Cowboy boots have their historical roots in Mexico and Europe. Originally used by vaqueros, the short and flat boots didn’t meet the rigorous demands of the profession. The current version of the cowboy boots can be traced back to Northern Europe.
The European riding boot was adapted by those who settled in Texas to meet a rider’s needs, especially when they had to stay in stirrups for hours on end. Narrow toes made it easy to get in and out of stirrups, and a high heel kept the foot from slipping. Cowboys could get thrown off horses or dragged for miles if they weren’t careful. High leather tops and reinforced arches made the wearer comfortable on the range.
Whether it is men’s cowboy boots or women’s the most commonly used material is calfskin as it is easier to work with. One can find cowboy boots made from exotics such as pigskin, kangaroo hide and horse hide. Some others include armadillo, shark, alligator, eel and snakeskin too.
Buying the perfect boots
There is no particular formula to buying cowboy boots. You will know whether the ones you try on are right for you – your feet feel good. Since most cowboy boots are handmade, they will all fit slightly differently.
- Keep in mind that different brands, leathers and styles can impact the way a boot fits. When you are out trying shoes, make sure that you have a pair of socks handy, preferably boot socks.
- It’s always better to try the boots standing up as the ball of the foot and arch need to be snugly enclosed and supported.
- Depending on the toe style you chose, make sure that you have enough toe room. You should also check if the instep is comfortable by pinching the leather with your thumb and index finger. Too much of a wrinkle and you have the wrong size.
- It is quite normal for your heels to slip a bit in the boot – if it is ¼ of an inch, it is fine. The reason this happens is that the boot is still new and has to be broken in. After a bit of use, the boot will fit snugly and offer years of comfort.
Cowboy boots have become a statement for men and women. The number of people working on farms has gone down quite a bit in the last few years, but the boots remain popular among a broad cross-section.