10 Best Cowboy Boots Reviewed & Tested for Quality

The cowboy boot is a piece of United States history, a boot designed for the purpose of guiding – and riding – horses. Though most cowboy boot fans probably aren’t galloping down a dusty stretch of land on horseback, wrangling cattle, the cowboy boot is still developed for the ultimate purpose of protection (as is with combat boots seen here).

Best Cowboy Boots-Cowboy riding horse

Flimsy just won’t do here, cowboy boots are rugged, tough and built to last through extreme environmental conditions and endure multiple workplace hazards.

Last Updated: August 14, 2017
by Daniel Gonzalez :

Our second update includes a frequently asked questions section, and info on the criteria we used in order to evaluate each shoe on this list. Some factors that came into play were decorative elements, the material or leather used in the boot, durability and outsole contruction. We’ve also included several relevant sources in which information was cited.

Featured Recommendations

Ariat Rambler
  • Ariat Rambler
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Duratread sole
  • Price: See Here
Corral Heart Angel Wing
  • Corral Heart Angel Wing
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Saddle Goatskin
  • Price: See Here
Smoky Mountain Denver
  • Smoky Mountain Denver
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Steel shank Insert
  • Price: See Here

The following is a list of the top cowboy boot designers and their top selling models. Based on the amount of online reviews posted, with consideration given to the quality of reviews posted, we have researched and carefully reviewed a top ten list of cowboy boots from across the web.

 

10 Best Cowboy Boots

 

1. Ariat Rambler

The Rambler Wide Square Toe Western Cowboy Boot lands the number one spot on the list, posting the largest amount of reviews. This is a boot built by a company that designs boots for “rodeo and ranching.” They are a simple and straightforward boot, available in two different colors.
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Fortified outsole
This square-toe full-grain leather boot sports a thick outsole that is tough and flexible. Known as the Duratread outsole, this Ariat boot also offers ATS Technology composite fiber and removable, gel-cushioned insole.

Clean Looks
No swirls or paisley on this unpretentious boot, all leather with a 11” high shaft, the Rambler also features Advanced Torque Stability with a composite forked shank.

Cost and Value
At a fair price point for any leather boot, cowboy boots in particular, these boots are a great value. While it is possible to find lower-priced options, you will be sacrificing comfort and quality. For any well-designed leather shoe product, be prepared to spend around $100. For tough cowboy boots, expect to pay more – the retail price of the Ariat Rambler iis reasonable – and comfortable – price point, making these and excellent value.
Pros

Mid-Calf Western Boot

Advanced torque stability technology

Composite forked shank

Leather

Cons

Might not be work approved

2. Corral Heart Angel Wing

These boots are distinctive from a traditional cowboy boot, not as wide, much longer and flooded with striking graphics and colors. With distinctive looks and quality craftsmanship, Corral Heart Angel Wing Cowgirl boots have amassed a huge fan following, garnering exceptionally positive and happy customer reviews.
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The Artwork
The background leather is a unique shade, a light honey yellow with angel wings, heart and a peace sign.

The Style
These are all-around sleek, the skinny cousins of a traditional heft cowboy boot. Bringing function as well as form, they hold up well considering they are also constructed with care.

Cost and Value
The cost is towards the highest on the list, the MSRP is firmly between the 200’s to 300’s - this boot represents a mid to higher cost cowboy boot item. The value depends on the consumer needs, if the shopper loves the motif than it is an excellent value.
Pros

Blue Jean Leather Inlay

Red Leather peace heart inlay

Heavily distressed antique saddle goatskin

Vintage Cowboy Character

Cons

Slightly higher priced option

3. Justin Stampede

The Original Work Boots Stampede Pull-On Square Toe Work Boot is more than just a long name, it is the third contender on the list, created by Justin Original Work. This one has the traditional cowboy flourishes, common on many cowboy boots. This is similar to the Ariat, except that it has the visual decorative elements.
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Stylish Elements
As defined by the company, these boots were built to offer wearers comfort and style. Featuring premium tan leather, the fancy dual-tone stitching ads flair to an all-around heavy duty performer.

Built for Comfort
These boots are designed to withstand long grueling days, a J-flex comfort system offers ankles and feet unparalleled support. The presence of a removable comfort insole allows the user the opportunity to replace if needed – lending to optimal boot comfort.

Cost and Value
These are a fair price, an affordable price, expect an entirely reasonable price. The Justin landed a spot on the top ten list due to the amount of reviews posted, Justin boots are a recognizable brand name and has a fan following. They are a great value at a fair cost.
Pros

Removable comfort insole

Rubber outsole

J-Flex Comfort System

Steel Shank

Cons

Runs large

4. Old West Trucker

The Trucker boot by Old west lands at spot number four, with a high amount of consumer reviews posted, it is one of the most-reviewed cowboy boots on the list. The design of this boot was meant to honor the “hardworking” and the “frugal.” The company mantra for this boot is “tough and affordable.”
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Made in Hard to Find Extended Sizes
These boots have extensive size options, making this a suitable choice for consumers that need precise fits or who can benefit from increased sizing options.

Rugged, Genuine Leather Upper
With slip-resistant soles and sleek leather uppers, the Old West Trucker is also available in three different shades: Black Cherry, Distressed and Black.

Cost and Value
These are also a good and reasonable cost, the retail cost is on the lower end, consumers are receiving a quality leather cowboy boot at the most affordable price point imaginable. These are a great value for the price.
Pros

Rubber Sole

Cowboy Boots made for the working man

Hard to Find extended sizes

Slip resistant soles

Cons

Imported

5. Roper American Beauty

These patriotic boots are a fan fave, and masterfully combine old west sensibility with a splash of United States History – complete with an American flag theme of red, white and blue. These are defined by the company as all-leather and all-American.
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Sturdy Construction
These boots feature a cemented sole, with a 7’ shaft. The all-leather construction guarantees that these will stand up to the harshest of elements.

Patriotic Flag Design
This is what these boots are famous for, besides a distressed and intentionally weathered appearance, the front of the boots has blue and white stars, the rear is adorned lovingly with the red and white stripes of the US flag.

Cost and Value
The average cost is lower-end, this is an entirely reasonable price. Especially if you take into account the distinctive flag design. This will appeal to a certain percentage of shoppers looking for patriotic- themed merchandise.
Pros

Flexible  Sole

Snip Toe

All leather

All patriot

Cons

One style

6. Durango Rebel

The Rebel Western Boot is the slightly more colorful boot, offering two-tone variant of the traditional cowboy boot theme. Both models available sport a contrast base and lighter shaft. Durango is a company that prides itself on quality Western footwear.
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Innovative Boot Options
Durango has brought enhancements to the basic western boot. With the addition of Comfort Core Insole Technology and SPR leather, Durango seeks to provide the best farm and ranch products to suit active lifestyles.

Striking Pull-On “circles”
Featuring circle cut-outs that ease the pull-on process, the Rebel boot definitely has a distinctive silhouette. The circles add a creative and edgy flair to the monolithic profile of the traditional cowboy boot.

Cost and Value
These are also reasonably priced, the cost is on the low-end to lower mid-priced range. The value of these boots is good, the user receives heavy-duty functionality and the cost is reasonable.
Pros

Comfort Core Insole Technology

SPR leather

Work-ready western boot

Classic embroidery design

Cons

Runs narrow

7. Tony Lama Apache

The Apache by Tony Lama is the highest priced option so far. The Tony Lama company considers themselves as “American as apple pie.” The signature of the company is an emphasis on the quality of the workmanship and materials. Proud to say that their boots are created out of quality ingredients.
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Stitching
These boots have flair, the Apache American cowboy boots is created out of bay Apache leather, exquisite stitching accents the workmanship, producing a fancy-stitched 12” coordinating leather shaft.

Made in the USA
The first entrant on the list that is made in the USA. This is part of the quality ingredients campaign launched by the company that promises the best materials used and USA craftsmanship.

Cost and Value
The Corral and the Tony Lama Apache’s are the highest priced options on the list as of yet. Both are prized models, from popular brands, and they are limited editions - the cost should be slightly higher, and they are. The reviews are solid for these boots, however, there are many entrants that also sell at this price. Tony Lama does have fan base.
Pros

Made in the USA

Walking comfort cushion insole

Bay Apache leather

Fancy stitched 12” matching leather shaft

Cons

Slightly higher price point

8. Smoky Mountain Denver

Offered in four different tones, the Denver Western Boot by Smoky Mountain is also widely-reviewed as a fan fave. These are a basic cowboy boot, no frills that are marketed as an affordable option.
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Tonal Stitching
The black option features black stitching on black leather, leading to a quilted type of appearance that is distinctive yet stylish.

Affordable Price
Designed by the manufacturer to be an affordable boot, the price of the Denver is extremely reasonable.

Cost and Value
The cost of this boot is average, making it the cheapest boot on the top ten list. For a no frills boots that is simply styled, this is a wonderful value.
Pros

Affordable

Quality Western Boot

Four different color tones

Western heel and toe

Cons

Synthetic Core

9. Dan Post Milwaukee Western

Dan Post is a hugely popular brand and customers have supported the company with a high amount of reviews posted, the majority of them favorable. The Milwaukee Western boot is distinctive on the list because eit has nine different color patterns available.
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Finishing touches
Dan Post takes the ordinary cowboy boot and adds tiny details that all lend to the final masterpiece. This leather boot has more than elaborate stitching, the shaft is supportive, trimmed with a scalloped topline.

Interesting Details
This boots also offers dual pull-tabs for the ultimate in convenience. Elaborate stitching brings noble western glamour and a stacked heel screams Western boot.

Cost and Value
These are slightly more expensive than average and is one of the higher priced boots on the Best Cowboy boot list. These are attractive and decoratively stitched, the cost is slightly higher because of the finesse used in producing these boots.
Pros

All over mignon leather

Handsome western embroider

Tonal embroidery on shaft

Pull-tabs on each side

Cons

Many shades sold out

10. Dingo Chopper Harness

The Rockstar of the bunch the Chopper Harness by Dingo is the only boot on the list with gleaming metal hardware and insets. The look of these boots is super distinctive, edgy and tough.
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All-day wear
These are built for comfort, the manufacturer wanted a boot that looks good and is comfortable enough to be worn the whole entire day.

Striking silver-tone hardware
The metal inset details the toe with a wing pattern, silver gleams against a black background and accents the heel and harness buckle area.

Cost and Value
These are at a low cost price point, for lower-end cowboy boot options, they are right on target, these are a decent value. It all depends on the type of boot that you are interested in. The silver on black motif might be too strong for some, there are many consumers that enjoy the cowboy boot with a Rockstar vibe.
Pros

Oil Resistant outsole

Comfort cushion insole

Decorative silver-tone hardware

Biker-style all-leather boot

Cons

Style might be too harsh for some

How to Choose the Best Cowboy Boots

Best Cowboy Boots-how to choose

The list was created with a few factors in mind, many shoppers will stick with a brand they know, especially for cowboy boots (and general work boots for that matter). For consumers looking to try different brands, this list serves to guide cowboy boot enthusiasts in making an educated purchase.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Cowboy Boots

 

Quality of construction

Best-Cowboy-Boots-construction

The quality of construction, an especially impacting overall factor would also include the performance of the ideal cowboy boot. All boots had to have basic design options incorporated that contributed to high performance or all-around comforts such as innovative lining or high-function seaming. Because the evolution of cowboy boots as a standard boot style traces back to work-related duties (farming and ranching) they have design elements built-in that reflects this specific work history.

The cowboy boot history is based on the pure function of the boot, something designed to withstand long hours in the hot, scorching sun exposure and the dirtiest of environments.

Type and grade of leather used

Best Cowboy Boots-leather

This is the second most important type of criteria that is actually so important, is such a valuable factor that is tied along with the quality of construction, which is the types of leather. The leather makes up the main part of the boot, with the sole, outsole and heel making up the other main part, the “bottom” of the boot structure.

Shape and height of heel

Best-Cowboy-Boots-heel

The heel is another extremely important consideration when evaluating cowboy boots. For the very nature of the rough and rugged constructed for a typical cowboy boot, this will ensure a stacked or reinforced heel. The heels of the evaluated cowboy boots have been evaluated, measured and compared, ensuring that all entrants have a practical height and streamlined heel shape that isn’t “clunky.”

Insole and outsole construction

Best Cowboy Boots-sole

Insole and outsole details matter – especially for dense boots made from seasoned animal hide. The cowboy boots, and soles, on this list, come prepared for long-hour wearability. Boots like the Justin Roper come ready made with enhanced features like dual-density midsoles and oil, slip and abrasion resistant outsoles.

Overall price across various markets

The price was a competitive factor in the boot evaluation process if two or three models had a good amount of similar features, also offered at around the same relative price points, then the cheapest one of the group – if noticeably different in price, would have an added value. In the case of affordability, that would be an influencing factor in landing the boots on the list, as well as nominating the product for best value, or top 3 boot on the list.

Strength and quantity of Wear Tester Feedback

Best Cowboy Boots-thumbs up

Online performance, reviews, and criticism weighed – these were the main factors used to round-up the best boot contestants from across the web. Boots that had a name on their own, offered at enough accessible locations to consumers and had an online following. The reviews posted were considered carefully, cowboy boots with the most-amount of consumer reviews, seen as a sign of satisfied (or unsatisfied) consumer boot reviews. In order to ensure the happiness of the purchase with the product, the quality of the reviews, amount of stars given, is measured against the total volume of reviews listed.

Brand name and reputation of boot manufacturer

Best-Cowboy-Boots-colorful-boots

Rounding out the bottom two criteria on the list could be HUGE influencing factors for some boot purchases. If looking for a specific Brand/Manufacturer, or in the case of the last qualifying criteria, like the style, then these criteria would probably be at the top of your list – the sole reason for your purchase. However, when considering a quality product from a reputable cowboy boot manufacturer, you should expect to pay slightly more, the boots are worth slightly more than a similar entrant from a company whose reputation has not been established. This will affect cost and value.

Decorative elements & distinctive style

Best Cowboy Boots-style

Style, is the last criteria used for evaluation on the list, don’t mistake the seemingly unimportant last place on cowboy boot evaluation criteria to not be a big influence in other occasions. Style – could be an extremely important influencing factor. Take for example the angel heart wing cowboy boot offering from Corral, if a slimmer, silhouette is your cup of tea, along with embroidered hearts and glittered wing outline stitching, the options for well-made boots crafted in this profile shrinks and shrinks. There just aren’t as many cowboy boot manufacturer’s dedicated to creating women and children’s cowboy boots. For good reason, initially, cowboy boots were developed for a masculine working-class audience. Even though the women’s and children’s options might pale in comparison to the men’s boot options, the brands that do cater to women and children have lovely options, well-made entrants, that are competitively priced.

Overall, just the sheer style of the boot could be an influencing factor in men’s cowboy boots as well, there are certain styles that are embroidered with high-contrast stitch designs that might be too theatrical for some. There is other leather embossed or woven patterns that involve metal hardware as part of the design or style. The style and looks of the boot could also be a non-factor depending on what the consumer is looking for.

 

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Many boot shopping consumers will have previous cowboy or western boot buying experience. Others may be new to purchasing cowboy boots, perhaps gift-shopping or purchasing a pair as a result of an employment related process. These frequently-asked questions serve to help and direct newcomers, as well as for seasoned cowboy boot buying vets, perhaps brush up on their cowboy boot knowledge. Consider the following guidelines, answered in this list, addressing common concerns and frequently asked questions/issues.

Q: What are the basic toe shapes of western and cowboy boots?

A: There are four main toe shapes, square, traditional, snip and rounded:

  • The square has a trademark boxy outline and perimeter, defined by a toe point that comes to a square and cornered point or tip, without narrowing too much in the process.
  • A snip tip is a variant of the square toe shape, also box-like and square like in overall shape. It is a narrow-er version of the square toe, with the edge coming to a distinctively “snip” like the end. The distinction is the narrowing of the toe, this is a style element that is not as common in today’s modern western boot. It is more common in older, traditional brands where this style element is preferred and sought after.
  • The round shape of the cowboy boot is circular, all smooth without any angles. This a common toe shape, this shape is common in a wide variety of boots and shoes – outside of the western or cowboy boot world. This shape is curvy and streamlined, the toe portion is usually indistinguishable from any typical leather boot.
  • The traditional toe shape is a variant of the rounded style, it incorporates a slightly sharper incline, a sharper dramatic slope that gives the rounded an arrow-type of feel. The slightly more chiseled design is common in today’s modern western boot. The slight and gradual combination of both rounded and square, is a popular shape both in toe shapes – and cosmetic gel manicures.

Q: How do the basic toe shapes affect or influence wearability?

A: The actual taper and tip of the boot were designed for a specific reason. As most of us have gathered, the cowboy or western boot was meant to ease long days of ranching and farming. Well, sometimes that involved horseback riding involving heavy saddle mounts and dismounts. The actual tip of the boot was developed to ease the transition into stirrups.

That might not be a needed, or necessary function for your intended purpose of a cowboy boot. These functional options, meant to enhance performance and usage, could also be a detracting factor if walking patterns are affected. If the taper and fit – is suitable for your pattern of wear, then that enhances the value of the boot.

Q: How important is the heel height to the shopping and purchase decision?

A: As discussed, the heel is a major influencing factor. All of the cowboy boots on the list have a heel, at a very minimum, .25” of a heel is present – with some heavy lug soles maxing out at 1” tops. Rugged materials of a long-lasting nature, that withstands and endures long and repeated months of exposure to destructive elements, is expected.

There is another additional cosmetic factor for cowboy boots, many men purchase cowboy boots for the added height bonus. They aren’t really high-heels in the traditional sense, but hey – guys now exfoliate and use custom, musky, deer-scented hair sculpting paste and beard color, so why not cowboy heels for guys. The heel of many of the top-selling models are targeted especially for their heel action, a heel of .5” to two inches is the preferred height of many cowboy boot fans!”

Q: What are the latest in decorative or festive western/cowboy boot gear?

A: Though there are many traditional and straightforward styles that are easy on frills and decorations, there are just as many options that have fun features like embroidery with colorful or exotic thread choices and fanciful patterns that allow the consumer to express themselves with their leather-heeled western themed wear.

A portion of the boot that is actually used like a designer signal from one participant to another like a logo emblazoned on the behinds (bottoms) of activewear or perhaps the top of a hoodie or exposed sleeve that is decorated with a glitter plant print. Decorations or artwork on the exposed part of the boot is actually a chance for many wearers to express themselves. From distinctive leather-tooling patterns, to colored contrast-stitching, sharing creativity through western boot artwork is a pastime for cowboy boot fans.

 

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Sources

  1. Evans, Andrew, Digital Nomad,, How to Buy Cowboy Boots, National Geographic Traveler, Mar 17, 2013
  2. Staff Writer, What Boot Are You?, Quizbone,
  3. Nina Fortuna, Whats Your Boot Style?, Gurl, Oct 03, 2012
  4. Jakki Francis, A Brief History of the Cowboy Boot, The Wild West,
  5. Antonio, Art of Manliness, Mans Guide to Cowboy Boots, Nov 20, 2014