Three Things To Know Before You Buy Your Next Pair Of Cowboy Boots

Whether you’ve worn western boots since you first learned to walk or are just shopping for your first pair, there are some important factors to consider in making a good selection.

rough cowboy boots
Not all cowboy boots are created equal. The best will last for years of hard use.Donald Giannatti/unsplash

The vast array of western boots available today is enough to make one’s head spin. From pointed to square toes; tall, medium or shorter uppers; rubber or leather soles, there truly is a perfect boot for everyone. Truth is, however, to find the right pair for you, you must consider how you plan to use the boots, what toe style(s) you prefer and just how comfortable you want to be when riding the range, walking the street or boot-scootin’ across the dance floor.

All Boots Aren't Created Equal

ariat mens rambler western boot
The Duratread™ outsole on this design places it midway between slick and heavily lugged models.Ariat

As with most products, there is a wide range in quality among various models of western boots. Learning about the sole material, upper material and even the material used in the internal part of the boot is critical to a good decision. Leather boots are typically rugged and attractive, and that makes the decision on upper material fairly easy. But soles ranging from slick leather to lugged rubber are designed for different purposes. Your decision will depend on what uses you have planned for the boots.

Toe Style is Important

Ariat Men's Heritage R Toe Western Cowboy Boot
Round-toed boots like these are a good compromise for those who don't like square or pointed toes.Ariat

While pointed-toed and round-toed boots remain popular, square-toed boots have begun capturing much of the market in recent years. Since most people buying western boots nowadays won't be mounting a horse anytime soon, this is largely a matter of individual style and personal choice. Some people think square-toed boots look clunky, while others consider them to be the height of western fashion.

Comfort is Critical

cowboy boot
This square-toed working boot is built around a four-layer foot cushion and a lightweight steel shank.Amazon

A pair of boots must be comfortable for your intended activity or they're not worth consideration. Comfortable lining, a cushioned foot bed and cushioned insoles are important, as is some kind of internal stabilizing technology. Other things to consider are gel foot beds and removable orthotics made of breathable materials. Also, many models offer easy-on pull tabs to make putting your boots on a little more convenient.