For most of us, cowboy boots represent more of a lifestyle than anything else. We envision the lone ranger, trekking across the open plains, or the legendary John Wayne, always at the ready to stand tall and defend the honor of others against nefarious criminals. We hear the iconic rattling of spurs against the leather and can visualize the saloon doors swinging open when a group of bandits rolls into town. Clearly, there’s a level of nostalgia involved here, thanks in part to the popularity of the cowboy lifestyle initiated during the ‘30s and ‘40s.
And while the exact origin of the cowboy boot is still debated today, it’s worth noting that several styles of cowboy boots are in fact modeled after European Wellington boots and Hessian boots – thanks to the immigration influx during the 19th century. From here, bookmakers would make more affordable versions of the simple silhouette for regional rancher workers who – surprise, surprise – would later become synonymous with the American cowboy. Needless to say, the iconic cowboy boot silhouette is still held in high regard ever to this day. And, if you can find the right pair, some are still handmade the old fashioned way right here in the U.S. We’ve included several such options in our choices for the best cowboy boots around, so feel free to take a gander for yourself – and see if you can’t embrace your inner “Duke” in the process.
Laredo Willow Creek
With an authentic Western look, Laredo does a fantastic job of honoring the traditions of old-school style. In the case of their Willow Creek boot, this pair features a smooth leather foot underneath a handsomely-stitched 13-inch boot shaft with pull-on straps and a pointed toe profile. They’re certainly a pair worth adding to the collection.
Dan Post Renegade Western
Continuing on in legendary fashion, Dan Post makes Western boots worth every penny. That’s because their cowboy boots combine handcrafted cushion technology with traditional Western styling. This pair, in particular, features distressed Bay Apache leather and a 13-inch stitched boot shaft complete with a leather lining, heel, and sole.
As one of the smaller boots in our line up, the Durango boot certainly doesn’t fall short on quality construction and materials. We’re talking full grain leather uppers, a cushion-flex insole, an EVA outsole, single row welt stitching, and a ventilated cushion footbed. No frills, no elaborate design, just quality construction in a reliable format.
Justin Boots Classic Western
Ever since H.J. Justin moved to Spanish Fort, Texas to become a boot repairman back in 1879, Justin Boots has been a standard of the West. Initially, Justin operated his business out of his home – serving cowboys as they passed through town – but soon his reputation grew and so did the popularity of his boots. Here, we have a classic western silhouette adorned in black leather that’s made right here in the USA – complete with the iconic round toe and dual pulls at the shaft.
Nocona Boots Legacy L Toe
Boasting an elegant vintage look, these USA-made leather cowboy boots are as iconic looking as they are reliable. Each pair comes complete with decorative embroidered stitching along with convenient easy-on side pulls and a tan cow leather construction. Additionally, the Legacy boot features a single-stitched 3/4 welt, 1 1/2 inch underslung boot heel, and a narrow square toe.
Modeled after the classic cowboy boot silhouette, the Cartwright is made from 100 percent leather complete with a calfskin upper and a bovine lining. The heel is also angled for additional comfort and an elegant sweeping hand-corded pattern wraps its way around the body of the boot like a true desert rattler. The Cartwright also features a comfort insole and EVA midsole, a 3/4 Goodyear-welt, a hand-pegged leather outsole, and hosts an upper with hand-laid and hand-stitched cording.
From Monument Valley to the deserts of southwest Texas, the Barstow boot is built to take a beating. That’s because each pair boasts a premium full-grain leather foot and upper, an extra deep scallop, and a Goodyear leather welt. Additionally, a Duratread outsole in conjunction with ATS Pro technology offers stability, comfort, and longevity for years to come.
Chippewa Bay Apache Boots
As far as brands are concerned, Chippewa needs no introduction. Across the board, their American-made boots stand up for themselves on just about every occasion. This pair of outdoor boots constructed with Bay Apache leather can be included in this lot – thanks to a Goodyear leather welt, a triple ribbed steel shank, and a Vibram outsole for enhanced durability and comfort.
Lucchese Bootmaker Riding Boot
Even after all these years, Texas-bred Lucchese continues to honor the traditions set forth since their founding back in 1883. This includes their implementation of Lemonwood pegs instead of brass nails in the construction of their boots, as well as hand stitching each and every pair that makes it to market – including these handsome riding boots outfitted in lone star calf leather and embossed stitching.
Stetson Biker Outlaw
Known primarily for their iconic cowboy hats, Stetson is an Old West brand at its finest. Needless to say, they make a damn fine cowboy boot, as well. This mean-looking pair, for instance, boasts an outlaw toe, brown wing inlays on the boot shaft, and a laser wingtip. Also, thanks to the boot’s black and brown oiled leather and handmade composition, they’re not only trusty in the long run, but will look the part for years on end.
Frye Billy Harness
It wouldn’t be a Frye boot without a little upgrade on the traditional silhouette. In this case, their leather lined Billy Harness boot – complete with a leather outsole – comes equipped with their signature harness strap. It’s a handsome handcrafted option, thanks to a Goodyear welt construction and tumbled leather construction that’s then polished for that desired worn-in look.
Handsome in every sense of the word, these Apache boots make a subtle-yet-bold statement, thanks to their one-of-a-kind comfort and stitching. Outfitted as a rugged and reliable pair of cowboy boots, each pair is made by hand one at a time and can only be ordered over the phone or in person so that their seasoned boot mavens can ensure you find the perfect pair. These ones feature both black oil tanned leather and a matte finish to keep things both as simple and stylish as possible.
Now, Keep Those Boots Shined And Looking New
Shining your shoes is a skill that we feel every guy should master. Not only does it lengthen the life of your footwear, but there’s a certain level of satisfaction in a shined pair of boots that are ready and waiting. Want to see for yourself? Be sure to check out this handy guide on shoe shining.