The Man’s Guide to Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots aren’t exclusively for cowboys – if you are a fan of western style, you can adopt it too. These western-style riding boots lie somewhere between pop culture, folk art, and functional clothing. Actors have worn them and so have the presidents. Plus, a man doesn’t need to be a horse rider to wear cowboy boots.

If you want to rock a macho look and love western dressing, then this guide to cowboy boots will surely help you.

Brief History of Cowboy Boots

According to several legends and tales, the original cowboy boots were seen on the feet of Genghis Khan and historians have also found evidence that he would wear red boots that had a wooden heel. In the early 1800s, the first duke of Wellington also wore a unique boot that later became known as Wellington Boots – they are quite popular in today’s fashion.

Wellington boot originated in Europe, and its design was widespread in America as well when a lot of Europeans migrated to America in the 19th century. This famous boot’s design included only four sections and was made by hand. Since these boots were quite sturdy and easy to build, many soldiers used to wear them during the Civil War.

After the Civil War came to an end, the cowboy era emerged, which resulted in the evolution of cowboy boots we see available today.

Types of Cowboy Boots

There are lots of options available when it comes to picking out a pair of cowboy boots. Basically, it depends on what you want to use them for. Do you need a pair for horse-riding? Do you plan to work on a field? Do you plan to wear them in the snow? Or do you just want to wear them indoors on a country night at the dance hall? You can consider these questions and determine the purpose of getting cowboy boots – it will help you pick out the right category.

Here are some types:

  • Classic Western Cowboy Boots

Classic cowboy boots are traditional and iconic. They have a traditional western design and come in a variety of colors, heels, and toe shapes. If you want the original cowboy boots, go for the classic ones.

  • Buckaroo Boots

This type of cowboy boots is made for shows. Their shaft length is much higher compared to the Classic Cowboy boots. Buckaroo Boots are favorite among artists and showmen.

  • Stockman Boots

This one’s a hybrid boot made for men who may not want to ride a horse but rock a classic western look. Stockman boots look similar to work boot in function as they have a rubber sole, shorter heel, and a wider toe box. However, in terms of style, these boots can be as detailed as the Classic Western with colored stitching.

  • Roper Boots 

They are highly versatile cowboy boots. Their toe is a bit more rounded and has a lower flat heel. They are typically more practical for work and walking.

  • Work Boots 

As the name suggests, these boots are meant to be on the field. They feature oil-resistant materials and steel toes, making them one of the most robust types.

  • Harness/Biker Boots 

If you own a motorcycle and love riding it, biker boots are for you. They are designed to protect the rider from the heat of the exhaust pipe and engine. They are also solid enough to provide some protection against accidents.

  • Ankle Boots 

Although they retain traditional western styling and design, they feature a shorter shaft compared to other types (specifically the Classic Western).

  • Exotic Cowboy Boots

These types of cowboy boots are made of cowhide leather, but their print and design are inspired by exotic animals.

Differences between Women’s And Men’s Cowboy Boots

Nowadays, both men and women love to rock a western look by wearing cowboy boots. Knowing the difference between women’s and men’s cowboy boots will help you get the best fit possible. Cowboy boots are designed uniquely to provide a comfortable fit to each gender. Various cowboy boots differ in terms of heel height and toe shape – and they can be worn by both genders.

However, some manufacturers make cowboy boots with high heels for women, while shorter heels are made for men.

Why Wear Western Boots?

  • Great attention-grabbing accessory
  • They give you instant style as you don’t need much to create a stylish outfit with them
  • They have a rich and interesting history
  • They have no laces
  • They have high heels that add a bit of height, which is great for shorter men
  • They are unique

Parts of a Western Boot

1. Pull Straps

They have these straps to help the wearer easily put on the boots.

2. Interior Lining

Boots usually have the interior lining of either leather or fabric to provide you enhanced comfort and keep your feet warm in winter and cool in summer.

3. Boot Shaft

Most cowboy boots, especially the Classic Western, have a tall shaft that goes up to about the mid-calf. Tall boot shafts provide protection during riding or against the bushes. However, shorter cowboy boots are gaining popularity nowadays.

4. Heel

Traditional cowboy boots feature a Cuban heel that is great for riding. Nowadays, the latest boots have rounded off heels that make it easier for the wearer to run or walk in them.

5. Welt

The bottom border of the boot is known as the welt, which is attached to the upper part of the boot. Some manufacturers feature Goodyear welting to ensure water resistance and neat aesthetics.

6. Sole

The sole is the bottom part of the boot that touches the ground. Most cowboy boots have leather soles while others may have a rubber sole to provide slip-resistance.

7. Toe

Toes of cowboy boots are available in different shapes, such as round, pointed, or square.

8. Vamp

This one is the most visible part of the boot that comprises the front foot area. This area usually has decorative elements.

9. Insole

The insole is the interior part of the boot where your foot rests. Boots might have cushioned insole for more comfort while walking or running.

What to Wear With Cowboy Boots?

  • Jeans

Depending on the color of your boots, you want to wear dark and close-fitted denim jeans instead of your casual light blue jeans. The boot-cut design of the jeans allows the boots to go underneath. If you are not performing fieldwork on horseback, you shouldn’t tuck your jeans into your cowboy boots.

Remember that the fit of your jeans is more important than style. You don’t want either skin-tight or too loose jeans. However, it should be long enough to cover your boots.

  • Collared Shirts

If you are going for the exact western look, adding a collared shirt to your outfit would best compliment your cowboy boots. To avoid looking tacky, you shouldn’t wear western t-shirts. Instead, opt for a button-down collared shirt that is either long-sleeved or short-sleeved (your choice). This will give you a more put-together appearance.

  • Hats

Going for a full-blown cowboy look? Adding a cowboy hat is a must then. You can either go for a straw hat or felt hat. However, there are several hat shapes available in the market that might confuse you. So, you should only consider the following hat shapes:

  • Cattleman
  • Brick
  • ​Gambler
  • Pinched Front
  • Derby
  • Gus
  • Amish
  • Tom Mix
  • Open Crown

Where to Wear Cowboy Boots?

You have just finished watching Django unchained or some other thrilling western-style movie and want to rock the same style but don’t know where to wear the cowboy boots? You may want to move to Texas if you want to wear them every day without worrying about what would people comment on you. However, if you don’t want to move to Texas just to wear your cowboy boots, you can wear them to a rodeo or take up western dancing lessons in your own city.

Still, if all these options aren’t suitable for you, but you are a confident person – you can wear them anytime anywhere without any problem because you don’t need to be a cowboy to appreciate and wear cowboy boots.

Some Size Tips before Getting Yourself a Pair of Cowboy Boots

  • Pay close attention to the type of toe shape, heel, and sole the pair has. Get the one that feels comfortable in your feet.
  • Try wearing and walking in them in the afternoon, since your feet are at their largest size then.
  • Make sure the boots snugly fit on your feet. Don’t go for too tight fit since these boots only stretch a little even after significant use.


Cowboy boots are an excellent choice for the fans of western style. The best way to decide the right type of cowboy boots is by determining what you intend to do with them. For instance, casual use, work, horse riding, bike riding, etc. Once you have determined it, you should then decide your individual style and design to opt for.