How are Cowboy Boots Supposed to Fit? (4 Tips)

Are you looking to buy your first pair of cowboy boots?

Choosing the right size boot is easier said than done.

You simply need to press on the toe area for other types of shoes and maybe loosen or tighten the shoelaces to check if it fits.

This ‘press test’ is not possible with cowboy boots because of the leather material and tough construction.

If you are wondering, ‘how should cowboy boots fit?’ You have come to the right place.

This article will take you through a step-by-step process to find a boot that fits perfectly.

So, let’s dive in!

How To Fit Cowboy Boots On Different Parts of the Leg

When fitting cowboy boots, you must consider the fit on the different parts of your leg.

The parts of the leg that matter when sizing a cowboy boot are the calf, instep, heel, ball, and toe box.

Let’s take a look at how cowboy boots should fit on each of these parts.

1. Fitting cowboy boots around the calf

Fitting cowboy boots around the calf

Since boots go all the way up to the calf, you want to ensure that your new pair feels comfortable around your calves.

The shaft should be neither too tight around your calves nor should your ankles swim inside the boot.

Different people have different calve sizes. Bigger calves can sometimes make it difficult to pull the boot shaft up by the straps or ears.

Ideally, a good-fitting boot should have a one to two-inch space around the calves.

2. Checking for fit in the instep

Checking for fit in the instep

The instep is the biggest determining factor when determining whether a cowboy boot fits.

The instep is the upper part of the foot between your toes and ankle.

When you put on your boot, the upper part should touch your instep slightly.

If the leather feels too tight on your instep, the boot is too small. If it feels too loose, you need a smaller size boot.

Getting the right fit around the instep is important; the instep ensures that your heel stays in place so that walking in your boots is comfortable.

It is common for the instep to fit and still have problems with the heel.

The first time you wear the boot, it might feel like your heel doesn’t quite fit right. This is known as heel slippage.

Heel slippage in boots isn’t an entirely bad thing. Ideally, the heel slip should be less than half-inch. If it is more than this, the boots are too big, and you should try a size lower.

That said, if the boot generally fits well around the instep, the slip will eventually go away the more you wear your boots, and the leather becomes pliable.

Sometimes, when the fit around the instep isn’t quite right, the leather might cut off blood circulation to your foot. You will have a numb sensation, a sign that you chose the wrong size boot and need to replace it with a wider one.

3. Testing for Cowboy Boot Fit Around the Ball

Testing for Cowboy Boot Fit Around the Ball

The ball is the widest part of the foot. It is the part where the boot bends when you walk.

Generally, the widest part of your foot should align with the widest part of the boot.

That said, how well your foot aligns with the boot will depend on the brand and how they structure their shoes.

Aligning the ball of your foot with the widest part of the boot will allow you to comfortably bend your foot when you take a step.

If you feel a tight sensation, or the ball of your foot feels squished in or pulled forward, the boot is too small.

Before buying, it helps to take a few steps in your new boots to feel the sensation and fit around the balls.

4. Fitting Your Cowboy Boots Around the Toe

Fitting Your Cowboy Boots Around the Toe

The toe is another area you want to check to ensure the boot fits.

Cowboy boots come in different toe shapes. Some common ones include pointed-toe, square toe, rounded toe, and snip toe.

The size and structure of your toes will determine the best toe type when choosing a new pair of boots.

For example, pointed-toe cowboy boots might be unsuitable for someone with a wide foot.

Someone with long toes might be uncomfortable in a square toe cowboy boot.

I’ve learned from experience the importance of buying a boot that suits your toe type.

If the boot feels tight with no allowance space at the tip of your toes, you should move up a size higher or opt for a different toe shape.

All in all, a good-fitting boot should not rub your toes. Instead, your toes should have wiggling space.

Now let’s take a look at the practical steps you should take to check whether your new cowboy boots fit:

Step-by-Step Guide To Check Cowboy Boots For Fit

Follow these steps to test if the cowboy boot you are eyeing is the right size:

  • Insert your foot in the shaft

When testing for a new pair of cowboy boots, first slip your foot into the entire length of the boot’s shaft.

Use the pull holes or straps on either side to pull the shaft up your calf.

You might face some resistance around the calf as you pull up the boot. But, if you need to pull too hard on the straps or holes, this is not a good sign; the boot is likely too small.

As a general rule, the boot will make a slight popping sound when you successfully pull up the shaft, and the foot is fully inside the boot.

  • Check for heel lift

Heel lift is common in new cowboy boots and will disappear as you gradually break into the boot. This lift is the space between your heel and the boot’s insole.

The heel lift is caused when there’s some space between the toe of the boot and instep.

This space is not necessarily problematic; in fact, it allows your foot to fit snugly in the boot, but it should not be more than 1/8 inch.

As you pull the boot shaft, there might be some resistance around the inset area. This should not be a cause for concern; it allows for the right amount of heel lift.

  • Confirm Comfort and Fit

Once the foot passes the resistance points, you now want to feel how it feels when rested on the boot’s insole.

The widest part of your foot should rest on the widest part of the insole and outsole.

Next, stand in your boots. Then using your index finger and thumb, approximate the distance from the tip of your toes to the end of the boot.

For a perfect fitting boot, the tip of your toe should be the length of your outstretched index finger and thumb.

Be sure to walk around in your new boots. You will get a more accurate feel for how well the boot fits. Check for the heel lift, ensuring that it is no more than 1/8 inch.

Too much heel slip will make the boots feel large and heavy on your foot. The slip should also not be too tight, making for an uncomfortable boot.

Finally, it is best to wear the right type of socks for the boots. A thick pair of socks might make the boot feel tight, prompting you to choose a size larger than your normal size.

On the other hand, a thin pair might mislead you into getting a smaller boot, only to realize later that the boot is too tight.

Summary: How Should Cowboy Boots Fit?

Getting your first pair of cowboy boots can be exciting. But, you need to know how to get the right fit to avoid disappointment.

When acquiring new boots, you really don’t need to use a different sizing method or chart from the one you use for other shoes.

The inset and heel slip are the two most important determinants of whether a pair of cowboy boots fit. If the heel slip is the recommended size, you should be good to go with your new boots.

Most cowboy boots are generally comfortable out of the box. But, it can take up to a month to fully break into your leather boots.

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