A Guide to Cowboy Boot Styles

Who says you have to be a full-time cattle rancher or a line-dancing enthusiast to rock cowboy boots? This iconic footwear has been a fashion statement for years, transcending the boundaries of time, style, and origin. The more it entered the mainstream, the more varieties and adaptations have come onto the scene.

Since they’re the most recognisable piece of modern country wear, there’s a certain aesthetic appeal that comes with these rugged yet fashionable shoes. They’re not overly flashy and go well with various outfits – whether you’re looking for a more casual, laid-back look, or something more formal.

What Are the Different Types of Cowboy Boots?

Since western fashion has a multitude of inspiration points, there’s certainly no shortage of options for the modern trendsetter. The root distinction among each one is the type of style they each represent.

Traditional Western

When you think of tough and durable cowboy boots for sale these are perhaps the first thing that comes to mind. Their original design was supposed to withstand the harsh terrain and climates of the American West, but have since been adapted for fashion. Characterised by a low heel, wide toe box, and an intricate design, these boots have become a timeless classic.

The way the stitching and leather are crafted can have a massive impact on the overall look, with detailed patterns ranging from subtle to bold. Some of the classic examples include rigid lines, ornate fish scales, and a smooth, tight finish. The end result is a boot that looks both rugged and stylish – just what you need for your country wardrobe.


As a slightly more subtle variety of country boots are the ropers with a more casual look and a lower heel than traditional western boots. They are most commonly seen with a plain black or brown leather design and don’t have the intricate designs of their more distinguished counterpart.

source: realmenrealstyle.com

The thing that makes this model stand out is its lightweight design, with minimal use of embellishments or stitching. As such, it’s often seen as a suitable option for everyday wear, especially when paired with casual jeans or outdoor apparel.

Riding Boots

As the name implies, riding boots have a much different purpose than the others on this list. Not only do they provide excellent traction and protection for horseback riding, but they can also transition into a fashionable look with ease.

Typically, these boots have either stiff leather or synthetic outer layer with a low heel and wide toe box. The sole is also typically thinner than other cowboy boot styles, allowing riders to feel the stirrups better.

Work Boots

Perhaps the most rugged of all the cowboy boots for sale are the work varieties as they can definitely take a beating. They often feature heavy-duty leather or synthetic materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions and the wear and tear of outdoor activities.

The sole features a thicker, more resilient design than the other types, with several layers of rubber for extra protection. The wide, rounded toe also helps to spread out the impact when walking on uneven terrain.


The most compact of the bunch, buckaroos end just below the ankle and come with a low heel. They are typically seen in black and brown leather designs, but can also be found in more eye-catching shades. The toe is usually pointed, and the sole is thinner than the other styles, which is why they are more suitable for casual wear.

Even though they’re not as tall or rugged as the other types, buckaroos still have enough character to be considered a chic item in any wardrobe. The less flashy design allows them to be easily matched with shorts, jeans or even skirts.

What to Look for in a Pair of Cowboy Boots

Aside from the specific make and design of each type, certain elements can help you determine which model best suits your needs.

Toe Shape

The way the toe is constructed has a huge impact on the way your boots look and feel. Most models feature either a square toe or a round toe, with the latter being more suitable for everyday wear. The slightly narrower shape of a square toe is more appropriate for riding boots and work varieties.


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While leather is the predominant material for country boots keep in mind there are also synthetic varieties that provide more protection and comfort. Leather is often seen as the better choice, however, especially if you’re looking for a boot that will last.

It’s naturally resistant to water and other elements, so you won’t have to worry about your boots getting scuffed or fading. If you want to opt out of leather, you could always go for suede or nylon. Both materials can be used in several styles and still provide the same amount of protection, even if they don’t look quite as nice as leather.


How tall you want your shoes to be depends entirely on what you plan on using them for. If you’re looking for a fashion statement, then you could go for the taller models, like traditional western or riding boots.

For more casual occasions, though, you might want to opt for a lower model like the ropers or buckaroos. The lower height of these styles makes them more comfortable and easier to pair with other clothing items.

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