shoe. A Texas House resolution that Perry signed in 2007 designated cowboy boots as the state footwear of Texas, in honor of their role "in the mythic romance of the Lone Star State."
The governor's new approach to fashion has fired up at least one elected official. State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson writes in a note to Austin American-Statesman columnist Ken Herman, "Tell Rick that boots can be purchased with normal heels. I lament the fact that our governor could now pass for a West Coast metrosexual and has embarrassed us all with his sartorial change of direction."
The New York Times also reported that bootmaker to the governor Rocky Carroll has a solution for Perry. "I'll just lower the heel," he said. "I do that all the time. I do work for orthopedic doctors. I'll fix them all for him."