by Marcus K. Dowling
For the past eight years, Thomas Rhett had become a bit of a sneaker aficionado. However, of late — especially while recording his latest album Country Again: Side A, he’s had a change of heart.
“If you know me, you know I’ve been on the sneaker train for a while,” Rhett told Audacy Country. “One day I was walking into a meet and greet and I saw my cowboy boots I’ve had since high school sittin’ in the back of my bus and I put them on…I think it was kind of a shock to a lot of people, but I just felt different, it felt right, it felt normal.”
In a 2017 Billboard interview that, “when [he] started to move around onstage a bit more” during his live concerts, he was fearful of breaking his ankle. Calling it “the most terrifying transition you can make as a country artist,” he’s worn everything from Vans to Nike’s Cortez-style sneakers.
However, as he recalls, “There was just a shift in me early on in 2019 where I just woke up one day decided that I wanted to live a little bit more simple and really wanted to put some things into perspective. Not that the boots did that, they were just kind of a reminder…kind of where I came from and the kind of music that I love.”
One listen to songs like “To The Guys That Date My Girls,” “More Time Fishin’,” “Put It On Ice,” and “Heaven Right Now” note a feel more in line with traditional country sounds and not a more contemporary-style take on the genre. In a manner not dissimilar from classic Garth Brooks hanging out with his “friends in low places,” Rhett “showing up in boots” clearly made a profound difference.