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A Guide to Western Boots

Western boots have always been known as a bold fashion article that can either gloriously make or terribly break an ensemble. Perhaps that clear line is what holds back most men from wearing them and that’s completely reasonable. Wearing cowboy style men’s boots can seem daunting but don’t let that stop you. All it takes is a little confidence and some background to pull off that cowboy vibe.



The term western or cowboy boots came to be as they were literally worn by cowboys, predominantly in the western American states where livelihood and culture include cattle work, a lot of horse riding, and rough terrains.


The Cowboy Boot Style

The western boot’s design is primarily of function, durability, and safety. There may be different varieties of western boots nowadays but they usually share the same basic characteristics. Understanding these can make you easily work out a wardrobe.


  • No shoelaces. Imagine being a cowboy, riding a horse, and for whatever reason, you fall off but the horse still runs. If your foot gets stuck in the stirrup, just kick the shoe free so you wouldn’t get dragged. Laces can hinder removing the shoe and may get caught in the stirrup, increasing the risk of getting dragged.
  • High shaft. Western boots usually have shafts 10 to 14 inches high. This is basically to protect the legs from rocks, bushes and thorns, and from rubbing off the stirrup leathers. A high shaft also secures the boot in the absence of lacing.
  • Underslung heel. Men’s cowboy boots have heels ranging from 1 to 2 inches. Taller heels are useful in securing the feet in the stirrups during horse rides. Lower heels like in ropers are more ideal for work boots.
  • Toe shape variations. Traditional western boots have narrow toes to help slide easily in and out of stirrups when getting on or off a horse. Round toes were developed to address western boots as work shoes and the square and snip toes were designed later for modern fashion.



Men don’t have to be actual cowboys to wear cowboy boots. Although we’ve seen a lot of celebrities sporting western boots in a variety of outfits including formal wear, western boots are more suitable for social wear than business dress shoes.

The thing with western boots is that wearing them has to be well thought of to display good taste and style. Otherwise, it may end up like a costume. For those who haven’t gone the hang of wearing cowboy boots and other types of western boots, it’s recommended to limit wearing them with other western/cowboy outfits. Wear your pair with these instead:


  • Jeans. Denim is the best pants fabric to match western boots. The typical blue wash jeans may work fine, although darker colour denim works better. Match your shoes with straight or bootcut so they’re not too fit that the boots bulge from underneath or too loose defeating the purpose of making a statement. Make sure the legs are not too long nor too short. Ankle length is perfect.
  • Collared shirts. Wearing western boots in 2018 carries an implication that you’re going for a sharp style statement. A good old t-shirt may not pull this off exactly as it may undermine the western boot effect. A crisp collared shirt, on the other hand, is perfect. Go for plain colours or simple patterns and keep it minimal with loud prints and plaids.
  • Jackets. Leather and denim jackets are easily a good match to balance an outfit with western boots. For dressier jackets, opt with lapels.
  • Belts. Add a little more western accent to your outfit with a belt with a casual decorative buckle. Keep the accent subtle and do go full cowboy with a stallion buckle and snakeskin, unless you’re really aiming for full cowboy.


Now take a deep breath and check out western boot stores for your pair. Keep in mind to check the material, make sure the fit is perfect, and whatever clothes you plan on wearing them with, pull them off with your inner cowboy confidence.

For top quality brands from the USA and Europe, you may always take a look at Western Boot Barn’s extensive list of available options and great deals.

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