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Western Riding Boots - Cowboy Boots

Updated on March 24, 2012

my love affair with cowboy boots

I spent almost fifty years riding horses, and in that half century, I went through a lot of riding boots. Since I usually rode Western, just about all my boots were Western riding boots. More specifically, most of my riding boots were what are commonly referred to as cowboy boots. I think I got my first pair when I was about three or four years old, and after that, I asked Santa for a new pair every year until I was a teenager. As a kid, I’d wear my cowboy boots just about all the time, or at least as much as Mom would let me. I’d howl when she made me take off my riding boots and change into dress shoes. Once I got interested in boys, however, and transformed from a tomboy into an actual female, my fascination with cowboy boots wore off, except when I was actually horseback riding.

I’ve owned all sorts of cowboy boots, and I’ve purchased all different kinds of Western boots for myself, as well as for my husband, my daughters, and my grandkids. When my girls was born, I was married to their father, a cattle rancher, so riding boots were big at our house. My kids started out with baby cowboy boots and graduated to kids’ cowboy boots and then to girls’ cowboy boots. By the time they were teens, they were still into horses and horseback riding, so they wore women’s cowboy boots. I’ll never forget the pair of red cowboy boots my oldest daughter wanted more than anything else for Christmas one year. I’ve gone through the same process with my grandkids, too.

My ex was a connoisseur of Western riding boots. He didn’t buy cheap cowboy boots, either. He wanted only the best, and he really liked custom cowboy boots that were tailor-made especially for him. He had several pairs of leather riding boots, of course, but he also had some made from exotic leathers, including ostrich cowboy boots and snakeskin cowboy boots. He had to have the matching belts to wear with his boots, of course.

Cowboy boots

Have you ever wondered why cowboy boots are designed the way they are? The typical cowboy boot has a tall shaft, a pointed toe, and a slanted wedge heel. These riding boots were specifically made for working with and riding horses. Their shape wasn’t designed for looks or fashion – it was designed for work. The pointed toe of the cowboy boot makes catching a stirrup easier, and it also makes it easier for the rider’s foot to slide into the stirrup. The tall shaft, of course, is made to protect the rider’s leg from the saddle leather. Even the heel of a cowboy boot is ingeniously designed for two purposes. The wedge shape gives the cowboy more traction in dirt or sand when roping an animal on foot, and the wooden heel itself helps hold the rider’s foot in the stirrup.

Of course, with all the different styles of cowboy boots today, you can find several different takes on the traditional cowboy boot, including boots with square toes, round toes, zippers, and short or extra-tall shafts. A wide range of construction materials can also be found in cowboy boots, including natural and man-made materials.

Other types of Western riding boots

Cowboy boots aren’t the only type of Western riding boots. For example, there are Western boots designed for general ranch work that have a shorter shaft and that lace up. These boots usually have a more rounded toe than do traditional cowboy boots. There are also stockmen’s boots, which look much like pull-on cowboy boots, but they have a shorter shaft and a slightly more rounded toe.

Another type of Western boot that’s really become popular in the last few years is the roper. Ropers are short leather boots that usually lace up. The toe might be slightly pointed or round, depending on the individual style. Many ropers also sport a kiltie.

Advantages of Western riding boots

You don’t have to be involved with horseback riding in order to enjoy Western riding boots or cowboy boots. My best friend hasn’t been near a horse in years, but she’s very fashion-conscious, and she sometimes wears a pair of expensive leather cowboy boots with her jeans. She gets cold easily, and she says the boots keep her feet warm. She also likes the way the boots look with her jeans. Western boots are great for many outdoor activities and can be worn while hunting, fishing, or just trekking through the woods. A good pair of well made cowboy boots are super tough and durable, too, so they’re actually a good investment. If you get a good pair and take care of them, cowboy boots will give you years of wear.

Most popular brands of cowboy boots

A lot of companies make cowboy boots. Some of the "old reliables" are companies like Dan Post, Justin, Frye, Tony Lama, Laredo, Dingo, and Durango. At the top end of the scale are Lucchese cowboy boots, which are usually expensive. Another extremely popular choice is Ariat boots. Of course, you can also find really cheap cowboy boots in stores, but you often "get what you pay for." A lot of cheap cowboy boots are made with inferior materials, so they won't hold up nearly as well as boots that are well made. Below are some discount cowboy boots for sale, including some of the top brands. Click on any of the boots to see more selections.

Discount cowboy boots for sale:

Kids' Probaby Western Boot
Kids' Probaby Western Boot
Ariat boots - pink cowboy boots - baby cowboy boots.

How to choose a pair of cowboy boots:

Ariat boots:


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