When Western boot brand Twisted X entered the work boot market in 2007, the company knew it would face off with some heavy hitters. However, the independently owned, Decatur, Texas, company, which launched just two years earlier, had an angle: It would stick to its cowboy roots by offering classic Western styles with safety features.

Since then, Twisted X has expanded its work collection to appeal to a wider demographic. The company offers men’s and women’s safety mocs, hikers and lace-ups, retailing from $150 to $200, in addition to a companion collection of everyday non-safety casuals that includes children’s styles. But what has really opened doors to a more diverse range of customers is the brand’s casual safety looks.

“We have profiles that touch a lot of different needs and uses when you look at safety-toe casuals being adopted by those in tech manufacturing or warehousing,” said brand manager Brandon Forquer. “They don’t need a heavy-duty Western or lace-up boot. They need something comfortable that meets their [safety] requirements.”

With continued consumer demand for comfort, the company introduced its proprietary CellStretch technology this spring. “It’s key when you talk to the work industry. Guys are on their feet for 12 hours a day,” explained Forquer. “If [shoes] are not comfortable, they don’t care how little or much it costs. Having a strong comfort statement throughout all our footwear is critical.”

According to GM Lee Lemon, 30% of the company’s business is generated from its work category, with a 25% increase in the segment for the fiscal year ending July 30. Based on sales so far, the company expects another year of double-digit growth.

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And while most brands support their businesses with e-commerce, Twisted X strictly wholesales its line to retailers, such as Work Wear Boots, Safety Wear House, Boot Barn and others. Work Wear Safety Shoes buyer Jeri Bielefeldt said, “Work-Western is the category where we’ve seen the largest growth in the past few years,” noting a five-fold sales increase for Twisted X over the past three years. “Being based out of Texas, a large portion of our customers favor Western boots on the job.”

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