Cowboy Boots

How to Fit Cowboy Boots

March 19, 2024
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How to Fit Cowboy Boots?

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Mastering the Art of Cowboy Boot Fitting

If you’re ready to show off your Western heritage or get involved in the Western way of life, you might be wondering, ‘How to fit cowboy boots?’ Well, the first step in getting into a pair of authentic, durable, and attractive cowboy boots is mastering the art of fitting this iconic footwear. This comprehensive guide will be your partner through the process, leading you to the perfect fit for both style and comfort.

First, let’s dive into why it’s important to have well-fitting western boots. Unlike trying on and buying other types of shoes, the process of purchasing cowboy boots involves numerous factors that aren’t typically considered. With so many styles, toe shapes, sole types, shaft heights, etc., there are many choices to make. You can choose depending on what you need your cowboy boots to do for you, and where you will wear them. Don’t forget your unique design and comfort preferences. These boots are built with exceptional attention to detail compared to other types of footwear. Nearly every pair will be slightly different. Because of this, you’ll need to know how to get the right fit for your foot. This is why Cavender’s presents this boot fitting guide.

Understanding Cowboy Boot Sizing and Measurements

Although cowboy boot sizing can vary from brand to brand and style to style, there are certain things you will want to consider when trying them on. The first is the toe box. You should be able to wiggle your toes around with a little bit of space between your toe and the end of the boot. Next, the widest part of the boot is where the widest part of your foot should rest. The instep of a boot is on top of your foot between the ball and the ankle. This should be the tightest part of the boot yet fit comfortably. Lastly, there should be room for your heel to lift slightly as you walk. If your heel is lifting out of the heel area completely, you’ll want to size down.

Unlike regular shoes, multiple measurements factor into the best fit. Of course, you have the usual whole and half size system for both men and women. This is very similar to typical sizing, but you also have width measurements that go from AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EE and EEE. For women, ‘B’ is considered a standard width, but for men, standard is considered ‘D’. These are also known as an ‘M’ width. When buying cowboy boots, it is always a good idea to size up if you are unsure or in between sizes, as a pair that is too tight can be uncomfortable, especially for lengthy wear.

Calf size measurements are also very important to note when exploring the many options for cowboy boots available at Cavender’s. Shoot for a one to two-inch space around your calf for the most comfortable fit. Boot shafts cover the ankle and calf, tending to have a smaller circumference around the ankle. If you have smaller or bigger calves, trying on boots with varying calf circumferences will be another way to determine the correct size.

Measuring your feet is the perfect place to start when fitting a pair of cowboy boots. To do this, you can use a foot measuring device, which all Cavender’s locations have on-site, or you can get out a ruler at home. For foot length, measure the back of your heel to the tip of your longest toe. For width, measure across the ball of your foot, which is the widest point.

Tips for Achieving the Perfect Fit

Cowboy boots are an investment in style and ties to western heritage. The perfect fit will ensure you get the most out of that investment with consistent and regular wear. To achieve the ideal fit, there are some steps you can take when making your purchase so that your footwear is comfortable long after trying it on for the first time.

The first and possibly most important thing to understand is how to properly try on cowboy boots. Here are our recommended steps for trying on this traditional piece of western fashion.

An illustration showing the anatomy of a cowboy boot, labeling its various parts such as the vamp, heel, shaft, and toe box.

The Anatomy of a Cowboy Boot.

Cowboy Boot Fitting Guide

Key considerations when trying them on:

  • Toe Box: Your toes should have some wiggle room, with a bit of space between the toe and the boot’s end.
  • Widest Part of the Boot: The widest part of your foot should align with the widest part of the boot.
  • Instep: This area, between the ball and ankle, should be snug but comfortable.
  • Heel Fit: There should be room for your heel to lift slightly as you walk, without it slipping out entirely.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Perfect Fit

Step 1: Slide your foot into the boot and pull it on by its bootstraps. There should be slight resistance when pulling them on, but once you get past the resistance point, they should easily slide on and feel comfortable.

Step 1: Pulling on a JRC & Sons cowboy boot, demonstrating the initial process of fitting the boot snugly onto the foot.

Step 2: Check for a slight amount of heel lift to allow for the foot to move and boot to flex. This lift should be between ⅛ and ½ inch.

Step two of fitting a cowboy boot: Checking your heel height. Ensure the boot's heel fits snugly against your foot, providing support and stability.

Step 3: Make sure that the widest part of your foot sits in the widest part of the boot. The ball of your foot should rest where the boot has the most space.

Step three show a person checking the widest part of the foot's ball over the widest section of the boots outsole for proper fit.

Step 4: Stand up and ensure that there is space between the tip of your toe and the end of the boot. The ideal measurement here is about one thumb width.

Step four, shows a person checking the position toes that should be about one thumb width from the end of the toe box.

Step 5: Always take a walk around the store or your house in the boots. Pay attention to places where they rub wrong, feel too tight or are too loose. Cowboy boots need to be broken in, but they should still be comfortable when tried on.

Step five, shows someone walking around with their brown leather cowboy boots, with a JRC & Sons boot box on the ground right next to a boot hook to help remove the boots after checking for appropriate heel lift and comfort.

Exploring Cavender’s Western Boots Collection

When exploring the wide range of boots at Cavender’s, you will quickly realize that there are boots for so many different foot shapes and sizes. It is important to recognize what shape your feet are, so you can look at boots that are built for that shape. Of course, this plays into heel slippage, toe room, width, etc., but it also affects the style that is best for you. Taller heels probably are not best suited for people with foot pain or issues, and those who have joint or ankle problems will likely want a taller, sturdier shaft.

Another consideration in achieving the most comfortable fit possible is what else you put into the boot, like insoles or socks. When trying it on, you should keep that in mind if you prefer certain insoles. You should always wear boot socks that are made to compliment the structure of cowboy boots. Socks and insoles designed specifically for cowboy boots are moisture-wicking and come in varying thicknesses for a personalized fit.

Common Fitting Issues and Solutions

Some of the most common fitting issues, when it comes to cowboy boots, include tightness or looseness in certain areas. Spots that cause discomfort can also come from not being properly broken-in. There are solutions to ensure your favorite style of boot is also comfortable for all-day wear on the ranch, down city streets or at a rodeo.

If one part of a boot is too tight, you can have them professionally stretched in that spot to match the shape of your foot, or you can check out styles with a wider width. For those who are just a touch in between sizes and own a pair of boots that are too loose, that issue can be addressed with thicker socks or insoles. Don’t forget that your foot will likely be slightly different in size throughout the year and different phases of life, so you may need to address these issues more than once.

When it comes to high-pressure points, those can be exaggerated in a new pair of cowboy boots. However, with some padding, moleskin, or customized insoles, you can rock that pair that you love without worrying about pain at the end of the day.

Lastly, breaking in these boots correctly is crucial in finding long-lasting comfort throughout your boots’ lifespan. When you first make that purchase, you should start by wearing your boots indoors for short periods of time, gradually increasing wear time as they start to conform to your foot. If they have laces, avoid over-tightening. Another pro tip to break in boots is to wear thicker socks than normal for the first few wears.

Expert Advice for Customizing Your Fit

Whether it’s your first pair or you’ve been wearing cowboy boots and embracing Western style since you could walk, take a bit of time to consider these things. Advice for boot sizing is one of the best fashion tips we can offer. There are a few things you can do to customize your fit to your unique preferences, starting with seeking out help from the experts.

At Cavender’s, our staff understands cowboy boots and the Western lifestyle. They will know how to help based on your needs. By seeking out professional help, you can ensure you get the perfect fit from the very beginning. Another way professionals come into play is in stretching and making modifications to boots you already own. If there is a pair of cowboy footwear that you just love but don’t fit quite right, professional stretching can help.

Inserts and pads are often overlooked when wearing cowboy boots. This minor adjustment can make all the difference, and there is an expansive selection out there to offer targeted support for your specific foot needs.

Once your boots are in your closet and on your feet, one of the most important things you can do to ensure proper fit is maintenance. Cowboy boots should be regularly cleaned to preserve their shape and fit. Conditioning them often can keep that leather soft and flexible for maximum comfort. Store them upright with boot trees to prevent creasing and to hold their form.

Ready to find your perfect fit? Explore Cavender’s selection of cowboy boots, for both men and women, now. Still have questions? Contact our expert team for personalized assistance on how to fit cowboy boots. Stop by your nearest Cavender’s Boot City store today!

Shop our men’s cowboy boots here, our women’s cowgirl boots here, and kids’ boots here.

Author Bio: Hannah Crandall

Hannah Crandall, originally from a small town in the Texas panhandle, embodies the western way of life. A Texas A&M University graduate, she’s dedicated to sharing the stories that have made her who she is today. With a background in writing, marketing, and event management, Hannah is passionate about promoting the people, animals, and brands of the industry. Outside of work, she enjoys following her people around to rodeos, roping events, and connecting with fellow cowboys and cowgirls, whenever she can. Learn More