A cowboy’s boots evolved out of necessity, guarding him against sagebrush, rattlesnakes, and saddle sores (and muddy socks!). Today, that same practicality has developed into a force of fashion.
Our testers included working cowboys and cowgirls, recreational riders, two-time NFR qualifying barrel racer Carlee Pierce, and 2008 PRCA World Champion Header Matt Sherwood.
Women’s Ruffstock (Style WRS 0019) from Twisted X is designed for the cowgirl who spends her days in the saddle. Its riding heel provides in-stirrup comfort, the thick heel rand holds a heavier spur, and the chocolate top leathers are soft for maximum ankle mobility. Our tester loved the rubber soles for work in the winter months and the soft leather that allowed for ankle movement in the stirrup. Best for: Breaking colts; $195, twistedxboots.com
Don’t let the sharp-looking black “cracktacular” distressed leather on these Macie Bean (Style 9019) boots fool you; they don’t just look good, they are good. Our Texas tester said the boots were comfortable in and out of the saddle from the moment she put them on. “The first day I wore them I was on my feet all day, and my feet stayed comfortable,” she reported. “And the black and brown leather goes with just about everything.” Best for: Chasing cans; $218, andersonbean.com
This Stetson Buckaroo boot has a 15-inch top to protect a cowboy’s legs from sagebrush, and our tester said the boot’s tough leather soles, “Really were comfortable to ride and process in.” The lower, “dogger” stacked heel is slightly angled to make walking and riding comfortable, and the lemonwood peg and brass nail construction makes them hardy for long days in the saddle in the Rocky Mountains. Best for: Day work; $280, stetsonboots.com
This Georgia Waterproof Wellington Pull-On boot (Style G4254) is built to handle whatever out-of-the-saddle beatings our Montana tester gave them, especially in the time of year when he isn’t quite ready for snow boots. The 100-percent Georgia Waterproof System guarantees that the full-grain leather hung tough through chainsaw and corral work. The Goodyear-welt construction rubber sole is heat, chemical, and slip resistant. Best for: Building hay feeders; $170, georgiaboot.com
Eye candy for Western fashionistas, these Southwest-inspired Old Gringo Lakota boots are hand-embroidered with a 4-inch toe and a 1-inch heel. Ernie Tarut (the “old gringo”) founded the company in 2000, after 30 years of leather manufacturing experience, and partnered with Yan Ferry and his 30 years of European design and boot-making experience. These handmade boots are not your average cowboy kicks.Best for: Cattle Baron’s Ball; $570, oldgringoboots.com
Sam Lucchese, the founder of Lucchese Boot Company, began in San Antonio, Texas, in 1883, first making boots for the U.S. Cavalry, and all the company’s boots are still made in the U.S.A. Brass studs like the ones on these Lucchese Style M5705 dress boots have popped up everywhere from runways to cowgirls’ tack. The hand-tooled overlay on the camel tumbled aspen vamp and quarter shows subtle Western flair, and the classic comfort of Lucchese is upheld with a soft leather lining. Best for: PRCA Ladies’ Luncheon and Fashion Show; $440, lucchese.com
It doesn’t get much more exotic than elephant hide. Justin’s AQHA Remuda Series (Style #8555) uses cognac safari elephant hide with 13-inch brown Jurassic goat tops for a boot that would hold up to cowboying from the African savannah to the American plains. The broad square toe is an all-business look that’s currently “in.” Justin’s J-Flex Comfort System features a leather-covered cushioned insole and triple-density insole board, giving them an already broken-in feel. Best for: The high roller suite; $410, justinboots.com
Can you tell our editors are into the wingtip style right now? Corral nails it with the black and bronze lizard hide in a square-toe in Style A1418. The black and brown leather makes this the perfect boot to go with any color suit (or black or brown felt hats), and the 1-inch heel is comfortable for walking to and from business meetings. Corral is known for well-crafted soles that fit like gloves from day one. These boots don’t disappoint. Best for: The boardroom; $322, corralboots.com
Anderson Bean’s Lochness Monster boots evolved from more than 150 years of tradition. These made-in-Texas boots feature a unique hide treatment and progressive look, while the channeled-welt construction on the leather insoles makes for a low profile. They have steel shanks for arch support and wooden pegs that adjust naturally to changes in temperature and moisture. As the leather sole expands and contracts with wear and weather, so do the pegs, keeping them securely in place, unlike a nail. Best for: Date night; $378, andersonbean.com
These Lane Dakota boots in distressed red, grey, and yellow are handmade with high-quality leather, with special attention to details in the stitching and inlays. The snip-toe design is in for fun nights out, and the short 10-inch shaft is perfect to pair with a skirt and leggings. Don’t forget Lane’s staple turquoise soles, which give the boots a pop of unexpected color. Their true-to-size fit makes shopping easy, and the soft insole makes them a comfortable pick.Best for: The dancehall; $330, laneboots.com
Cinch might be new to the boot market, but the all-leather construction of their boots is rooted in the handmade traditions of the company’s Texas factory. The channel-stitch base on these women’s Cinch Classic Caiman Wingtip boots with lemonwood pegging and RS1 (rubber) sole overlay means they’ll hold up longer than a traditional leather sole. And the caiman wingtip overlays on the soft goat vamp stand out from the crowd. Best for: Round 1 at the NFR; $480, cinchjeans.com
The Rooster Tail boot in honey brown from Ariat features the company’s ATS (Ariat Torque Stability) footbed technology, with a moisture-wicking gel footbed and heel stabilizer for support. The lightweight, ergonomic, composite-forked shank enhances stability and reduces fatigue, which makes for longer, more comfortable days. Pair that with the intricate embroidery on the boot tops and the distressed vamp leather, and you’ve got a boot perfect for all-day wear. Best for: Running errands; $250, ariat.com