The Best Cowboy Boots in the West: How to Find It

Old pair of cowboy boots

Nothing symbolizes the rugged individual of the Old West better than cowboy boots, a specially- designed laceless riding boot that is part and parcel of the cowboy’s standard attire. More than just a mere fashion statement, the boots are also very functional especially during long rides on horseback over rugged terrain. Their durability is so well-known that cowboys still wear them when they work the ranch.

How to Find the Best Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots are durable, but how do you know you’re buying the best? Here are a few things you need to look for if you want to buy the best cowboy boots for men in the boot shop, according to A.A. Callister.

1. Design

There are two standard designs used for cowboy boots:  the Classic and the Roper. The Classic design’s main characteristics include a tall boot shaft (minimum height is mid-calf) and an angled heel that is at least 1 inch high. One common variant (“walking” boot) is characterized by a slightly shorter, yet still angled heel. This heel ensures that the cowboy’s foot does not slip and cause injuries while placed in the saddle’s stirrups. The choice of heel height would depend on the amount of riding you do. The toes of this boot design have traditionally been rounded or squared, with the pointed version coming out in the 1940’s.
The Roper design is mainly characterized by its shorter boot shaft (still above the ankle, but below mid-calf) and a flat, low (less than an inch), and squared-off heel. This design is very functional for the cowboy who would like to dismount from his horse more quickly while still maintaining safety during the ride. The toe of this boot design has traditionally been rounded.

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2. Material

The traditional material of choice for cowboy boots has been cowhide leather, which was abundant and widely-used in the Old West. This material is also quite strong and sturdy in all types of terrain and weather, befitting the rugged lifestyle of the working cowboy. Other materials sometimes used are reptile skin (snake, lizard, alligator, etc.) and other exotic animals like ostriches and even elephants, but these were more for fashion and to symbolize status.


Cowboy boots are both functional footwear as well as recurring accessories of fashion. Whatever your purpose of buying cowboy boots, make sure you know what to look for when it comes to authenticity. Better yet, consider shopping for these at a store that has a good reputation for authentic cowboy equipment.