The Top Reasons to Wear Cowboy Boots
Other than the hat, cowboy boots have historically been an iconic symbol and recognized wearable for the cowboy or cowgirl. This good-looking boot can be dressed up and dressed down as you like, meeting the needs for everyday wear to formal attire—and everything in between. But they are so much more than just a style. They were an essential part of life for cowboys in the Old West and frankly, still are in today's modern world.
Cowboy Boots Through History
There are quite a few tall tales, myths, and legends about the original cowboy boot. Some historians trace the original boot style to Genghis Khan with evidence that he may have worn characteristic red boots with a wooden heel.
Others believe the Western-style boot started with the First Duke of Wellington, who wore a distinctive leather boot known as the Wellington boot—the style you see in equestrian fashion today. The heavy migration of Europeans into America in the 19th Century included riders who wore their own Wellington boots. Since the Wellington boot was so easy to make, it became the staple design for Civil War soldiers.
The Old West era soon emerged, which lead to the evolution of today's cowboy boots. In some cases, traditional designs have changed so minimally that you could be wearing cowboy boots in the exact style as a cowboy from the 1880s!
Cowboy Boots Are Functional
Before the industrial revolution, early cowboy boots were simple to design and make. They were affordable for ranch workers and farmhands, making them practical too. Cowboy boots offer these functional benefits:
- Cowboy boot toe shape matters—a rounded, square, or pointed toe makes it a breeze to slip a foot in and out of a stirrup.
- The cowboy boot heel provides an easier hold in the stirrup, keeping the rider’s foot in place, and of course, the lack of laces means cowboy boots are less likely to get pulled off by having something catch in the lace.
- Western boot heels have evolved over the years to better adjust to modern needs. A wide range of heel options are available today, ranging from a high under-shod bulldogging heel to the lower, flatter heel of the roper or stockman style boots.
- Because most riders had to—and still must—navigate their way through brush, bushes, tumbleweeds, cacti, and more, the tall boot shaft was ideal to keep a rider's legs protected from thorns, branches, and even snakes.
Cowboy Boot Myths, Debunked
Don't believe the myths still out there floating around about cowboy boots, either! Here are some of the most common tall tales about cowboy boots—and the realities.
Cowboy Boots and Foot Health
Myth: Cowboy boots are uncomfortable or bad for your feet
Reality: False! Properly fitted, modern cowboy boots will not harm or hurt your feet, and innovations in footwear technologies can help reduce high-impact foot strain all while wearing a pair of stylish boots!
Footwear technology and cowboy boot design has changed as drastically as how the cowboy handles his business. Modern-day advancements in foot support, sole design, cushioned insoles, and odor-resistant fabrics can make a pair of cowboy boots better than a pair of fancy running shoes!
- Tall shaft (sides of boot) protects the wearer’s feet, ankles, shins, and calves from the environment and the elements
- No laces means no injuries due to laces getting caught in stirrups or saddles
- The cowboy boot heel elevates the heel of the foot, shortening the Achilles tendon, reducing strain and decreasing foot pain
Cowboy boots are versatile enough to be worn for:
- Work boots
- Daily walkabout boots
- Formal wear
- Casual wear
- Dancing footwear
- Outdoor sport footwear
Cowboy Boot Longevity
Myth: Cowboy boots don’t last long
Reality: False! How they're used, worn, and how they are cleaned and cared for can make a pair of cowboy boots last for years!
There's no shame in loving a little extra height (and confidence) that comes with wearing cowboy boots. A proper pair of boots can give you a little boost—no matter who you are—to face your day fully! Cowboy boots are a unique, undeniable iconic American statement that never goes out of fashion! Explore our blog for more Western wear tips and inspiration.