What makes a cowboy boot?

Cowboy boots have a very distinctive look. They were originally built for practical purposes not fashion. How things have changed over the years.

Traditional cowboy boots were made for the cowboy who spent most of his day in the saddle. And almost every aspect of their design was to make them safer and life easier for the cowboy.

All cowboy boots followed the same design principals

A slight point to the toe made it easier for horsemen to put their feet in and out of the stirrup while mounting and dismounting. The extremely pointed toe that is often seen in today's cowboy boots is a modern adaptation that appeared around the 1940's and serves no functional purpose at all.

High heels that sloped under the foot helped to prevent the foot from slipping through the stirrup and getting caught whilst in the saddle. The slick, treadless leather sole allowed the boot to easily come free of the stirrup. The high reinforced arch also made standing in the stirrups less strenuous.

The tall leather shaft had multiple purposes

Cowboy boots had a tall leather shaft to protect the leg from chaffing from the saddle, brush and thorns whilst in the saddle and when out of the saddle the high shaft protected the leg and foot from rocks, brush, thorns and snakes. The high top also prevented water or mud filling the boot when crossing a creek.

The tall shaft was loose fitting with no lace so the horseman's body weight could easily pull the foot from the boot if the horseman became dismounted and his boot stuck in the stirrup.

Early boots were made from plain leather but as custom boots were made decorative stitching was added at the cowboys request. Although traditionally made of cow hide, cowboy boots have been made from just about every animal whose skin can be made into leather including alligator, snake, ostrich, elephant, sting ray, elk, armadillos, lizards, buffalo and sharks.

Cowboy boots a direct descendant of North European riding boots

The cowboy boot was a practical boot and a direct descendant of the Northern European riding boot. This may be the only contribution the European settlers made to the essentially Spanish tradition of working cattle from horseback.

The cowboy boot was build for practical purposes. For a life on the horseback. Cowboy boots were not comfortable or practical to wear when on the ground. They were particularly hard to run in.

For this reason in more recent times cowboys tend to change into sneakers or a boot called a roper when they are not in the saddle. A roper has a round toe, a low heel, and a softer more flexible sole.

Cowboy boots are now a fashion item

Today very few people spend the majority of their day on horseback, even the rancher's day is no longer spent predominantly in the saddle. As a result cowboy boots are now mainly a fashion item.

Dan Post Cowboy Boots

Dan Post Boots Mignon R Toe (Men's) - Antique Tan

Dan Post Cowboy Boots are sleek & stylish - they look good enough to wear anywhere, and they're comfortable enough to wear all day long!

See more Dan Post Cowboy Boots here.