Reviewed: The best new boots

You can tell a lot about a man by his footwear. In that regard, cowboy boots and cowboys are synonymous—both are durable, useful, and won’t quit until the job is done. Here are 14 kicks that fit the bill.

American Cowboy Picture

WORK BOOTS

ARIAT
Payton Western (women’s)
The Payton has wrung the weak from pink. These kickers survived the sloppy stockyard abuse dished out by our Colorado cowgirl tester yet sprayed off and appeared “like new” in a barrel-racing competition that afternoon. “Ariat boots were too narrow for me in the past,” she says. “But these fit like a glove.” Ariat is known for its ATS (Advanced Torque Stabilty) sole-construction technology that incorporates gel, an ergonomic composite shank, and a moisture-wicking footbed. Best for: Dishing dirt $140 (style 10002362), 800-899-8141, ariat.com

DAN POST
Albuquerque (men’s)
In the Southwest, you can wake up to pushing snow, have lunch to sun, and be hit with rain later that afternoon. Waterproof and breathable boots are mandatory. The Albuquerque integrates a breathable waterproof membrane that effectively transfers moisture away from the wearer’s foot. “That morning walk through dew-covered grass usually gets through to my feet,” says our Texas-based tester. “In this pair, I did not feel a drop, and they kept my feet at a consistent temperature throughout the day.” Best for: Variable conditions $159 (style DP69681), 800-447-3533, danpostboots.com

DURANGO
Farm & Ranch (men’s)
Don’t let the dressy look fool you. The Farm & Ranch is loaded with workhorse features like Goodyear welt sole construction, double-stitched leather, and a patented suspension system that reduces foot fatigue. Our Colorado-based tester says he wore them from below freezing into the upper 70s and “my feet never felt too cold or hot.” He especially liked the sturdy traction and ability to get in and out of stirrups quickly. Cover it all in full-grain leather and you have yourself a nice-looking, hard-working boot. Best for: Long days on your feet $150 (style FR5280), 877-795-2410, durangoboot.com

ROCKY
Original Ride Roper (men’s)
Rocky boots are among the industry’s most comfortable work boots and, not surprisingly, are also one of the strongest in this year’s line-up. The eight-part sole system of the Rocky Ride is standard in the Original Ride 10” Roper and increases boot longevity without compromising foot support or comfort. Our Montana-based tester was nursing a foot injury and says that he has “never worn a more comfortable pair of cowboy boots.” He also remarked on the durable craftsmanship. Best for: 5-a.m. ranch chores $130 (style 1103), 877-795-2410, rockyboots.com

CASUAL BOOTS

BOULET
Style #0102 (women’s)
Boulet was commissioned during World War II to construct the Canadian army’s footwear, and each boot has been handmade in the company’s family-owned factory in Quebec for more than 80 years. Boulet was also the first company in Canada to manufacturer cowboy boots and distributes to more than 15 countries. Style #0102 features a wide, square toe with a Coruna York Cervo foot and a shimmery, distressed upper called Pitoncino Cream. The AC staff particularly liked the white piping and contrasting colored pull-tabs. Best for: Job interviews $225 (style 0102), 518-298-8602, bouletboots.com

CORRAL
Caiman Belly (men’s)
Corral Boots is a relative newcomer in the crowded field of boot manufacturers, but since the brand launched in 1999, it has sought to distinguish itself with superior lasts and a wide variety of styles and colors. With more than 400 style options, Corral is considered one of the world’s premier boot makers. Their Caiman Belly boot is handcrafted in Leon, Mexico, using the finest available caiman hide on the boot’s vamp with a cow- and goat-hide upper. Colors in this style include orix, antique saddle, chocolate, and chedron. Best for: Hooking onto a barstool $329 (style A1208), corralboots.com

OLD GRINGO
Derrotado (men’s)
There are about 150 steps in the construction process to make a fine pair of Old Gringo boots. All that attention to detail is evident in the Derrotado’s 4” long snip toe, with distressed leather overlay detailing and a weathered stack-leather heel. The significant rise toward the toe on these boots oozes bad-boy attitude, so if rockin’ a touch of attention-grabbing vintage fits your look, pull on a pair of these. Best for: Headlining at the Grizzly Rose $520 (style M373-4), 619-575-2810, oldgringoboots.com

TWISTED X BOOTS
Style WRS0016 (women’s)
We know that Twisted X makes a mean riding boot capable of withstanding nearly all kinds of abuse. Style WRS0016 adds impeccable attention to detail and subtle styling to the package, with a fashion-forward design. These boots are embroidered with a gorgeous two-tone floral pattern and red piping over distressed Bomber leather. But don’t be fooled by the pretty package—this boot is defiantly saddle-ready. Best for: All-around action $185, 888-894-2668, twistedxboots.com

DRESS BOOTS

LUCCHESE
Ladies Classic (women’s)
Lucchese is well regarded for its use of top-quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship. Each boot in its Classic collection is handmade in the company’s El Paso, Texas, headquarters using only premier exotics and leathers sourced from all over the world. The Ladies Classic Lizard Triad was an instant favorite of the AC staff thanks to intricate red matador-stitched leather, black-quartered lizard with a hand-distressed studded collar, and lizard overlay pull on straps. Best for: That knockout outfit $935 (style L4144), 915-778-3066, lucchese.com

OLD GRINGO
Guzman (men’s)
Yan Ferry and Ernie Tarut brought their bootmaking abilities and leather expertise together in early 2000 to create Old Gringo. Each pair of boots goes through a multi-step process that begins with raw leather selection and in-house tanning and ends with a final shine. The Guzman is one of the signature designs—hand-tooled, chocolate-brown leather with elegant details and a 1.5-inch heel. The AC staff particularly liked the hand-braided piping on the 13-inch shafts. Best for: Date night $800 (style M438-1), 619-575-2810,
oldgringoboots.com

RIOS OF MERCEDES
Style R9007 (men’s)
One of Rios of Mercedes top-of-the-line boots, the R9007 is constructed with full-quill “brandy mad dog”-colored ostrich and a patchwork top of calfskin. Rios uses all-leather components in its boots, including genuine, leather boxes in every pair, one of the few company’s to do so in the industry. Add a hand-pegged arch, a steel shank, and removable cushioned sole, and you have one comfortable boot. Best for: Hours on the dance floor $658, 800-717-1853,
riosofmercedes.com

STETSON
Hand-Tooled Saddle Vamp (men’s)
Stetson takes its boot’s interiors as seriously as the exteriors, using virgin cork in the forefoot for uncompromised comfort and longevity and a cow-leather lined interior for durability. What grabbed our attention was the hand-tooled wingtip overlay. The eye-catching waxy, gold tooling on a black background scored big points, while the vintage orange-leather vamp hollered “cowboy.” In our opinion, this pair is an excellent value for the price tag. Best for: PRCA board meetings $400 (style 12-20-8861-720), 800-825-6555, stetsonboots.com

Testing method: Our gear testers were sent cowboy boots to beat up while at work and at play. Each tester detailed the boot’s fit, durability, appearance, and comfort and then we tabulated the results to narrow down the top picks. For the dress categories, the AC staff had the pleasure of testing for fit, style, and comfort.

Comments

Thanks!

This is a great post! I've been looking for a new pair of boots for several months now, so this is surely going to come in handy.

You are spot on Tim.

I am a big fan as well. They are definite worth it. Looks good and last forever. The older they get they more comfortable they are.
Nice post!

Enjoy riding, fitness and my new Garmin 210.

Twisted X Boots

Twisted X Boots are by far the most comfortable, hard working boots I've ever owned - and I've had Justins, Noconas, Ariats, Boulets, Rio Mercedes, etc. etc. etc.

I clean stalls in them, train in them, ride in them and show in them. They make Ariat look like a cheap toupe - once you try a pair of Twisted X boots, you'll NEVER go back to Ariat or anyone else.

The kicker on the comfort of these boots is the fact that I have broken both my feet and they are very sensitive to any type of seam pressure on the inside of the boot. I bought my first pair of Twisted X boots (I have three pairs currently and am going to invest in another pair at the National Western Livestock Show In January 2012) and was a volunteer and showing at a mule and donkey show in Castle Rock, Colorado. I wore these boots for the first time the day I was at the show and was in them for 16 hours - I didn't have a blister or sore spot anywhere.

That says it all.

Old Gringo Guzman

I agree the Guzman is a work of art. You can find them at online stores (but many don't have them in stock). Boot Star has them at BootStaronline.com and in their stores. I like shopping local also. But if I'm going to buy online I like knowing they have physical stores also. It says something about who they are when thet choose to do business face to face.

Old Gringo

They may be a work of art, but they are the most unforgiving, uncomfortable boots I've ever worn. These boots are made for wanna be cowgirls and boys who don't train, ride, show or work in them all day. I ended up giving my $500.00 Old Gringos to Goodwill.

Awesome list!

All of these boots look great. Do you think they are available at all western stores?

Same ?

Yeah, has anyone found these through some online stores? I prefer buying local if I can.

Wow, I didn't realize there

Wow, I didn't realize there were so many different style of boots. This is a really good article.

Now, if I could only get my woman out of her beloved tennis shoes. She needs to expand.

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