In the straightforward style of our state, let’s skip the bull and lead with the burning question: Can an authentic, honest-to-goodness cowboy boot be vegan? Kat Mendenhall says yes, and this Texan has the knowledge, passion, and product to back up her claim. Kick Butt Boots equals leather-free, 100% vegan cowboy boots, handmade in El Paso, Texas. Stylish enough for a day of Dallas shopping, as well as an authentic fit for line dancing, Mendenhall also proclaims that they’re “the most comfortable boots you’ll ever wear.” This trail-blazing product is set to soft launch next month at the annual Get Healthy Marshall expo in Marshall, Texas. Classic and custom styles will then be available online. As the big reveal approaches, read our exclusive Q&A to learn why these compassionate kicks born deep in the heart of Texas may also be your next new favorite pair. Texas Veggie Fair, founded by vegan activist Jamey Scott, surpassed 10,000 in attendance last year.” Moving on to the subject of shoes (which we love!), what appeals to you about cowboy boots? What are the key characteristics of a real, honest-to-goodness boot, in your expert opinion? “As a native Texan, cowboy boots are part of my personality. They are also a Texas emblem that signifies the ruggedness of our past and our heritage. I love the comfort and protection of a cowboy boot, and how they get better with time. “Some may argue this fact, but a true cowboy boot is Texas-styled and made in Texas. Hailing from the Spanish culture of eighteenth century Mexico, they feature a tall, loose shaft and a Cuban heel. They provide a sturdy, no-slip grip to be worn in any conditions. They must be handmade with quality craftsmanship, fashion-forward with colorful embroidery, and be durable and breathable to handle our drastic weather changes. And, of course, they're not just for Texans!” Ellen's famous tennis shoes with a pair of my vegan boots. It would also be an honor for Alicia Silverstone to have a pair, since I feel she is partly responsible for my amazing vegan journey. I’d love Carrie Underwood to rock a pair, because she's a country girl at heart, too. Finally, Woody Harrelson, who is a native Texan and one bad-ass vegan actor!” Lastly, following the launch of Kick Butt Boots, how do you see your company growing in the future? “I'm actually in the process of re-branding prior to the launch, under the brand Kat Mendenhall, Vegan Texas-Styled Cowboy Boots. They will still be one heck of a kick butt boot, where leather always gets the boot, but I felt it was important to keep the brand under my name. “Moving forward, I will continue to develop quality vegan products that prove no animal ever has to suffer for comfort and fashion. The vision for my company is to empower people to make informed food and fashion choices, to debunk myths about veganism, to be a voice for animals, and to give people the tools and resources they need to live according to their own values of compassion and wellness.” All images, courtesy of Kat Mendenhall. Visit KickButtBoots.com for more information.