So you finally decided to dive into the world of owning your first pair of cowboy boots. Heck, maybe you already have a pair or several pairs of boots, but are looking to change it up a bit. I have put together a basic guide on what to look for, the different names, and some materials you can also find that make up these wonderful pieces of footwear that are considered by many as works of art. Way back in yester year, there wasn’t too much to choose from. Lucky for you, cowboy boots have come a long way. There are many different styles of cowboy boots, colors, and types of material to choose from. I’m sure you will find something to your liking that fits your style.
Toe Shape – Something You Usually Don’t Think About
When it comes to cowboy boots, toe shape is everything. You should consider yourself lucky that you have such a wide range of looks and styles to choose from. Each toe shape says something unique about you as a person. There are four main types of toe shaped boots.
You can read a in depth article we did on cowboy boot toe types here. Keep in mind, this isn’t every toe shape out there, but it’s a good place to start and will help you to “get to know your cowboy toes a little better”!
- Pointed Toe: Pointed toe cowboy boots is what usually comes to mind when you think of “cowboy boots” or see your favorite cowboy on stage and screen. You may think these boots will be uncomfortable because they would squeeze your toes together, but have no fear, the boot maker adds extra room at the end of the boot to accommodate for this. Whatever size your foot is, you won’t have a problem wearing that same size in pointed toe cowboy boots.
- Rounded Toe: Exactly the opposite of pointed toes would be the rounded toe cowboy boots. These boots have a more comfortable and casual look to them and are great for people with wider feet. You may want to look into the “Roper” style cowboy boot if you have wider feet or prefer that extra room for your toes. These boots were
made for spending lots of time on your feet or working around the barn.If that’s what your looking for, this boot is the perfect choice!
- Square Toe: The square toe boot is a recent addition to the cowboy boot family. They really don’t serve much purpose except for being a fashion statement. You can find square toe boots with either a long pointed toe that end up squaring off at the end, or a bit wider that square off like and resemble a Roper style boot. Pointed toe boots favor the person on horseback where rounded toe favors the person on foot working around the barn. The square toe boot will work for either of these situations.
- Broad Squared Toe: This boot is basically a variation of the square toed boot, but with more room. This style of boot was practically nonexistent a couple years ago, but has become super popular as of late because of its stylish looks and being super comfortable. The perfect boot for someone on their feet for long periods of time and for someone that might not be so into the pointed toe look (like me). You can check out some great info on different cowboy boots with square toes right here.
These are the 4 main toe types if you ask me. There are other variations that look similar and it seems like brands like Lucchese, Tony Lama, Rios of Mercedes and others come up with different variants of toe types all the time. We wrote an article on cowboy boots with different toe types here.
Alligator, Ostrich, And Rattlesnake – Oh My! All Types Of Different Leathers
Well, if you thought picking out what type of toed boot you need was fun, now it gets real interesting! When you would buy a pair of dress shoes, basically your choices are leather or what? That’s pretty much it if they are a pair of quality shoes. Running shoes consist of leather or it’s ugly cousin “pleather”. Not much of a selection and really there isn’t a need for it.
This is why I mentioned in the opening paragraph that cowboy boots are sort of a art form. I mean seriously, alligator, ostrich, rattlesnake, eel, are just some of the different leathers you can find in different style cowboy boots. You can practically get boots made out of anything these days. Some of it’s a little freaky if you ask me, but to each his own. I’m surprised Hannibal Lecter wasn’t wearing a pair in The Silence of the Lambs! Oh yeah, forgot to mention calfskin. This of course would be are most common type of boot and what you would see being worn by your typical cowboy. Here are some other materials that you could easily find though in case you are interested: alligator boots, snake, ostrich, lizard, eel, elephant, stingray, elk, buffalo, and the like. Haven’t you heard, exotic skin cowboy boots are in! I’m not that flashy of a person, so for me, I prefer calfskin leather. But hey, pick something that is you. Either way, they will be sure to be a conversation starter.
If you want to know more about comfort, check out our article on “Are cowboy boots comfortable“. Some really good info on a myth about boots being uncomfortable to wear.
Men’s & Women’s Ankle Boots – A Different Style Big On Popularity
Ankle boots have come on strong into the cowboy world in the past several years. Men love them because they are great with any type of jeans or dress pants. Your basic garden variety pair of cowboy boots were designed to be worn with boot cut type jeans and don’t work as well with different styles of todays jeans with a slimmer fit. For that I introduce you to ankle boots. Same as a traditional cowboy boot, it’s just missing the long shaft of a standard boot. You can see all the different styles of men’s ankle boots here.
When it comes to different style cowboy boots, ankle boots are no secret for the ladies. Tons of different styles, colors and leathers to choose from. Pinto Ranch has a ton of ladies ankle boots here and I’m sure you will find a pair or pairs that you’ll love. Not to mention many are always on sale.
Different Styles Also Include Heel Heights, Heel Types & Shaft Size
Besides the main differences in styles of cowboy boots that I mentioned above like toe types and leathers, there are also some subtle differences that you might not notice right away.
Heel height is one of these differences and it can have a big impact on a person. For the guys you can usually get anywhere from a 1 inch heel to a 1 3/4 inch heel and several sizes in between. There are also several heel types such as Cowboy heel, Fowler heel, Roper heel, Walking heel and several others for the guys. Some of these styles can have a big impact on a pair of boots.
The ladies have the same options in heels and probably a couple more to add such as a fashion heel, stacked heel and a very popular cowgirl heel. All of these different types of heels can give you a completely different style of boots. Also you can find several different heel heights for ladies boots. Anywhere from 1 inch all the way to 4.5 inches. Definitely a taller heel for the gals.
When it comes to shaft height, there are several different options for both men and women that can give you a different style of boot. As I mentioned earlier, there are you standard garden variety cowboy boots that you are use to seeing that have a 13 inch shaft give or take and your ankle boots that were mentioned above. Guys also have a boot with a little bit longer shaft but the ladies can go all the way up to 18 inches or so. Basically knee high cowboy boots that give a completely different style look than traditional cowgirl boots.
Are These Boots A No No? – Wear What You Want
When it comes to cowboy boots, you are gonna hear a lot of negative talk like “those are real cowboy boots” or “cowboy boots aren’t supposed to have laces!”, etc… etc… etc… Hey, it’s the 21st century. Cowboy boots have progressed over the years to fit the ever-changing needs and styles of the wearer. Most people will tell you that your cowboy boot must have a high heel or a Cuban heel with either a pointed toe or roper style toe. Don’t listen to these boot nay Sayers. Cowboy boots have come a long way and the traditional styles aren’t the only thing out there. Maybe you’re already over 6′ tall and don’t want a high-heeled boot. Maybe you like the look of laces. Maybe you don’t want the traditional style boot that goes all the way up to mid calf. Hey, it’s gonna be your pair of boots, get what you like. Your most likely not gonna be out riding the trail, so the traditional pair of cowboy boots really isn’t what you need.
To Sum It Up – The Choice Is Yours, Have Fun With It!
Pointed Toe or square toe, calf skin or eel skin boots, it’s great to have choices! Like everything else in life, make your own decisions and don’t let some outspoken critics influence your own taste. Cowboy boots have come along way and have drastically changed with the times in some instances. Don’t fear these changes but embrace them. Once you get your first pair of boots, it’s gonna be all that much more fun getting your second. Have fun with it.