Western Boots
Fitting & Care

Cowboy Boots Fitting & Care

New owners of cowboy or western boots often wonder how to take care of their purchase. Additionally, since western boots are a bit "different" in size and shape than other boots, people looking at purchasing a cowboy boot often wonder how to properly size them. This page provides some helpful information on how to care for a cowboy boot and how to fit a cowboy boot. Remember, if you purchase a pair of cowboy boots through Zappos (my recommended footwear store), you have 365 days to return the boot if it doesn't fit right - and the return postage is fully paid!


How to Care for Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots are pretty easy to care for. Some simple common sense things can go a very long way in preserving the looks and life of your cowboy boots. Listed below are some simple things you can do to get the most mileage from your western boots.

  1. Getting Rid of Dirt : Getting dirt of your boots is easy, just use a damp cloth and wipe the boot. In general, it is best to not use any sort of harsh chemical cleaning compound as the chemicals can discolor the boot. Instead, just use plain old water.
     
  2. Ingrained Dirt : If you haven't cleaned your boots in a while, using a damp cloth may not necessarily get all of the dirt off the boot, especially if the dirt has some clay in it. To get rid of this stuff, apply some Saddle Oil to the boot. The oil greatly assists in helping get rid of ingrained dirt while applying a protective coat of oil over the boot.
     
  3. Conditioner : Generally, it is always a good idea to apply a leather conditioner to the boot. The conditioner helps to prevent the boot from drying out and also helps keep the boot soft. If it has been a while since you've done this to a boot, more than one application may be necessary. Also, remember this rule - it is better to have two thin coats of conditioner than one thick coat.
     
  4. Water Protector : As cowboy boots - at least good ones - are made of high quality leather, the boots are basically waterproof. However, from time to time you will want to apply some water protector to the boot to help keep water running off the boot instead of being absorbed into the leather. Also, most good quality Leather Conditioners provide for water repellency.
     
  5. Polishing : While not strictly necessary, if you plan on going to a formal event, it is always nice to have a shiny pair of cowboy boots. To get your boots, even old ones, nice and shiny, use some Boot Cream Polish along with a Boot Shine Cloth.
     
  6. Drying a Boot : One of the best ways to ruin a cowboy boot is to place it next to a high heat source to dry, like a wood stove or fireplace. If you boots are wet, let them air dry of, better yet, place them in a boot dryer. Using a boot dryer, you simply inset the dryer into the boot and turn it on. The dryer than simply blows up lukewarm air into the boot, drying out the boot while not ruining the leather in the process.

How to Fit Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots can be a bit more difficult to fit than say your standard sneaker or hiking boot. The reason for this is because cowboy and western boots are made of high quality, rather stiff leathers. Additionally, the boots come in numerous styles - some of which can prove to be quite painful to your toes if you get the wrong type. So, to help reduce the possibility of foot pain, this little guide has been prepared. Remember, if you purchase a pair of cowboy boots through Zappos (my recommended footwear store), you have 365 days to return the boot if it doesn't fit right - and the return postage is fully paid!

  1. Boot Size : In general, you want to get a cowboy boot that is the same or one half size bigger than what you would normally get in a hiking or work boot. The reason you may wish to get one a half size larger is because most people wear wool or synthetic wool socks in cowboy boots. These thick socks not only provide comfort to the feet but also take up some volume inside the boot.
     
  2. Boot Stiffness : Unlike hiking boots or athletic shoes, cowboy boots are quite stiff and don't have a "break in" period like other shoes frequently do. What I mean by this is that if a cowboy boot you get hurts your foot "right out of the box" it is likely to continue to hurt your foot for a very long time. In short, don't expect a cowboy boot to stretch much.
     
  3. Your Toes : Ever take a close look at your toes? Well, the reason you might want to do it is to make sure that the style of cowboy boots you get matches your toes. Thus, if you order pointy toed cowboy boots, make sure that your toes are also aligned in a rather "pointy" fashion if this makes any sense. In general, most people seem to find "boxey" cowboy boot styles to be more comfortable if only because most people, like myself, tend to have "boxey" feet.
     
  4. Boot Width : No matter what, make sure that you order the proper width of cowboy boot. Getting a boot that is too narrow is a guaranteed recipe for some considerable foot pain. If you have a wide foot (size EE), make sure that you don't get a size D (standard size width). If you do, pain will absolutely, positively follow. It is always better to get a slightly wider boot than your shoe size, too, as the socks you wear will take up the extra space.
     
  5. Taking the Science Out of It : When preparing this page, for the fun of it I looked up information both online and off about how to size and fit a cowboy boot. There is quite the science out there about it. In the end, what it ends up coming down to is that you'll never know if a cowboy boot fits or not until you try it. While knowing your exact foot size (of both feet) and your foot width (of both feet) will take most of the guess work out of sizing up a cowboy boot, because of the many different styles of cowboy boots on the market - no one pair will ever likely fit the same. For this reason, as I said before, find a boot in the right size at Zappos that you like, order it, and if it doesn't fit - just send it back to them in their pre-paid mailer and try a new one (the replacement boot also has free shipping). While it is the lazy way, it is probably the best way to find a pair of cowboy boots that fits just right.

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