From work boots that go straight from the box to the mud, to a custom made pair that are strictly for special occasions, there are nearly as many styles of boots out there as there are stars in a Texas night sky. With so many options to choose from, how can you be sure of the pair that’s right for you? Jennifer June, author of Cowboy Boots: The Art and Sole (www.dimlights.com), gives some advice on finding the perfect pair of cowboy boots to suit your style.
OUT ON THE TOWN
A night out or special event can often benefit from a dressier boot. This is a good time to try alligator, emu, ostrich, or less durable materials that can look more refined but aren’t as rugged as leather. A higher heel causes the foot to fit further forward, so you might try a half size larger when shopping for a dress boot.
For general walk-around cowboy boots, look for something a little less fussy. A simple all-leather boot goes with just about anything. Shorter boots provide less room for design and less protection, but are cooler in the summer and can be more comfortable. Look for a lower heel and a rounded toe.
If the classic look of vintage boots appeals to you, look for boots that were made in the 1960s and ’70s with subdued colors and a pointed toe. This is a timeless look that will blend well with today’s fashions. Try searching sites such as www.ebay.com to turn up some rare finds, and remember that a tall boot allows more room for a fun design.
A working cowboy needs function more than style. A tall boot protects from brush, bramble, and broncs. A tough, durable leather ensures dependability and longevity while a lower heel (about 1 5/8 inch) can still easily grip the stirrup.
REGARDLESS OF THE MAKE, THERE ARE THREE KEYS TO CONSIDER:
Set your boots down. Do they stand up straight or fl op to the floor? Lift it up and check the weight. Does it feel like a boot or a pair of sneakers? Most quality boots weigh about 4 pounds a pair.
Check the fit across the top of the boot. Since there aren’t any laces, the top of the boot should fit snug across the top of the foot. Try a variety of brands. Different brands fit differently, so if one store or brand doesn’t work, continue to shop around.
Know your materials. Exotic leathers usually don’t belong in the barn and rustic leather can clash with formal attire. Decide where you’re going to wear the boots most. The preferred style in most rural areas in Oklahoma and Texas is a round toe with a lower heel, while folks in urban areas such as San Antonio and Dallas currently prefer a pointed toe and a longer spur shelf to keep longer jeans from touching the ground.