Best Cowboy Boots Reviewed & Rated 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, this style of footwear is still developed for the ultimate purpose of protection. Flimsy just won’t do here as cowboys need shoes which are rugged, tough and built to last through extreme environmental conditions and endure multiple workplace hazards.
Things may have changed a bit in the way of use for cowboy boots, however, many jobs today still benefit from a sturdy pair of such shoes. If you work with horses, on a ranch or farm, or just find yourself involved in hard outdoor work, this can be a great addition to your shoe collection. Even if you aren’t in any of these professions but just love the vintage style or a western look, there are many options and features that you will love and can help them become an every week choice in footwear.
- Ariat Rambler
- Duratread Outsole
- Corral Heart Angel Wing
- Combined Leather & Rubber Outsole
- Leather Lining
- Dingo Concho Strap
- Pigskin Upper
- Rubber Outsole
The following is a list of the top options of this type of footwear, all chosen based on quality, comfort durability and materials. No matter which of the models below you opt for, you’ll be happy to know you’ve made the right decision, and have purchased a pair of boots that will serve you well, no matter how you choose to put them to use.
10 Best Cowboy Boots
1. Ariat Rambler
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.
No swirls or paisley on this unpretentious boot, all leather with an 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 quite a bit. For tough cowboy boots, expect to pay more – the retail price of the Ariat Rambler is comfortable and at a reasonable price point, making these an excellent value.
Full Grain Leather Upper
Advanced Torque Stability Technology
Composite Forked Shank
Moisture Wicking Footbed
Not Work Approved
2. Corral Heart Angel Wing
You'll have trouble finding a pair of footwear as intricately designed as the Corral Heart Angel Wing. This boot will surely set you apart from a crowd, bringing you plenty of compliments, giving you boots that you'll love wearing any chance you get.
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 then it is an excellent value.
Distressed Goatskin Upper
Combined Leather & Rubber Outsole
3. Dingo Concho Strap
The concho harness adds a flare to these western-styled boots. They have added silver accents to the toe and heels, giving an overall classy look, making these just as suitable for day wear as they are to going out and use on special occasions.
These boots are available in a large variety of sizes, and even come in several widths to accommodate all foot types. From narrow to extra wide, you'll easily find the perfect fit. However, do keep in mind that they run slightly small.
Cost and Value
These boots run on the more affordable side of the price spectrum. The reason for this are the pigskin upper and the fact that they're imported, but you shouldn't worry about their quality - they are a well made boot that's got a lot to offer in terms of comfort and style.
Removable Concho Harness
Limited Color Options
4. Ranch Road Bahia
The soles are made of a microfiber layer that soaks in the moisture the boots are exposed to and keep your feet dry. This also prevents any odor and helps the sole to dry faster. There is also a slip resistant feature, paired with the ability for the boots to be re-soled if needed.
As mentioned, the leather the boots are made of is manufactured in Spain. They’re said to fit like a glove - and even form a light patina when worn. Though they can be cleaned quickly, and the rustic haze can be removed easily.
Cost and Value
These boots are top quality and are sold as so. They are on the pricey side but are worth the money spent. The finest leather, microfiber sole, manufacturing in Spain - these boots are well worth the price listed.
Steel Shank For Arch Support
Slip Resistant Outsole
Goodyear Welt Construction
Made In Spain
Shock Absorption Heel Cap
- Odd Calf Sizing
5. Roper American Beauty
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.
6. Ariat Legend Phoenix
The four-row stitching gives these boots a classy and twist to normal cowboy boots. They can be worn with anything - overalls, jeans, dress pants, and even a tux if you’re feeling up to it. They’re comfortable - the forked shank and square-toe adding to the style as well as the wearability of them.
The material that will touch your feet with the Legend Phoenix is soft leather that works great not just to cradle your foot, but also to protect from excess moisture retention that can lead to blisters or odors - things you definitely don't want while you're working hard.
Cost and Value
The Legend Phoenix’s are a lower, more feasible price. They are imported, but their price wouldn’t suggest so. The boots are presented as chic, sleek riding boots that look as good as they seem.
Appropriate for Work
7. Dan Post Milwaukee Western
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.
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.
All Over Mignon Leather
Supportive Stacked Heel
Roomy Round Toe
Easy On & Off
Long Break In Period
8. Ariat Gold Rush
The added suede fringe emphasizes how stylish and fun these boots look. They’re perfect for wearing when you’re out-and-about, or for when you’re working. The fringe goes all around the boot, falling in a pretty waterfall pattern.
These boots contain a forked shank, which helps stability. The sole is rubber, and is resistant against any liquids such as oils or acids. These features lengthen the wearability of the boots and protect them for longer.
Cost and Value
The Ariat Gold Rush boots are on the cheaper side. With they way they’re produced and manufactured, these boots are sold for less than what they’re worth. Made of leather and sporting the fringe, these boots are easily worth the paycheck.
Removable Wiggle Room Insert
Stretch With Wear
9. Ariat Sport Patriot
These Sport Patriot boots hold a unique pattern on the front of them. A camouflage pattern circles the top of the boot, covering the front and back. In the center is an American flag, all in shades of brown.
All Day Wearability
These boots have the finest comfort technology included in them. With a rubber sole to prevent accidental slipping to a full-grain leather foot, these boots will last long.
Cost and Value
These boots are priced within a practical price range. They are imported and hold a rubber sole. Adding the flag and camouflage details, they’re in a value and priced accordingly.
Made In China
10. Dan Post Raleigh
Lizard skin is durable and makes the boot built to last. The entire foot is made of genuine lizard leather, the pattern on the front showcasing exactly that. These boots are stylish and look like they just came from an old western movie.
These boots have a high selection of sizes. Narrow, medium, wide - all of these are available in a selection of colors. With a 14” opening, these boots are quick to sell. In addition, they will help those that struggle with wide calves and can never find a pair of boots to fit.
Cost and Value
Being imported and made from exotic leathers, these boots aren’t on the cheap side. The genuine lizard leather and leather sole add up, but it’s not a shock that these boots are worth it.
Will Stretch To Fit
Lizard Leather Upper
Not Full Vamp
There you have it, our top ten choices of cowboy boots currently available for purchase, ranked based on quality. The list was created with a few factors in mind, but often, shoppers will stick with a brand they know, especially for this type of western footwear (and general work boots for that matter). For consumers looking to try different brands, this list serves to guide enthusiasts in making an educated purchase. In addition, life deserves versatility and going out of your boot comfort zone can feel and look great.
For more information about what to look for in the best possible pair of boots, make sure to read the Criteria for Evaluation section below, as well as the FAQ part of the article which will give you some handy tips and tricks, all with the purpose of making your shopping experience more enjoyable.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Cowboy Boots
As with any other type of footwear, the way in which you care for your cowboy boots will determine not only how good they look, but also how long they last and how they perform the tasks you need them to do. A well cared for pair of shoes will always be more comfortable to wear, will avoid retaining odors, and will protect your feet. But caring for your boots needs a bit of extra knowledge and extra time. Make sure to perform your routine regularly, and it will be shorter, while your boots will be in much condition, regardless of how hard you make them work.
Most commonly seen in the way of material for cowboy boots is Leather. This can be 100% genuine Cowhide Leather as well as a variety of other animal skins. Each option will require a different type of care. While each has benefits that are unique they also may require intensive care to keep them in top condition.
Keeping your boots in great condition will add to the overall life and feel of your shoes. If you are wearing them for work you certainly don’t want them to crack and allow moisture and debris inside the boot. In addition, a broken heel can be very detrimental to the tough work you put your boots through.
Wearing your boots for purposes that aren’t work-related still requires exceptional care of your material. Often this type of shoe is quite expensive and you want them to continue looking great so you get the best bang for your buck. Take some time and think about how much effort you want to put in and the pros and cons of each type of outer material.
- Alligator: Alligator hide is exceptionally tough. Hence, one of the reasons it is a loved material for hard-working boots. Caring for this type of material is very similar to taking care of Cowhide Leather.
- You will wipe away any loose debris or dirt.
- You can use saddle soap if it is your preferred cleaner but be careful. You don’t want it to dry completely on your Alligator boots as it will make them more susceptible to cracking.
- You will then want to condition them with Reptile specific conditioner. This is specially made to treat the material correctly, ensuring your favorite footwear continues to look and feel great.
- You may also consider a non-silicone weather protectant to keep your boots safe from rain and other watery situations.
- Snakeskin: Snakeskin boots require more care and a skilled hand to be well maintained. While they look absolutely awesome they are exceptionally delicate. To care for these you will want to use a soft cotton cloth and only dampen it slightly. If there is visible dirt you can remove it with a soft brush. When conditioning this type of boot you want to use a conditioner that is specifically made for Snakeskin. Using Cowhide Leather conditioner can actually damage the fragile snakeskin. If you’re unsure of what to do, it is best to look for advice from a knowledgable source – either the retailer, your trusted cobbler, or even articles and how to videos online. Just remember to be gentle!
- Cowhide: Most of us are used to seeing 100% Genuine Cowhide Leather when we go to purchase a new pair of work boots. Known for its excellent durability and relatively easy care, most can see why it is such a good option. Knocking away debris and cleaning them with a good coat of saddle soap is pretty easy and you can shine them to any gloss you prefer. You will also want to use a good leather conditioner to make sure the material stays supple and doesn’t crack. It will also be easier to find weather protecting sprays or creams for this type of material than alligator or snakeskin. Taking care of this type of leather will ensure your boots always look and feel great. In addition, you will get years of wear out of them.
There are certainly other materials you may come in contact with when buying new shoes and each one of course has it’s benefits. Choosing what is right for you will come with experience in wearing this type of shoe. If you are buying your first pair, sticking to Cowhide will ensure you can take proper care of your boots with ease. As you grow more comfortable with maintaining shoes you can venture into different types and styles that may require a bit more elbow grease.
Spurs are predominately used for horseback riding, as a way to control where the horse goes. The small, metal tool is attached to the heel of the cowboy boot, locking in place. Spurs are not harmful to the horses – their spiked wheels aren’t sharp or dangerous. They’re simply used as a means of directing the horse into the direction they’re meant to go. Commonly horses respond to foot and leg pressure. As you train your horse, spurs can actually be used as a type of reward system. Thanking them for responding so well to your command.
Spurs have three main pieces:
- Yoke: This is the part of the spur that wraps around the boot and secures it in place. It is important to note that some spurs offer a strap that ties around the boot to help keep it in place others just rely on the tightness of the yoke.
- Shank: The shank sticks off of the yoke and is the piece of the spur that comes into contact with the horse.
- Rowel: A rowel may or may not be found on a set of spurs. This is the round gear like wheel that is sometimes attached to the shank. These can be used for quicker responses but should be used with caution on sensitive horses.
There are also many types of attachable spurs available in today’s market. They are typically meant for a specific purpose. Some are intended for lighter use and others are more hardcore. You must take the time to understand that just because you are wearing spurs does not mean your horse needs you to use them. Using the wrong spurs could cause harm or lead you to injury due to an unhappy horse. Let’s take a minute and look at the different types of spurs and their intended uses.
- Western Spurs: Western Spurs are typically used for the flashy wow factor. They are seen in silver and gold and while not needed often make a lot of noise. This type of spur may be part of an outfit but a trained horse will not need to be urged with them, they really are for show.
- Dressage Spurs: This type of spur is mandatory in advanced level riding competitions and have also been found to be a useful tool for young riders with short legs. The spur is typically a bit longer and will help short legs reach the sides of the horse. They will typically have a wheel with blunt edges. This is why these are most often recommended for advanced riders. Keep in mind the use of spurs is to help your horse fully understand what you are asking, not to cause harm or force them into doing something.
- Hunting/Jumping Spurs: This type of spur is used to cause the horse to have the urge to jump. These are typically quite flat and very blunt. When participating in this type of event it’s imperative that you practice and know what you are doing. Jumping your horse can be dangerous for both of you. The proper use of this type of spur will help you both to maintain your safety.
When it comes to comfort the design of your boot plays its part but so does the shape of the toe. Pointed shoes can pinch your toes and cause bunions, corns, ingrown toenails and general discomfort in the metatarsal area. When looking at boots made for cowboys there are four main toe shapes that you will run into.
- Square: The square toe 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. This adds to the comfort of your feet and allows a bit of extra room for your toes to wiggle and move naturally.
- Snip: A snip tip is a variant of the square toe shape, also box-like and square in overall shape. It is a narrower version of the square toe, with the edge coming to a distinctively “snip” like 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.
- Round: The round shape of the cowboy boot is circular, all smooth without any angles. This is a common toe shape and is used 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. These don’t look as much like a classic boot but do add extra comfort for the wearer. You will also not need to worry about painful pressure, blisters, or cramped toes when wearing this style.
- Traditional: 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 actual taper and tip of the boot is there 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How important is the heel height?
A: In any type of footwear, the heel is a major influencing factor. All of the cowboy boots on the list have a heel, at a very minimum, .25” or with some heavy lug soles maxing out at 1”. A crucial thing to consider as well, is that the heel needs to be made of rugged and durable materials, that withstand and endure long and repeated months of exposure to destructive elements.
Additionally, it’s also good to consider the fact that many men will choose cowboy boots because they add a bit of height. While the heels are never high heels in the traditional sense, but they do offer a bit of elevation. The most popular models will generally have a .5″ to 2″, so you can choose whatever suits you best.
Q: How important is decoration?
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.
Decorations or artwork on the exposed part of the boot is 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.
Q: Do I need to add spurs to my boots?
A: The answer to this really depends on the type of riding you are doing and your experience level. Some competitions and classes may require you to wear spurs while others may advise against it. You would need to look at your individual program for their criteria. Some horses are very sensitive and using spurs can be dangerous for both the horse and the rider. If you are an advanced rider and your horse is well trained, a good set of spurs can benefit both of you, again this depends on your riding situation and need.
Q: Do I need to waterproof my boots?
A: Depending on the type of material your boots are made of you may or may not need to waterproof them. Some manufacturers will treat their boots prior to sale and this is typically disclosed in the item’s information. More often than not, especially if purchasing boots made of cowhide leather, you will need to do some waterproofing. Due to the fact that this type of boot is intended for tough outdoor work, waterproofing will be essential to keep your feet dry and healthy. There are many great waterproofing sprays available on today’s market that are sure to suit your need regardless of the material of your boots.
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