Cowboy boots are back. But not all shoes that claim to be cowboy boots are counted in this fashion movement. We’re here to help you find the best cowboy boots for you. There’s a huge rift in the market for cowboy boots. The low end prices are filled with low quality synthetic boots that promise to be so much more.
This creates a huge problem of people wasting around 50 bucks on cheap boots. These break apart or prove unwearable, so you may as well be throwing money away.
There is a problem on the opposite side of the spectrum as well. The market noticed that people are willing to pay good money on high quality leather cowboy boots. This created a mass of overpriced products. You will notice that they claim to be the absolute diamond edition of cowboy boots, and they will ask you for hundreds of dollars.
Don’t get suckered into one of these two schemes. Instead, focus on what you really need in a cowboy boot.
Finding The Best Cowboy Boots
Before you find your perfect western foot companion, there are a couple things to keep in mind. We have compiled a checklist of 5 considerations to think about. Consider the following:
- Leather Quality - First and foremost is the quality of leather. If it’s synthetic, then check for the quality of faux leather. They will both be going for the same rubric. Good leather is smooth. It smells like leather. Bad leather will smell like plastic or chemicals. Good leather will be even. If there are blotches, that’s a sign that scraps were fastened together in a machine.
- Sole and Shoe Base - The best cowboy boots will have a smooth leather sole. They will be a little harder to break in than cheaper soles, but they are worth it in the long run. A cheaper shoe will have a rubber sole or some man made material. The base of the shoe should be well connected to the leather of the shoe, so make sure it won’t rip off easy. This is a very common problem in cheap cowboy boots.
- Width - You need proper width when it comes to western boots. If your foot is wider than the shoe it will stretch out the leather. Not only will it look bad while you wear them, it will fight against the stitching and morf the shoe into an uglier form. It will make the shoe look flat and loopy, and you will begin to lose support as well.
- Comfort - This is often overlooked when purchasing a pair of boots. Us impulse buyers are quick to make a snap purchase if the boots look cool enough. It’s not all about the design. Make sure these shoes are comfortable. You need to be able to walk in them for hours at a time if you plan on getting any practical use out of your boots. The best western boots introduce some sort of extra technology to make the shoe as comfortable as possible.
- Type - There are many different versions of the western boot. Perhaps you’re looking for the best cowboy work boots or maybe you want the most comfortable cowboy boots for walking. Either way there is a shoe that best suited for your needs. Keep in mind that a Roper is a smaller boot with a smaller heel, a classic western is the typical boot you are likely familiar with, riding boots are extra high and pointy, and work boots are almost no longer cowboy boots and designed for work.
Once you have an image in your mind of what you are looking for, you’re ready for countdown list. We have assembled the top 3 best cowboy boots for men as well as women.
The 3 Best Cowboy Boots For Women
In the spirit of western chivalry, it’s ladies first. We have compiled a list of the three best cowboy boots for women.
Best Cowboy Boots For Women
Best Cowboy Boots For Men
Winner: The Durango Women’s RD4100 Classic 11” Western Boot
The Durango Women's RD4100 is all around the best value of the three on this list. Depending on your size and color, the Durango will cost you anywhere from 50 to 140 dollars. This is much cheaper than what other leather boots will cost you.
The shoe comes in 7 different color options: 3 different versions of tan, 3 different variants of black, and a shiny wild red. It looks best in tan, but the blacks aren’t bad either. It is made of imported leather, but comes with a synthetic sole. The synthetic sole is barely noticeable since the boot is made of leather. It yields some advantages as a synthetic sole requires less time to break in, but true authentic boots require a leather sole.
The shaft measures 11 inches and the heel is about 1 and ¾ inches. This makes this a pretty standard womens western cowboy boot. Most reviews say that the boots run a little large. You can either wear thick socks while wearing them or invest in a pair a half a size smaller.
The general public seems to like the shoe. Most everyone seems to be extremely satisfied with the level of comfort and the quality of leather. They seem to be a great fit for those with wide feet as well as larger calves. There is no struggle for your calves to sit comfortably and the boots break into your leg very quickly.
It’s not the best pair of boots. The leather isn’t top notch quality and the heel is rubber, but for what you’re paying it’s an amazing deal. This is likely the best buy for most of you reading this article. If you don’t need to ride horses, but want a classic western leather look, this boot is perfect for you.
It will be more comfortable to walk in than a more authentic boot as well since the sole is synthetic. Just keep in mind that they run small, and that the boots come out a little darker than they are in the pictures.
Runner-Up: Justin Boots Women’s Classic Western Boot Narrow Square Toe Shoe
The Justin Boots Women's Classic Western Boot is the real deal when it comes to cowboy boots. Objectively speaking, on this list, these are the best cowboy boots for women. The Justin classics will cost you anywhere from 60 dollars to about 200 depending on your size and selected style. But if you want an authentic boot, this is the best deal you’re going to get.
The boot comes in 5 different colors. The first is the Cognac Damiana which is a dark brown leather with white stitching. Next is the Tan Damiana which looks green in pictures but is really more of a tan with white stitching. The third option is the Red Torino Cow. I’m not sure if you’re capable of pulling off red cowboy boots, but if you are these could be fun. The fourth is the black torino cow with black stitching.
The last one is my favorite which is the Saddle Torino. It’s a nice soft brown with white and blue stitching. These boots are just too cute. They look amazing and can go with with casual or even fancy outfits. If you go with the Justin Classics, I recommend buying this color and style.
The entire shoe is leather. The leather is better quality than the Durango, and extends to the sole. This does mean that it takes longer to break these in, but they are worth it in the end. These are a much more authentic boot.
They come with a long 13 inch shaft, and 2 inch heel. This makes them on the edge of the classic western boot category and close to the riding boot category. Almost everyone is obsessed with these boots. As long as they fit well, the buyer had nothing but praise.
If you are looking for the highest quality leather and most authentic cowboy boot for under 200 dollars then this is your best bet. But to be fair, for certain sizes, the shoe can go up to 220 dollars. Still worth it though. These boots are the best.
Alternative: Refresh Women Wild-02 Western Style Cowboy Boots
The Refresh Women Wild-02 Western Style Cowboy Boots are the cheapest boots on this list. Depending on size they will cost you from around 15 to 70 dollars. They are also the only pair of boots that are fully synthetic on this list.
I had to include just one, so you can get an idea of what a better synthetic boot looks like. It comes with a nearly 10 inch shaft with a 2 inch heel. The boots are fully covered in a synthetic brown material. It’s distressed and saggy in design, so it’s a little harder to tell if the product is synthetic or real.
These aren’t the world’s greatest boots, and you definitely won’t get far on a horse wearing these. But if you want a pair of boots that look amazing yet cost just a fraction of the price of the real stuff, than this is your best bet.
They’re not perfect. The front of the shoe is a little lifted as well. All in all, the shoe offers very little arch support. It’s not a wise decision of your are flat footed. They fit very accurately and don’t require much time to break in. The top of the shoe is very wide and loose so if you have extra large calves, this pair of boots will be ideal for you.
The 3 Best Cowboy Boots For Men
For the men’s section I will include one western boot for the 3 major styles. There will be one standard cowboy boot, one pair of ropers, and pair of sturdy western work boots. Make sure you understand the key differences.
The classic cowboy is the classic version of the cowboy boot, while the roper is smaller and more mobile version. The western work boot is an even more practical use of the western boot and almost no longer resembles the cowboy boot.
Winner: Ariat Men’s Rambler Wide Square Toe Western Cowboy Boot
The Ariat Rambler’s are top of the line in terms of a good quality western cowboy boot. For starters, the Ariat Men's Rambler will only cost you about 100 to 170 dollars. For it’s quality of leather, the price is amazing.
My favorite part about the Rambler is that it doesn’t try to be flashy. Asides from a subtle design at the top of the shoe, there is no floral and fire pattern that you usually see on cowboy boots.
If you like the idea of cowboy boots for their heel and their leather, but don’t like the unnecessary flashiness of some of the boots, then this is the perfect pair of boots for you. I honestly feel like this is the best cowboy boot on the market right now, and the public strongly agrees.
The boots do come in a little more ‘earthy’ and worn than they appear in the picture. Keep that in mind. These may not be the fanciest shoes around, and if you are trying to look flashy for a country wedding, maybe leave these at home.
But these boots are extremely comfortable. They invested heavily into their boot platform. It comes in a 4 step system. The top is a moisture wicking bed that provides your foot with long lasting comfort.
Under the footbed is gel cushioning built to withstand repeated shock. Underneath the gel is a composite forked shank that helps provide stability. And finally, the patented Duratread sole gives your boots a longer life span and the ability to withstand more.
You can easily wear these if you work outdoors as they are durable enough to withstand repeated use. Even women can buy these boots. Just figure out appropriate sizing, and you will find yourself with a pair of boots that can stand up to the needs of everyday life.
To me, this is easily in the conversation of best cowboy boots. It may even take the number one spot. Just know that these bad boys take some time to break in. They are more comfortable than most at first, but to gain maximum level comfort, they need at least a month to break in.
Runner-Up: Roper Men’s Basic Square Toe Western Boot
The Roper Men's Basic Square Toe Western Boot is the only synthetic pair on this list. It will cost you anywhere in between 60 to a hundred dollars. I included a synthetic product, because they do a decent job on a difficult task.
These boots are roper style, so the heel is less angled. It comes with an 11 inch shaft and a 1.5 inch heel. The sole is very flexible and you could arguably run in these. There are four different color and style option.
The first is the brown faux leather western stitch. They use faux imitation ostrich leather. Ostrich leather is one of the more exotic leathers out there. It’s easy to spot fake fake ostrich leather usually as they have a signature bumpy pattern. If the bumps don’t look smooth or natural, they’re probably fake.
The brown western stitch actually does an excellent job of imitating the leather. In fact, unless you work with leather or heavily research it, you probably won’t be able to tell it apart from the real thing. The top of the boot is white with a black stitching design, the faux ostrich is dark brown, and the sole is a light brown.
The next version is the black western stitch. I don’t recommend this one as the faux ostrich leather is not as good as the brown. For some reason the bumps just look more artificial on the black pair. The black pair comes with a dark tan top, and looks good otherwise, but the ostrich just isn’t good enough.
The third and fourth version do not use ostrich leather. One is the brown and the other is the tan. The tan is much better and looks like cleaner faux leather. The brown has a rather puffy top part, and this puffiness is one of the biggest indicators of fake leather. So if these are the boots you go with, choose either the brown western stitch or the tan version.
Alternative: Justin Original Work Boots Men’s Stampede Pull-On Square Toe Work Boot
If you want to add a little style to you work boots, then the Justin Original Work Boots are for you. They are going to run you in between 105 and 150 dollars. The work boot is meant for heavy duty work. They almost always come with a rubber sole built for traction, and the toe is always rounded to ensure more mobility.
Justin is the only brand to make it on both the men’s and women’s list, so it speaks to the quality of their products. There are 3 color options which are all different scales of brown: rugged tan, tan tail, and rugged tan cowhide. They all more or less look the same, though the tan does show some differentiation.
Justin has been making cowboy boots since 1879. That’s a long time. In that time they created their patented J-Flex Comfort System. Similar to Ariat’s this makes these boots extremely comfortable. In fact, you will be shocked that they are heavy duty work boots because of how comfortable they are.
They are made of leather, except for the sole, and come with an 11 inch shaft. The heel is small and only about 1 and a ¼ inches long. It features a square toe which is a little different than usual, but it is large enough to provide the same function as a rounded toe. The sole is very thick and strong. You could wear these if you were on the cleaning staff of a chemical factory.
If you are looking for a tough pair of boots to do some serious work in but wouldn’t mind a little western twang, then these are the best cowboy boots for you. These boots run a little bit large, so buy them a half a size small and then break them in with thick socks. There are some problems with the boot strap coming off, so check to see if they are properly fastened before you commit to them.
What are you looking for? You may want the best cowboy boots possible for under 200 dollars, but depending on what you want, this could mean different things to different people. Make a mental note of what you will be needing. How much will you be walking around? Are these for dancing and parties, or for work?
Do you want to sport something versatile and built for everyday use, or do you need something more specific? Whether you are looking for something to add to your wardrobe options, or a product to call your feet’s new best friend, there is a pair of cowboy boots for you.
Now it doesn’t have to be one of the three I listed for you. But if you were paying attention to the checklist and used it to analyze your options, you should understand cowboy boots a little better. I recommend buying leather, but there are good synthetic options out there if that’s what you’re looking for.
Make sure you check to see if the leather is good quality, and above all else make sure the boots fit right. What are you waiting for? Head online or to your local store and check out some cowboy boots today!