You do not have to be a working cowboy to appreciate our boots, but it does help. We use the heavier leather for our work boots. Notice on the high counter and tongue the crown like shape - that is actually the W for Wilson Boots - it is our trademark. Wilson actually developed the spur shelf - we put it on all our boots - some customers prefer a large shelf - some medium and some want it shaved down as much as possible. With the full welt as shown (white stitching that runs back to the side seam) you have the insole, midsole, & the outer sole. If you choose the half welt, the stitching ends where the arch sets in, and the midsole is eliminated. It lightens the boot and gives it a dressier look. The steel shank is built up above and below with leather strips. It helps to protect that shank from breaking - I won't say it never breaks, but it is rarely done. The arches are wooden pegged - unless you go with a neoprene sole. Our heels are made with stacked leather. Our boots can be re-soled and heeled many times over. Generally a working cowboy will get 8 - 12 years wear with our boots - we have some customers who have had their boots for over 30 years. It is important to nourish the leather to help prevent rot. There are several good products. If you do use Neatsfoot Oil make sure you only use 100% Pure - the compound has ingredients that will actually break down the leather.