With sweater weather on the horizon, we’ve been itching to break out our favorite fall staples, from cozy leggings to our beloved fall boots. And with western styles being pretty trendy recently (think coastal cowgirl!), now is the perfect time to add a bit of extra flair to your wardrobe. When it comes to embodying the spirit of the Wild West, cowboy boots are one of the most versatile ways to go about it.
TikTok (where almost all of the biggest fashion trends originate of late) is also a fan of the style. Videos featuring the #cowboyboots tag have more than one billion collective views on the app. According to Google Trends, the search for “cowboy boots” is on the rise as fall approaches, with specific terms like “tall black cowboy boots” seeing a 60% percent spike.
However, is this trend good for your feet? We asked foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Buck Smith M.D., style expert Amy E. Goodman and Tecovas footwear designer Elizabeth Ruiz on how to find the right style and fit for you.
Why are cowboy boots trending? | Are there different kinds of cowboy boots? | Do’s and don’ts of cowboy boots | Cowboy boots to shop | Splurge cowboy boots | Cowboy boot accessories | Meet the experts
Why are cowboy boots trending?
Thanks in part to a trend that stemmed from coastal grandmother, coastal cowgirl took TikTok by storm, implementing usual summer outfits with hints of western wear such as cowboy boots and hats.
Ruiz believes cowboy boots are trending because of their “classic style, versatility and the fashion industry’s continued interest in western-inspired designs.”
Are there different kinds of cowboy boots?
Just like there are different types of sneakers, there are different types of cowboy boots. What sets them apart are the materials they’re made out of, their height, width and toe.
“Cowboy boots can be made out of various materials, including traditional leather and suede or exotic skins (such as alligator),” suggests Ruiz.
The material they’re made out of can help determine their durability and longevity, adds Ruiz. For example, boots made out of faux leather might not be as durable or last as long compared to those made out of traditional leather or animal skin.
Also, the height and width of cowboy boots play into the type of look you’re going for. Wearing a mini skirt? Taller boots might be the move. Rocking bootcut jeans? A shorter boot could be your best bet. The width all depends on your calf size. Many brands offer width options, while some don’t.
Finally, there are four “distinct” toe types a boot can come in: pointed, snip, square and round.
Do’s and don’ts of cowboy boots
- Do break them in gradually. Ruiz advises against going 0 to 100 and packing a brand new pair of boots for a girl’s trip to Nashville, for example. “Wear them for short periods initially to avoid discomfort,” she says.
- Do use boot trees. Boot trees are wooden structures placed inside cowboy boots to keep their shape and form when not in use. They also help to “prevent creasing,” says Ruiz.
- Do practice regular cleanings. “Wipe off dirt and stains with a damp cloth and use a leather cleaner or saddle soap specifically designed for cowboy boots when needed,” says Ruiz.
- Do condition the leather. To keep the leather looking like new, condition it regularly.
- Do wear in fair weather conditions. “Avoid prolonged exposure to water or wet conditions, as it can damage the leather and weaken the structure of the boots,” says Ruiz. Wearing your boots in extreme weather conditions can cause damage to the leather and structure of the boots.
- Don’t use harsh chemicals such as ammonia and bleach when cleaning, “as they can damage the leather and cause discoloration,” says Ruiz.
- Don’t let them dry in direct heat. Post-cleaning, don’t set them out in the sun or a warm spot to dry, or don’t use a hair dryer, as it “can cause the leather to crack or shrink,” according to Ruiz.
- Don’t store them when wet. Allowing them to air dry will help to prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Don’t force a bad fit. Forcing your feet into too small of a boot can lead to blisters and discomfort, while forcing your feet into too big of a shoe can cause them to fall off and have instability.
- Don’t use abrasive materials when cleaning, as they can damage the leather, says Ruiz. Use a microfiber towel or a brush.
Cowboy and western-style boots to shop
Toe: Pointed | Calf Width: Medium | Sizes: 5-12, including half sizes | Material: Faux leather
Shop TODAY production associate Audrey Ekman found these while scouring Target’s website and proposed them as an affordable, yet adorable option. Perfect for Nashville or hitting your local country bars, these boots are available in either a black/white or tan/white combo.
Toe: Pointed | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 5-12, including half sizes | Material: Premium leather, faux suede lining
For a taller boot that would look cute paired with shorts or a mini dress, these boots serve as a colorful option. Available in 12 colors, from fiery red to a suede blue iteration, Shop TODAY editor Vivien Moon says that this one requires little to no breaking in and is “constantly getting compliments” on them. An added plus is that she notes they’re lightweight, meaning they won’t wear you down during a night of line dancing.
Toe: Pointed | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 6-11, including half sizes | Material: Faux leather
Add a pop of panache to your outfit with these chic boots. If you’re opting for the gray cowboy boot route, Goodman suggests pairing the shoes with a white flowy dress or a shorter white skirt. One customer said these boots fit her "skinny calf" and another one shared this pair was reliable after a long day of walking and is more comfortable "than tennis shoes".
Toe: Pointed | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 6-11, including half sizes | Material: Synthetic leather
If you’re looking for more of a rustic cowboy boot, this pick from Amazon is super comfortable and has the look and feel of real leather. Reviewers say that although it fits true to size in most cases, it’s best to size up if you have wider feet.
Toe: Pointed | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 5-11, including half sizes | Material: Synthetic leather
In a video that now has more than 288,000 views, TikTok user @laurenwolfe called these boots her “most complimented Amazon buy.” She even added that she got multiple pairs. The easy-to-style boots come in four color options, including classic black or brown or a bold red.
Toe: Pointed | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 6-12, including wide sizes | Material: Faux leather
You’ll make a statement whenever you slip on these edgy boots. The knee-high pair is a great choice for nights out dancing or casual afternoons with friends. The shoe features embroidery details that add a Western touch to your casual outfits.
"Wore them in Napa all day and never felt uncomfortable. Got lots of compliments as well," said one reviewer.
Toe: Pointed | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 5-11, including half sizes | Material: Vegan leather
Ankle boots are a fashion staple that goes with most bottoms and you can easily spruce up your wardrobe by grabbing this stylish cowboy-inspired pair. They’re made from vegan leather and feature stitched details and a chunky heel for easy slip-on and off.
Splurge cowboy and western-style boots
Toe: Round | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 5-12, including half and wide sizes | Material: Synthetic leather
Ariat creates boots for working and riding, but they also have some stylish boots, Goodman says. These, for example, feature embroidered touches that elevate the look. Even better, they’re made with the brand’s Four Layer Rebound technology, which cushions and stabilizes the foot for all-day comfort.
Toe: Pointed | Calf Width: Medium and wide | Sizes: 6-11, including half sizes | Material: Leather
Available in multiple calf widths, this boot also comes in an inclusive amount of sizes. The style features a pointed toe with a knee-high silhouette that is also available in an ivory color. Ekman likes these because “they’re so cute and versatile.”
Toe: Broad square | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 6.5-11, including half sizes | Material: Leather
A well-known, tried and true brand for all things western, Boot Barn’s performance boots are not only cute for fairs and rodeos, but they’re durable enough to last throughout a work day too. Its style comes from the embroidered leaf patterns on the side, and its durability comes from the leather material it’s made of.
Toe: Round | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 5-12, including half sizes | Material: Bovine (cattle leather)
Available in a number of colors, materials and sizes, Tecovas prides itself on having durable, stylish and comfortable boots. Lined with the same material that covers the exterior, this boot fits true to size, according to reviewers.
Toe: Pointed | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 5.5-10, including half sizes | Material: Suede
These boots are worth the wait, at least according to Shop TODAY assistant partnerships editor Lauren Witonsky. To be worn with sundresses or peeking out of flare jeans, Witonskey notes that “the light suede is perfect for transitioning from summer to fall — just be warned that they do take a little bit to break in,” she advises.
Toe: Pointed | Calf Width: N/A | Sizes: 5.5-11, including half sizes | Material: Leather
A simple, short black boot complete with stars that litter both sides and portions of the toe, Ranch Road is offering TODAY readers 20% off full-priced boots now through Sept. 19 with code TODAY20.
Cowboy boot accessories to shop
Condition and clean your boots with this cream, which can be applied with a microfiber towel or brush. One reviewer noted that you "can't go wrong," with this cleaner, as it "makes the boots look brand new."
Need help slipping your boots on and off? A boot jack can help you with that. Simply put your heel in the U-shaped opening and slide away from the floor.
To keep the boot structure and shape looking good as new, purchase these shoe trees that are available in different sizes in order to fit your boots.
"They take care of my shoes when I’m not wearing them," says one reviewer. Reviewers also note paying attention to the sizing guide when ordering, to be sure you're getting the proper fit.
This kit comes with a cleaner, conditioner, towel and a boot brush, providing everything you'll need to make sure that your boots are in pristine condition.
Designed with women's boots in mind, this insert is available in sizes 5 to 11.5, meaning it will fit a majority of boots and help keep their shape. Reviewers love them because they're easy to remove and insert, plus these keep boots looking like new.
Meet the experts
- Amy E. Goodman is a style expert whose expertise covers a broad range of areas, from home decor to wardrobes.
- Elizabeth Ruiz is a senior footwear designer for the western wear brand, Tecovas.
- Dr. Buck Smith is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who focuses on minimally invasive treatments, joint replacements and joint arthroscopy. He has also worked with professional athletes.