How To Wear Cowboy Boots: The Ultimate Guide For Men

Folk art, pop culture, and utilitarian clothes all come together in the Western-style riding shoe.

They’ve been worn by actresses, presidents, and even actors who went on to become president.

Most guys, on the other hand, will never put on a pair of cowboy boots in their whole lives.

What would be my recommendation? Make sure you don’t end up like that. Try it out. To enjoy and wear Western boots, you don’t need to be a cowboy.

To get the most use out of them, you’ll need to take up Western dance and rodeo.

Cowboy boots aren’t only for cowboys in the Southwest; well-dressed men may wear them in some of America’s most attractive cities, much like boater shoes.

What’s the best way to go about it? Well, that’s the point of this cowboy boot primer.

western style riding boot

Why wear Western boots?

A stylish pair of Western boots has little appeal for the majority of guys. The expense of the goods and the lack of exposure to guys who used them makes them seem more like a curiosity or a costume piece than a fashion accessory.

Cowboy boots may be used as an outfit’s “holdout weapon” by the clever dresser. It seems to be a high-quality leather shoe from a distance. When you go up up and personal, you can see the advantages:

The toes of western cowboy boots.

  • Shape Of Boot. In current design, the toe of a Western boot doesn’t have to be very thin, but it must always have a pronounced taper. Although it was initially designed for ease of entry and exit from stirrups, it nevertheless offers your feet a dynamic, athletic form that contrasts well with the more staid toe shapes of dress shoe styles like the oxford.
  • Height Of Boot. Cowboy boots are a great choice for shorter guys because of the heel height, which may range from half an inch to over two inches. The “walking heel” design is more suited to taller men, although shorter guys may get away with wearing full “cowboy heels” and still gain a few inches in height.
  • Decorative elements. It’s unusual to find a pair of cowboy boots that’s just plain white. From leather embossing to stark difference stitching and vibrant vegetable dyes, there are a variety of options for the area of the boot exposed under your pants cuffs. You’ll adore cowboy boots if you’re a fan of unique footwear.
  • Individuality. You’re hardly likely to be in a company with another man wearing Western boots after you leave Texas as well as the Southwest. It serves as a reminder of your presence in the lives of all who come into contact with you.
  • Fun. Let’s face it: We all have those moments when we just want to buck up a bit. Western boots have a long history of American freedom and masculinity, both actual and imaginary. To be part of something like that is exciting.

Terms and Definitions for Using Western Boot Components

With so many options available, it’s no wonder that first-time buyers find it difficult to know where to start. But if you’ve learned a few fundamental phrases and techniques, it will be far less frightening.

In general, excellent Western boots should have the following features:


  • Heel with a Cuban style. This must be done. A boot isn’t considered a cowboy boot unless it has an inclined, underslung heel that measures at least 1/2 inch in height. For those who like to stroll rather than ride, a lower heel is preferable, while a higher heel provides a little of additional height for taller men and those who are shorter than average. Heel lengths may go up to two inches, although one to one and a half inches is more common.
  • Shaft. The boots’ tops should reach around mid-calf. Decorative cut-outs are common on the tops, although they don’t have to be. The typical shaft length of a traditional Western boot is from 10 to 14 inches.
  • There aren’t any lace up shoes here. A pair of cowboy boots is put on and taken off. Small leather loops (“bootstraps”) are often used for this purpose, although laces are not required. When a cowboy falls from his horse, the laces of his boots might become caught in the stirrups and prevent him from kicking free. This can lead to his being dragged and perhaps trampled.

Styles of Western Boots

styles of cowboy boots

With a 12-inch shaft, a heel meant to keep you on the saddle, and no laces, a cowboy boot is a real representation of its roots.

The classic cowboy look is available in a range of leathers and embroidery. For your first pair of boots, go with cowhide since it’s affordable, has all the typical hard-wearing features, and is more adaptable than exotic leathers.

ROPER Men’s Mesh Boat Shoe
ROPER Men’s Mesh Boat Boot

Rodeo-specific boots have a somewhat distinct design. Their shorter shafts, rounded toe, and wider heel make them more reminiscent of a labor boot than anything else.

The scallop has a deeper dip (see the terminology table above for guidance with what it implies) and the heel has a shorter and broader circumference. As a result, this version is more suited for cowboys who spend a lot of time on their feet throughout the course of a day.

Toe boxes on Western work boots tend to be bigger than on their roper counterparts because of the prevalence of steel-toed construction. Shorter heels and rubber bottoms for non-slip traction are popular features for men who require work boots that operate in any weather.

Buckaroo boots are a popular form of Western footwear in the West.

The buckaroo’s extended shaft is its most distinctive characteristic. Shafts that are longer than 14 inches are typically decorated to bring attention to the boot’s design. If you’re a show rider and want to keep your legs safe while looking fashionable, these are the boots for you.

Outfit Ideas for Western Boots

There should be no more than one Western-themed item in any one Western-themed ensemble beyond the American Southwest!

Put on your cowboy boots and slim belt instead of your traditional cowboy shirt and bolo tie while you’re out and about in them. Rather than attempting to seem like a costume, you want to come off as someone who is making a fashion statement.

If you’re not from Texas, your cowboy boots will be more of a social accessory than a professional one, so dress casually with them:

  • If you want to appear fashionable while wearing cowboy boots, a collared shirt is a requirement. There are country music shows where you may wear T-shirts and jeans with cowboy boots. If that isn’t the place you are really going, then wear something different. Plain white dress shirts, as well as more patterned, casual shirts, perform very well.
  • Close-fitting, black jeans are preferable than light blue jeans worn for work. For obvious reasons, a boot-cut style is a must-have. Only tuck your pants into your boots if you’re really working on horseback and need to.
  • Casual suits and dress pants may also be worn with cowboy boots. If the boot shaft bulges, they may not have adequate leg space.
  • The right jacket may transform you from a “urban cowboy” to a “snappy dresser” in no time. Cowboy boots with a jacket are nearly always a bad idea, at least in big cities. It’s the perfect counterpoint to the casual footwear look that a shirt alone can’t provide.
  • Even if hats are a little over the top, they are an obvious choice for those who want to make a statement about their cowboy attire. You should only do this if you want to immediately make people think “cowboy” when they see you.
  • Buckles and leather belts are usually a wonderful choice for cowboy boots. The only requirement is that the belt be a bit more eye-catching than your normal dress belt.
  • A excellent option to a dressier sports jacket is a denim or leather jacket. Although your boots are already casual, a jacket with lapels is preferable than one without since it adds an extra layer of formality to the ensemble. A long trench coat, on the other hand, is an ideal match for a pair of cowboy boots. Irrespective of whether you’re dressing up, steer clear of leather dusters.
  • The use of spurs is limited to certain forms of riding. Put your spurs away if you have no intention of mounting a horse anytime soon.

All of these little things work together to create an ensemble that pays homage to your boots without remaining unfocused on them.

In other words, you want to project the image of a cowboy: laid-back, confident, and at ease in your own skin.

When attending a rodeo in a major city, you’ll want to dress a bit fancier than a typical cowboy.

An easy cowboy boot costume is a pair of dark trousers with an unblemished white shirt underneath and a soft gray or brown jacket with a relaxed fit. As long as you don’t go overboard with the embellishment, you’ll seem both trendy and distinctive.

Where to Wear Cowboy Boots and Where to Avoid Wearing Them

There is no doubt about it: Western-style boots are a casual piece of apparel.

Unless you’re in the cattle or oil industry, they aren’t appropriate professional attire. You’ll see a businessman in a suit and cowboy boots from time to time, but you don’t want to be like that.

For the most part, we advise limiting the use of cowboy boots to “fun” social gatherings, when machismo and a more aggressive attitude are acceptable.

Among the best locations to buy cowboy boots are:

  • Step dance includes salsa, square, and other forms.
  • Bars
  • Cafeteria-style eateries
  • Fairs held by various organizations, such as county, state, or grange.
  • Concerts of rock and country
  • Picnics in the evening with a loved one are romantic.
  • Comedic programs
  • Horseback riding may be used for any kind of activity.

If you’re not wearing cowboy boots as part of your everyday wardrobe, avoid these situations:

  • The first time you meet someone new.
  • Any kind of political role
  • Even if it is only a personal presentation,
  • Long walks or driving
  • Theatrical events of a higher caliber
  • Discos

If your boots are white with a bright red Texas star on the toe, you’re going to have a lot less options than if your boots are deep oxblood red with some ornamental stitching done in the same color thread. Of course, your choices will vary based on how your boots appear! If your boots are exceptionally garish, you may want to exercise some personal control as well.

There are a few things to keep in mind while purchasing a pair of cowboy boots.

Horseback riding was the initial purpose of Western-style footwear. Most makers now expect their consumers will be in bars rather than pastures, but several of their distinguishing characteristics are still more beneficial while mounted on a horse than when used on foot.

When wearing cowboy boots, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Challenges with sizing. Lathes (foot-shaped molds) used to make boots by each business are unique and frequently a closely guarded trade secret. In certain cases, a shoe from one company will fit well, whereas a shoe from a rival manufacturer would pinch. As a result, finding a pair of cowboy boots, particularly in a size that isn’t standard, may be a real challenge.
  • Toes that are a little narrow. Some of the boots we’ve seen recently have a severe taper that isn’t particularly practical. A wide foot should opt for boots that taper gradually toward the toes rather than abruptly. Having a toe that’s too small might create chafing or put pressure on the toe bones, which can lead to aches in the toes.
  • Time to settle in. Cowboy boots have high shafts and stiff sides that take some time to break in. As the sides of the boot break in, your heel will slip farther back and provide that loose sensation you like in a new boot. Buying a new boot with minimal slippage can cause the heel to be pinched as it breaks in.

In the grand scheme of things, these are minor flaws — realistic requirements of the boots’ working background that can be readily remedied with a little effort and careful buying. If you’re looking for something more dramatic than a new pair of dress shoes, this is the way to go.

The Western Boot in a Non-Western Environment, in Conclusive

While it may be weird to put on a pair of high heels for the first time, you’ll soon fall in love with the distinct sound of the heels and the tapering toe.

With a non-Western attire and a Western boot, the skill of restraint and balance is practiced.

Keeping the remainder of the outfit basic and robust is something any cowboy can get behind.

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