Tony Lama Boots: Living The Cowboy Life. Born to Italian immigrant parents in 1887, Tony Lama learned his first lessons in the boot industry at the early age of 11. After the turn of the century, Tony Lama joined the U.S. Cavalry as a cobbler for the soldiers. Once he completed his tour of service, he decided to stay in the nearby border town of El Paso. Realizing the importance of a good boot fit from his stint in the Cavalry, Tony Lama set out to make the best fitting, most comfortable boot possible. Soon, cowboys and ranchers were joining the cavalrymen at his doorstep, carrying hides and requesting custom- made boots. That first year, Tony Lama and one helper made 20 pairs of boots. In the 1930s, Western wear stores began asking for his boots. To meet the growing demands, Tony Lama developed methods to produce greater quantities without sacrificing the key steps in hand crafting. In 1961, nearly 50 years after the first store opened, the company moved into larger quarters and began making 750 pairs of boots a day.