There is a lot to say about what boots people wear. There are so many theories on boots – what is appropriate for riding, what is good for dancing, and what can work for both. The fact of the matter is that cowboy boots were built for a reason. Many years ago, boots were built for riding- the pointed toe was to help guide the foot into the stirrup; the tall heel was to keep your feet from sliding all of the way into the stirrup; the leather soles were smooth, making it easy to slide your foot in and out of the stirrups; the tall shaft was to protect the legs from brush; the pull straps at the top were to help in getting the boots on; the stitching on the shaft was to help keep the shaft from slouching down. All of these features that I have mentioned are generally still found in the western boots, but they are ever-changing. These changes sometimes occur for different reason- usually it is for function or fashion. Throughout the Western equestrian (and sometimes English equestrian) world, you will find many brands that are popular for many reasons. I’d like to go through these brands briefly and what they have to offer to you.
Ariat boots are well known for their fashion-forward styles and functionality. They are the company that brought a durable, safe rubber out-sole to the equestrian world. Their rubber soles are made from patented Duratread rubber – you might recognize this name from Duratread tires – and that is where it comes from. I have found that these soles outlast the full grain leather on the top. They also have a few different comfort technologies that are integrated into all of their footwear. Many newer aged riders are very familiar with Ariat and their technologies. Ariat is determined to stay at the top of the ‘boot chain’ and they continue to bring comfort to you in the form of boots, shoes and sandals.
Justin Boot Company has been bringing you traditional western boots for many years, but they will not let other companies get far out of reach. Justin has also created many new technologies, including safe rubber out-soles. They offer the JFLEX comfort systems in many of their boots, which generates return energy to keep your feet comfortable all day long. Justin is well known and endorsed by people like George Strait, the King of Country Music and a full-time cowboy. You will not get less than the best from Justin Boots.
If you are going for hand made classics, you will find Lucchese at the top of your list. These boots are hand-made in Texas, making them very unique and a bit harder to find than most of your traditional boots that are manufactured in bulk. Does this mean that you have to go to Texas to find them? No, it simply tells me that if I find a pair that I like it’d be wise to get them while they’re in your hands! Along with being made by hand, these boots are generally made from all leather and your feet just melt into them as you wear them in. You will find many cowboys and western enthusiasts that ride in their Lucchese boots, and many that keep their Lucchese’s for those special occasions.
There are many other great brands, including Dan Post, Tony Lama, Durango, Double-H, and Boulet, that live in that fashion-forward, functional world, just as these brands do. All of these brands, as you will see, are coming out with new styles that keep the functionality of the traditional Western boot, but puts a unique spin on the style. Many of these changes stem from the fact that riding has more understanding behind it. Saddles are being made to be more functional, allowing changes in other areas. Many of these new looks include a broad square toe (one of my favorites) , lower heels, and fashionable stitching on the shaft. So whatever your style may be, remember to wear your boots and don’t let your boots wear you out! Feel as good as you look in one of these great brands that we have to offer to you!