How Should Cowboy Boots Fit? A Step by Step Guide

Cowboy boots should fit comfortably and snug around the feet. Your toes need to wiggle freely, while the heel and ankle don’t feel suffocated or left with too much room. The boot is supposed to hug your feet—not too tightly or loosely.

The question “How should cowboy boots fit?” has disturbed many individuals—both new and seasoned boot owners. The answer is as simple as understanding how to choose the right pair and knowing what to look for.

When looking at how cowboy boots should fit, we look at the following:

  • Understanding the sizing of cowboy boots.
  • Finding your cowboy boot size.
  • How cowboy boots should fit.
  • Important cowboy boot features to consider.
  • How should cowboy boots fit your ankle?
  • Types of cowboy boots.
  • Consequences of wearing the wrong cowboy boot size.

How Should Cowboy Boots Fit?

Finding Your Cowboy Boot Size

When it comes to picking cowboy boots, finding the right fit takes precedence over all the other considerations. That’s because a good fit will result in maximum comfort, which is extremely important—your feet will thank you for it. The following cowboy boots fit guidelines should help you make the right choice when shopping for a new pair.

Unlike your other shoes, cowboy boots fit differently and their design is unique. Therefore, it’s not advised to use your standard shoe size as a measure for acquiring the right cowboy boots. You might end up with boots that are too big or small.

To be on the safe side, start by measuring your foot size (in inches or centimeters) and compare it with the standard cowboy boot sizes. Get a piece of paper, step on it and draw around your foot. Be sure to get accurate measurements by covering the longest and widest points of the foot.

The measurements should give you an idea of your foot type. This should be done before you buy any new pair to keep track of any growth.

Men’s Boots Width Sizing

  • B: Narrow.
  • D: Average/Medium.
  • EE: Wide.
  • EEE: Extra Wide.

Ladies’ Boots Width Sizing

  • A: Narrow.
  • B: Average/Medium.
  • C: Wide.

Apart from the size chart difference, manufacturers also use designs to distinguish between male and female cowboy boots. For instance, some brands produce boots with fashionable heels (2 inches) and offer more toe shape varieties for women.

How Should Cowboy Boots Fit?

For the ideal fit and maximum comfort, you must note how the boot feels on different parts of your feet when trying them out. Starting with the heel area, check the toes, ankles and calves too. They shouldn’t be too tight or loose, whether you’re just sitting, standing or even running.

Important Cowboy Boot Features to Consider


This part of the boot covers the top of your foot and holds it in place, so it needs to be snug. It’s important to ensure your feet are comfortable and in place, considering cowboy boots don’t have laces.


This is the widest part of the foot that you bend while walking or running. It should fit perfectly with the widest part of the sole of your boot. Any slight mismatch could affect your feet and its movement in a big way. So instead of harming your feet, you’re better off finding another cowboy boot.


How should cowboy boots fit in the heel? Firstly, new cowboy boots are known to slip slightly at the heel.

There’s an extra ¼ or ½ inch slippage, which shouldn’t worry you because it usually goes away with time when the leather softens. In fact, no slippage means the boots are too small for you. Get bandaids or blister pads to cover the heels in the beginning, and you will be okay once you wear them in.

Toe Space

Different people have varying toe shapes. Fortunately, cowboy boot manufacturers understand this, and they try to accommodate the diverse toe structures in their boot designs.

As a customer, you can identify the boots with the best toe space by simply wiggling your toes while inside the boots. If they move freely then you have yourself a comfortable pair of cowboy boots.

Heel Lift

This is the space between the insole of the boot and your heel. It plays a significant role in providing comfort in the feet. However, the space shouldn’t be more than an ⅛ of an inch. Any figure above that means the boot is big, while anything below means the boot is small.

new cowboy boots

Pro Tips

  • When trying on new cowboy boots, know that your socks can add half an inch to your foot size. It’s important that you use your boot socks, as they’re custom-designed to reduce slipping and are more comfortable around the calf. They absorb moisture too.

  • If your foot size falls between two boot sizes, go for the larger size.

  • For those with narrow feet that can’t find narrow boots, go for a half size smaller than your normal size.

  • If you have wider feet but can’t find wider boots, pick half a size larger than your regular size.

  • Anybody with feet of different sizes should consider going for boots that fit the larger foot. Make sure you try on both boots.

  • Feet tend to swell during the day. Therefore, it’s best to try on boots in the afternoon.

  • The popping sound heard when you’re putting the boots on for the first time is a good indication they will fit.

  • If you use insoles or orthotics, be sure to bring them along when you’re trying on new boots.

Types of Cowboy Boots

  1. Classic Western Boot

This type of cowboy boot is designed with a 1.5-inch angled heel meant to make sure you stay firmly in the saddle. Compared to the traditional riding boots, the classic westerns are easier to not only ride in but also walk. Plus, the unique design of the toe box will protect your toes should a horse step on them.

  1. Stockman

Stockman is an upgrade of the traditional western cowboy boots that were mainly for horse riding. For starters, it has a very short and wide heel. However, it is the deeper scallop and detailed, stylish stitching that set it apart from other cowboy boots.

  1. Buckaroo

Do you want a pair of cowboy boots that will make heads turn? Get some buckaroo boots—they won’t disappoint. If it’s not the long shaft that stretches close to the knees, it’s the detailed stitches or deep scallops that are hard to miss.

  1. Western Work

Western work cowboy boots are not as sophisticated as the other boots listed here. The heel design is similar to those found on the roper. The toe space, on the other hand, is mostly rounded, while the shaft ranges between 9 to 12 inches.

  1. Ropers

Ropers were designed mainly for rodeo cowboys. Their simplistic design makes them easy to walk in. They have one of the lowest heels among cowboy boots, a round toe shape and a flexible sole. If you’re looking for quality ankle support, ropers are your ideal boots.

stylish cowboy boots


Consequences of Wearing the Wrong Size Cowboy Boots

Apart from the discomfort of walking around with boots that don’t fit properly, you risk the following complications:

  • Neuropathy—when your feet feel numb from wearing ill-fitting boots. The condition is very risky and could be irreversible.
  • Foot deformities like calluses and hammertoes.
  • You could sprain your ankle.
  • Ingrown toenails—when a toenail starts growing into your skin, it could lead to an infection that affects the toe and leg severely.

Watch out for signs like blisters, bruising on the toenails, skin irritation around the toenails or toenail loss. If you notice any of them, then it’s likely time to shop for new boots.


How To Tell If Cowboy Boots Fit Right?

If the heel doesn’t sleep more than half an inch, it feels comfortable around the ankles, your toes have sufficient room to wiggle, and the instep just fits perfectly, then you’ve found the right boots for your feet.

Should You Buy Cowboy Boots a Size Bigger?

The best size cowboy boots to buy are the ones that fit your feet perfectly. Whether you size up or not depends on the width of your feet and the brand of boots.

Cowboy boots that are too big will be too uncomfortable to walk around in because they won’t be able to contain your feet. Plus, considering the boots loosen up after wearing them for a while, they are likely to get even bigger.

How Long Does It Take for Cowboy Boots to Break-In?

Depending on the stiffness of the leather and how often you wear the boot, it could take between one week to a month for the cowboy boots to break in. Use bandaids and blister pads to protect your heels during this period.

Is Water Bad for Cowboy Boots?

Cowboy boots are made from quality leather, so they are waterproof to an extent as long as they’re treated. However, don’t take this to mean that you shouldn’t care for your boots, especially in rainy weather. Keep your boots clean, well ventilated and dry if you want them to last.

Ride ‘Em Cowboy!

Cowboy boots are timeless, functional and highly reliable. Get yourself the perfect fit, and you have the ideal boot for walking on the farm, horse riding and dancing, too.

How should cowboy boots fit, though? Whether you’re getting your first or fifth pair, these guidelines should help you pick the right fit with ease.

You can confidently walk into any store and shop for your favorite cowboy boots. You’ll know exactly what to look for and how to determine what works for you.


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