How To Be A Cowboy: Western Boots

How To Be A Cowboy: Western Boots

The allure of cowboy style isn't hard to explain. It evokes a sense of independence, masculinity, and freedom. Here's what you need to know about the most important element in a cowboy's wardrobe: his boots.

Step 1: Pick Your Style

The classic cowboy boot is tall with a high heel, pointed toe, and decorative stitching. But these elements aren't written in stone. A lower heel may right if you're leaving your horse in the stable. A rounded or square toe boot is more comfortable-- and it's no less authentic. And while most boots are made from cow leather, rough-and-tumble alternatives include alligator, stingray, ostrich, and snakeskin.

Step 2: Go Custom

There's nothing more comfortable than a custom-made boot. If you've got the money- they run from about $350 into the tens of thousands-- then start your research. Many of the best boot makers don't advertise, so talk to boot sellers, look at western wear books and magazines, and pick your pro.

Step 3: Quality Control

A good pair of boots can last for decades. But you have to know what to look for. Boot expert Jennifer June says that good boots stand up straight on their own. Look for sewn-on soles and tight seams- no loose stitching or glue. Confirm that the inside seams are smooth. And the heel should be made of stacked leather.

Step 4: Find Your Fit

Sizes for western boots aren't quite standardized between companies, so try a few. If the heel is high, a little bit of "slippage" into the toe is okay, and should minimize when the boot is broken in. And keep in mind that cow or goat leather will stretch a bit, so pick a close-fitting size.