Giant Cowboy boots.
Big Boots at the mall.

World's Largest Cowboy Boots

Field review by the editors.

San Antonio, Texas

In 1979 Texas artist Bob "Daddy-O" Wade was 36 years old, and had just become famous for installing his giant Lone Star Iguana in New York City. Tastemakers in Washington, DC, coveted some Texas style of their own, so Bob was invited to build something just as big in an empty lot in the nation's capital.

Bob built a pair of boots, 35 feet tall and 30 feet long, to fill the space. It took him six weeks, and he was paid $7,000. The boots, mostly made with materials that Bob had scavenged, were completed on September 12, 1979. Bob claimed that each boot could hold 300,000 gallons of beer, and promoted them as the World's Largest, even though they probably were not. "In those days there weren't any books or resources like Roadside America," Bob said. "I wouldn't have believed there was a pair any bigger."

Cowboy Boots, Washington DC, 1979.
Cowboy Boots, Washington, DC, late 1979.

The boots only stood in DC for four months, then were purchased by the North Star Mall in San Antonio, where Bob re-erected them on January 16, 1980. "Back then it was kind of a ratty mall," said Bob, "and one day they called me and said, 'Mr. Wade, your boots are on fire.'" They were not; it turned out that a homeless man was living in one of the boots, cooking his dinner with Sterno, and using the neck of the boot as his smoky chimney. "I don't know how long the guy had been in there, but they probably should have left him," said Bob. "It would've been a great attraction."

In the past 40 years the mall has gone upscale but, surprisingly, the boots have remained. They now stand outside a Saks Fifth Avenue store. "The mall owners have just been sweethearts," said Bob. "They spent 80 grand in 2012 just to redo the tops of those boots. That's insane."

Also see: Hat 'n Boots, Seattle, WA | Roadside Art of Daddy-O

World's Largest Cowboy Boots

North Star Mall

7400 San Pedro Ave., San Antonio, TX
North Star Mall. South side of I-410. Exits 20B (driving west) or 20 (driving east). Drive along the one-way eastbound frontage road (on the south side of I-410).
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Monster Mini GolfMonster Mini Golf, San Antonio, TX - 2 mi.
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In the region:
Ashes of the Alamo Dead, San Antonio, TX - 7 mi.

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February 25, 2020

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