Welcome to our comprehensive guide on choosing the perfect western boot. Here you'll find our helpful fitting tips as well as general information about western boots.
If you are normally in sandals or tennis shoes, it can be hard to tell when a boot fits properly. Western boots support your foot differently than other types of footwear. Make sure you look over the following points to ensure a good fit:
- Order the size you normally wear.
- When you try your boots on, you should be wearing a pair of light to medium-weight socks.
- Your boot should not go on easily. You should have to put pressure on your foot to get it through the shaft, then your foot should fall into the boot. Your foot will usually make a THUD as you get the boot on.
- Your new western boots should feel snug, but not tight. You should feel the fit snugly especially around the instep of the boot; this is where the boot grabs onto your foot.
- Your heel should have a slight amount of slippage and lift when you walk. In other words, your heel should come up about a finger's width when you step. This will decrease over time as you break in your new boots because the flexibility of the sole will increase.
- You should be able to wiggle your toes. The toe of your boot will not change shape as you break it in. Therefore, you shouldn't feel pressure from the top or sides of your boot around your toes. If your toes feel tight, you need a bigger size.
- Your boot should give you even support throughout your foot. Your arch should line up with the boot's arch. Your feet shouldn't feel pushed forward, back, or to the side. Just like in athletic shoes, boots feel differently between manufacturers, so if your foot doesn't like a particular brand, don't give up. Try another manufacturer. Most boot wearers are pretty devoted to their brand because they found exactly what their feet love.
What do you want your boot for? While a quality work boot could be worn all day and still look good out on the town, it's still important to purchase a boot that's made for what you want to use it for. Western boots are fashioned for different purposes. The major categories are as follows:
1. Work Boots
Western style work boots are made for hard wear and tear. A quality pair will feel comfortable all day. Work boots typically have low roper heels and treaded soles for traction. They can also be built with special features, like waterproof and shock-protective materials. They usually don't display a lot of detailed styling.
2. Cowboy Boots
Cowboy boots are all-around boots perfect for riding, walking, grocery shopping, and wearing to work (if you have such a privilege). They have a heel that is usually of medium height. They're built to be comfortable, last a long time. A good pair will be versatile enough to wear through work and play.
3. Western Riding Boots
Riding boots are for....riding! They're built to help you perform your best in the saddle. If you're going to perform in shows, you'll need a pair. Riding boots feature tapered toes that help you easily get into the stirrup, and high heels to make sure your foot doesn't slide back. The soles are smooth to avoid catching in the stirrup. Higher shafts protect your legs from pinching or catching on anything you ride by. Most do not have laces just in case you take a tumble.
Unlike typical riding shoes, roper boots have features that allow the rider to slip out of the saddle easily, which is essential in the sport. They have very low heels and are very flexible for more comfort when you need to maenuver. They also have low shaft heights for less restraint on your leg.
5. Fashion Boots
There are no rules to fashion, and there's none for fashion boots either. These are boots designed to look good and be comfortable. Everything else is up for interpretation! This category will include exotic leathers, crazy colors, and exquisite styling. Heel height, shaft height, and toe type are all varied according to the overall look of the boot. While these boots are not designed for riding or working, they're perfect for dancing, shopping, and dentist's appointments.
Western boots have a variety of different toe shapes. If you're looking for a riding boot, you'll want a narrow, pointed toe for easily slipping into the stirrup. Manufacturers can differ in what they name their toe shapes, so as usual, we've simplified the process with our Boot Selector tool. You can narrow down our selection by toe shape (Round or Square) and width (Wide, Medium, Narrow).