What Should You Know about Shaft Height for Cowboy Boots?

Getting the most suitable pair of cowboy boots can be quite difficult for many people, as they would have to measure different parts to ensure that the boots are just the right size for the wearer’s feet, ankles, and legs.

One of the important parts of the cowboy boots that need to be measured is the shaft, which is located above the ankle and at the legs just below the boots’ collar or opening. The shaft can sometimes be too narrow or too wide, so you would need to measure it to ensure that it isn’t constricting to the legs. Here are things that you should know about cowboy boot shafts and their height.

Types of Boots and Their Shaft Height

decorated shafts of cowboy boots

The shaft height for boots can be determined by the type of boots you will purchase in the store. Cowboy boots can be placed in two or more types of boots since the classification or division of the types is dependent on the shaft height. So, cowboy boots can have a shorter or longer shaft height. For more details, here is a list of the types of boots and their shaft height.

  • Ankle Boots – 3 to 8 inches shaft height
  • Mid-Calf Boots – 9 to 13 inches shaft height
  • Tall Boots – 14 to 17 inches shaft height
  • Over-the-Knee Boots – 18 inches and above shaft height

Most cowboy boots today are mid-calf boots, which means that their shaft ends a few inches below the knees and above the ankles. However, there are some cowboy boots for women that are tall boots that have a shaft that is just below the knees.

Mid-calf boots like cowboy boots provide protection not only for your feet but also for your ankles and the lower parts of your legs, which are often prone to injuries while farming, riding a horse, and other activities that modern cowboys usually do at the farm or ranch. In addition, mid-calf boots are a little bit more flexible than the other types of boots with a higher shaft height, so these boots have the perfect balance when it comes to the flexibility of ankle boots and the protection and style of tall boots.

How to Measure Shaft Height

Measuring the shaft height is relatively easy, as all you really need is to bring a measuring tape whenever you are going to buy a pair of cowboy boots at a physical store. However, the shaft height isn’t the only thing that you should measure for cowboy boots, as you also need to measure the ankle circumference and the shaft circumference of the boots.

The ankle circumference is a measurement that dictates how wide the ankle part of the shaft is, while shaft circumference measures how wide the shaft is just below the boot’s collar. Measuring the ankle and shaft circumferences is essential for you to have the perfect fit for cowboy boots. Here are the steps that you can follow when measuring the shaft of the boots you plan to purchase.

  • To measure the shaft height, you should start at the arch of the boot’s outsole and then end at the collar for measurements. If you want to buy mid-calf boots, make sure that the shaft is only 9 to 13 inches in height.
  • After measuring the shaft height, you can then start measuring the ankle circumference by placing the tape measure around the lowest part of the shaft. For a better fit, we also recommended that you measure the circumference of your ankles as well. The ankles of the boots should be one or two inches wider than your ankle.
  • For the shaft circumference, measure the shaft right below the collar by putting the tape measure around it. The fit of the shaft circumference depends on personal preference, but it should be a few inches wider than the ankle circumference for comfort and flexibility. However, if the shaft circumference is too wide, the boots would look awkward and bulky on your feet, so make sure that you wear the cowboy boots first to see if the shaft’s width is perfect on your legs.

Besides the three measurements, some people would also measure the heel height in order to know how high the heels of the feet rise above the ground. Cowboy boots for men would usually have one or two inches tall heels, while there are some boots for women that are designed to have high heels. For comfort, you might want to go for boots with a lower heel height. But, if you want to wear the boots for style, you are free to choose a pair that has higher heels.

Stretching the Shaft of the Cowboy Boots

different sizes of cowboy boots

New cowboy boots can feel stiff and rigid at first, especially on the shaft. So, the cowboy boots may not feel comfortable and flexible during the first few wears, but after a few weeks or months of use, the leather of the boots will soften and become more flexible. However, if you don’t want to wait weeks or months before the cowboy boots start to feel comfortable, there are ways for you to make the boots feel “worn in” on the shaft part. Here are two ways that you can stretch the shaft of the cowboy boots to make them flexible and soft.

  • You can use a boot stretcher, which is a tool that stretches all parts of the shaft. The boot stretcher can be quite pricey, so we only recommend using this tool if you have more than two pairs of boots.
  • For a more affordable option, you can go for the leather stretching spray, which will help in softening the leather of the boots even if you are not wearing them frequently. However, to use the spray, you first need to spray the boots and then wear them for a few hours so that the leather will conform to your feet, ankles, and legs.

So, these are the things you should know about the shaft of cowboy boots, particularly their height, their measurements, and how to make them softer and more flexible. Be sure to measure and fit the cowboy boots first in the store before you buy them so that you won’t have to return them if they aren’t suitable for your feet.