Some really hot country music albums came out this year, so you won’t be faulted for wanting to rock some hot women’s cowboy boots to emulate your favorite singers. So giddy up, cowgirl, because Western boots are as hot as it gets right now, especially for Autumn and Spring when they make for the perfect day boot.
The designers really went above and beyond this year, crafting unique takes on cowboy boots for women, with a lot of nods to traditional styles but also incorporating all kinds of unique and modern elements. No matter where your tastes lie, you will find some incredibly fashionable cowboy boots that you can work into your look.
We’ve selected the best cowboy boots for women out there for a fashionista, made by our very favorite designers. We give a brief history of cowboy boots, and then get into all the nitty-gritty details of how to choose the right cowboy boots for you based on style and fit.
We’ll help you break in these tough leather boots, as well, not to mention that we’ll make sure you know how to wear cowboy boots and what kind of outfits they look best with. At the end we’ll help you keep your Western boots looking fresh with a care, cleaning, and maintenance guide. Yee haw!
Western Cowboy Boots for Women: Contents
• 17 Best Cowboy Boots for Women to Buy
• Wild West Cowboy Boots Fashion History
• How to Choose the Best Cowboy Boots for You
• Cowboy Boot Break-In Tips and Tricks
• Woman’s Guide to Western Boots: How to Wear Cowboy Boots
• How to Care for Your Cowboy Boots
From ankle-length Western boots to fierce designer creations, here we have put together the best cowboy boots for women available in the fashion industry.
1. White Mid-Calf Cowboy Boots
Trust Fendi to make the chicest cowboy boots for women! This pair of white Western boots is made of fine Italian leather in a bright white shade perfect for spring. The 4-inch heels are solid and made of wood, for a natural touch that is also super comfy. You can order them online from Forward.
2. Red Hot Western Boots
These boots provide a red hot twist on women’s cowboy boots, since they are made with solid and smooth calfskin leather, and have a unique pointed wooden heel that gives an architectural vibe. Metal toe caps bring the look together and add a bit more edge. These boots can be purchased from Moda Operandi.
3. Cowboy Boots “For Walking”
It is guaranteed that every time you pull on these sexy knee-high cowboy boots, the playful Nancy Sinatra will immediately start playing in your head. Made of embroidered black leather and with a short heel, these Off-White boots have the phrase “For Walking” emblazoned along the sides in white, making their purpose clear. Pick them up from Net-a-Porter!
4. Star Embroidery Western Boots
These embroidered women’s cowboy boots will get you feeling like a country star, thanks to a striking split-star pattern on the front. The shaft stops just below the knee, in a traditional cowboy boot look, and the 1.5-inch heel will give you a touch of height but won’t prevent you from spending all day on your feet .You can order these black boots from My Theresa.
5. Croc-Embossed Cowboy Boots
We love this sleek and elegant twist on cowboy boots. They are made of red cowskin leather embossed with a crocodile print, and have a simple pointed-toe design that streamlines the foot and makes the leg look oh-so-long and feminine. They are perfect mid-calf day boots with a short, pointed heels. Get them online through Forward!
6. Two-Tone Cowboy Boots
These Ganni cowboy boots for women really channel the Wild West, in a two-tone design that is quite authentic. The boots hit mid-calf, as Western boots should, and are made of dark brown Italian leather with a white overlay. They are sold online via Matches Fashion.
7. Buckled Western Boots
You will feel like a total badass in these silver-accented cowboy boots. Their shiny black leather and knee-high shaft are worthy of a person who can tame any horse and win every gunfight. They have a 2.5-inch heel and pointed toe, which add a touch of femininity to a very intense design. Order them from Shopbop!
8. Cut-Out Western Boots
If you love the idea of a Western boot but also prefer a lighter, more modern shoe, then definitely check out these ankle boots. They have a three-inch blocky wooden heel, and come in all kinds of materials including suede and snakeskin. Cut-outs on the side will keep you feeling cool and add a modern twist on the design. You can buy them at Nordstrom.
9. Studded Ankle Cowboy Boots
You can trust a label like McQueen to give the most punk rock take on an old classic, including the cowboy boots. These black leather boots are covered in metal studs in a rounded pattern, and are actually quite light and comfy. They are sold online through Farfetch.
10. Belted Cowboy Boots
Stay true to the tradition that surrounds cowboy boots, and make sure to wear these when you’re feeling particularly ostentatious. These Zimmermann ankle boots, whether you get them in snakeskin or white leather, are sure to stand out as long as you keep their removable straps on. The studded straps add a lot of drama, but they can be removed for a more understated effect. Get these boots from Net-a-Porter!
11. Denim Cowboy Boots
The old school design of cowboy boots, but instead of leather the shaft is made of denim – a perfect casual twist that makes for a lighter pair of boots. They are elegant in all black with traditional embroidery and a bit of a heel. You can buy them at Forward.
12. Glitter Cowboy Boots
Embrace the big city glitter and shine, but give it a little Western twist with these gorgeous Miu Miu boots. These mid-calf boots are made of leather covered in a silvery glitter, with a buckle that goes around the ankle and heel adding a very innovative flare. These women’s cowboy boots are available through Farfetch.
13. Soft Studded Western Boots
Putting these cowboy boots on is like giving your feet a hug. They are made of ultra-soft leather, and are simple pull-ons perfect for a life on the go. They have a low heel, and a touch of embellishment at the toe and along the top in the form of shiny metal studs. Pick up a pair at Nordstrom!
14. Fringed Western Stilettos
These ankle boots have all the sass of a pair of cowboy boots, but with the urban drama of a pair of impossibly high stilettos. Made of brown suede, these Aquazzura boots have a pointy 3.5-inch heel that adds drama to any look, as does the diagonal fringe along the side. Order them online from Net-a-Porter!
15. Golden Embellishment Punk Cowboy Boots
These ankle boots marry an irreverent punk sensibility with a badass cowboy attitude. These little black numbers have three golden buckles along the front and are also embellished with a series of golden studs placed in a floral pattern. They can be purchased from Farfetch.
16. Olive Cowboy Boots
Olive is not a traditional color for women’s cowboy boots, but it clearly works. This is a busier take on a boot design that is meant to stand out, with a blocky yet high heel, edgy buckled harness around the ankle, light blue feather embroidery, and just one more buckle, this time in white, near the top. Get these low boots from Matches Fashion!
17. Suede Western Boots
These Americana-inspired suede cowboy boots are a perfect choice for autumn. They come in a soft taupe shade that is a phenomenal neutral, and their embellishments make them unique without complicating their wear. These embellishments include cleverly placed silver studs, and a shiny metal panel just above the heel. Buy them from Forward!
Cowboy boots are a variation on riding boots, which have been a need since the 10th century and maybe even earlier. Boots with a high shaft and a slight heel made horse riding easier – they protected the leg from getting chaffed by the saddle, and allowed the horse rider to have a better grip on the stirrups.
Before the Industrial Revolution, cowboy boots were handmade in different styles, with the boots worn by the cowboys in the American South-West having designs inspired by the Spanish vaquero tradition as well as by military cavalry boots. After industrialization, cowboys favored Wellington boots, though those were replaced soon enough by the classic cowboy boot design that is very nearly the one we know and love today.
In the late 19th century, cowboys were known for wearing Hessian boots, with a V-cut out at the front of the shaft and Coffeyville-style cowboy boots (which originated in Kansas) with a blocky Cuban heel. Adornments like the lone-star inlay also became part of the cowboy boot look.
At this time the toes of the boots were normally either square or rounded. The big bootmakers were located in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, where the demand for these boots was highest.
Cowboy boots kept changing over the following few decades, with design inspiration coming primarily from European military boot designs.
During the early decades of the 20th century, cowboys became popular figures in the Americana mythology, particularly because of their representation in radio dramas and silent era films. As a result, people all over the US started buying cowboy boots in the hopes of emulating the look.
As cowboys also started having separate boots for work and for dress, the dress boots also started gaining various embroideries and embellishments, with the various patterns reaching a pinnacle of ostentation in the 1940s, when boot designs would show various Wild West elements like cacti, eagles, horses, and more.
It was in the 1950s that another extreme element showed up in the Western boot design: the old rounded or square toe was replaced with a much more unique pointed toe design.
As with any memorable or emblematic item, cowboy boots made it out of their niche and into the mainstream fashion world. Their popularity rose exponentially with the popularity of country music in the 1950s, and to this day you are more likely to spot a country fan wearing cowboy boots than anyone else.
Almost all big shoe and boot designers have taken inspiration from cowboy boots for their women’s shoe collections, especially for fall. In modern fashion, we’ve seen some designs that are very close to the source, as well as designs that only take a few elements to have a totally unique twist on cowboy boots for women.
Will you take some inspiration too?
When choosing the right cowboy boots for you it’s important you consider how you will be wearing them. Chances are you’re more into the look of cowboy boots and less into the functionality of them – after all, you can’t just ride a horse in the city!
Before buying your perfect pair of cowboy boots for women, consider whether you’ll be wearing them in harsher conditions, which might mean it’ll be better to choose a heartier, less embellished pair, or whether you’d like a subtler design that won’t be immediately recognized as cowboy boots and could be worn both in the day and evening. Also consider whether you prefer a showier pointed-toe design, or if you like a more understated square or rounded-toe cap.
There are a ton of different takes on cowboy boot designs and they can fit nearly any occasion! Color is also something to keep in mind – black cowboy boots are a safe choice, since they’ll look good with anything, but brown or tan ones will keep closer to the cowboy boot tradition.
There are also all kinds of colorful takes on women’s cowboy boots that might work well for a fashion-forward style. These days you can also have fun with the material your boots are made of. In addition to classic cowhide, there are also cowboy boots made of other materials including all kinds of leather as well as snakeskin and crocodile hide.
Types of Cowboy Boots
• The classic Western boot is the first boot that comes to mind when you think of a cowboy. Traditionally these boots have a short-angled heel, known as a Cuban heel, and from bottom to top they measure 12 inches, which means that they’ll have a mid-calf height. The shaft can be decorated with all kinds of embroideries.
• Ropers are cowboy boots that look a little bit more wearable, as a result of having a rounded toe rather than a pointy one and because they only have 1-inch heels. They were crafted for rodeo events when cowboys had to chase after and capture calves with a rope (hence the name), and this is why they are the most comfortable of all the classic Western boots.
• Stockmans are the cowboy boots for all of us fake cowboys who spend more time walking than riding. They are just nearly as comfortable as the ropers, since they also have a lower heel, though the main difference between them and classic cowboy boots is the bigger dip at the top of the boot shaft.
• Western work boots stand out from other cowboy boots (particularly the ropers) because they have a rubber sole, and are usually made of a cheaper leather than more display-worthy designs. They are made to be worked in, so they are not particularly showy and are less likely to be covered in decorations.
• Buckaroos are the showy, embellished, and colorful boots you’re likeliest to see worn by a cowboy at a rodeo! These are also the boots from which fashion designers take the most inspiration when crafting women’s cowboy boots. They normally have a higher shaft, so they might reach just below the knee, and the shaft is likely going to be covered in all kinds of elaborate designs. They normally have a higher heel, which makes them better for horse riding.
• Cowboy-inspired boots are the main kind of Western boots you’ll see us recommending here! They are made for city slickers, usually by high fashion designers and out of high-quality leather (often from Italy). They will often buck the traditional cowboy trends, either with the addition of elements like buckles and studs, by having shorter or longer shafts, or by having all different kinds of heels and toe caps.
Choosing the Right Fit
• In addition to a traditional shoe size, which refers to length, cowboy boots are often also sized by width. Women’s cowboy boots have three width sizes: A, B, and C. Choose A for narrow feet, B for medium-width feet, and C for wider feet.
• Unlike other leather shoes, cowboy boots are very firm so they are not going to get wider the more often you wear them. Look for cowboy boots that fit you exactly, or you are likely to end up with painful blisters.
• With men’s cowboy boots or any cowboy boots made by traditional manufacturers you might want to purchase a pair of boots that are one size smaller, since they often have a slightly larger fit, especially when you consider you might be wearing heavy socks with them.
• If you are not sure about your shoe size, then have a look at the manufacturer’s size chart, since sizing may differ from brand to brand. It is best if you can try on your Western boots before making a purchase, but if you’re buying online, then measuring your feet can help.
• When trying boots on make sure to wear the same kind of socks you would normally wear throughout the fall when you will most likely be wearing your women’s cowboy boots.
While cowboy boots are not likely to change their size over time, you still might want to break them in a little bit in order to get the sole and leather feeling a little softer. If you made the wrong choice, and your boots seem a little small, then it’s best to exchange them for the next size up, though that’s not always an option.
I’ll also give some tips for stretching out your cowboy boots if necessary!
• To break in your cowboy boots you have two options. The first is to simply wear them around as much as you can. With time they will get broken in on their own!
• To speed up the breaking in process, wear your boots in a particularly hot situation. The heat will allow the boots to stretch more easily and become more pliable.
• Despite what I said earlier, some softer leather cowboy boots for women can be stretched out a little bit, since their construction is less stiff. It that’s the case, there are a few ways to stretch them out. To stretch out women’s cowboy boots, double up your socks for the first few days. It might feel a little tight, but soon enough your boots will stretch and get a little comfier.
• If you’re not into the idea of spending a few days in discomfort, then your best bet is to look to technology. Buy yourself a cowboy boot stretcher, and it’ll do the trick to quickly stretch out your boots and make them instantly more comfortable.
You can buy all kinds of boot stretchers – some will target specifically the toe cap, while others are intended for bringing your boots up a size. They usually also come with a boot-stretching spray that you are meant to apply to the inner part of the boot before using the stretcher.
With that done, you place the stretcher inside your cowboy boots and then twist its knob in order to increase its size and stretch out the boot. Leave your boots with the stretcher inside them, and after 6 or 7 hours they should be bigger and comfier.
• We’re hesitant to suggest this method, since water can damage leather in the long term, but it will certainly give you an ultra-comfy fit. We’re talking about steaming your boots, of course! You can use a steamer or a kettle of boiling water.
Direct the steam into the inner part of your cowboy boots, and steam it for about 20 seconds. Your boots should feel warm, soft, and just a little damp. Put them on and walk around in them until they become dry, and they are guaranteed to conform to your feet perfectly.
• You can achieve a similar effect to steaming by simply dunking your boots in water. This will easily stretch them out, but it’s not appropriate for all cowboy boots, as more expensive pairs might get damaged. Only use this as a last resort. Simply submerge your boots in a bathtub filled with lukewarm water. Hold the boots in such a way so that much of the boot is in the water without any of it actually getting inside the boot.
Once the water permeates all the way from the outside into the inner sole, you can take them out of the water. Wear them around for the rest of the day to ensure that custom-perfect fit. If they are particularly damp, you might want to put a plastic bag around your socked foot first.
• If it’s only your toe box that’s a little tight, then icing your boots can help – assuming your freezer is big enough. Fill a little over half a gallon-sized bag with water, and then seal it tightly without any air getting caught inside.
Place the bag inside the toe box of your boot, and then place some balled-up paper or fabric behind it to make sure it stays put. Do this with both boots, and then leave them in freezer overnight. As the water freezes into ice it will expand, gently stretching out your boot toe box.
• Be confident! Cowboy boots are not a low-key fashion item – they stand out so they should always be the focal point of an outfit and only worn by someone who can handle the extra attention they’ll garner.
• For a casual look that will also fit the history of the cowboy boots, pair them with jeans! The easiest way is to wear a pair of straight-leg or skinny jeans that can be tucked into the shaft of your boots. This will be very comfortable, and will also show off your boots perfectly.
• If you’re really set on showing off your cowboy boots for women, wear them with a pair of cropped jeans! This can look especially great with boots that hit a little lower than the mid-calf.
• For a more understated look that can work with a looser pair of pants, wear your pants over your cowboy boots instead. Only the foot part of the boot will show, which might even allow you to get away with Western boots at the office.
• Speaking of, most cowboy boots will not work at a business or business casual environment with the exception of some of the sleeker designs. If your boots have a lower shaft, less embellishment and a more feminine heel, then you might be able to combine them with work outfits.
• One of the most gorgeous ways of wearing cowboy boots for women is a more bohemian style, with a long and loose flowing skirt or dress. This will make for a perfect early Americana-crossed-with-hippie look. Add a suede jacket to complete the effect.
• Cowboy boots can be easily worn over leggings, but just make sure to give the whole ensemble an autumnal feel with the help of an oversized sweater.
• High heeled cowboy boots are great for a night out! Cowboy boots with higher heels and shorter shafts can work well with clubby evening dresses, so don’t feel like they’re a daytime-only option.
• Be a country princess à la Taylor Swift in a feminine summer dress. This is a perfect hot weather look, though if it gets cold in the evening you can throw on a denim jacket that will help tie the look together.
• While opting for jackets with tassels or fringe might seem like a natural choice, we suggest you buck the trend and instead wear trench coats and sporty-style coats with your cowboy boots. Fashion doesn’t force you to be traditional, quite the opposite – we believe it’s better to mix and match!
• Don’t be afraid of wearing prints with cowboy boots. While plaid or paisley might feel like an easy choice, you can try all kinds of patterns especially these days when clashing patterns is on-trend.
• You can give your Western boots a country-rock twist (especially if you’ve opted for a more punk rock pair) by wearing them with a casual ensemble that includes a leather jacket in a black or dark brown shade.
• While you may be tempted to wear your cowboy boots with a pair of ultra-short daisy duke shorts, we think that look is just a little too obvious to the point that it’s mundane.
To enjoy the gorgeous look of your cowboy boots for a longer period of time, especially if it’s a pair of expensive designer cowboy boots, make sure you care for them appropriately!
Condition Your Western Boots
Leather is a type of skin, and much like our own skin it needs to be moisturized. Conditioning your cowboy boots is very important (unless they are suede, in which case you want to go a different root).
In addition to keeping the leather of your cowboy boots soft and supple, conditioning will also help waterproof them and protect them from dust by sealing any cracks in the leather. Use a boot conditioner that is lanolin-based, since other oils will discolor your boots. You can also use mink oil, but we believe lanolin is a more animal-friendly choice.
To start off, make sure your cowboy boots are clean before you condition them! We’ll go into detail about cleaning leather cowboy boots further down. Before you start, keep in mind that the leather conditioner might darken your boots a little bit. With dark brown or black boots this is usually okay, but you might want to patch test a small part if you have light brown or white boots.
To apply the leather conditioner, pour it onto a soft rag and rub it in gentle circles, making sure to cover the whole boot from sole to shaft. The leather will soak up the conditioner pretty quickly, so you might find yourself having to reapply more and more to the rag as you move along. Once you’re done it, let the cowboy boots absorb as much of the oil as they can by leaving them to rest overnight.
Waterproofing Spray for Suede Cowboy Boots
The key to keeping a pair of suede Western boots looking amazing for as long as possible is to proof them against damage in the first place, which makes a waterproofing spray indispensable. Our favorite silicone polymer waterproofing spray is Crep Protect, which is available at Nordstrom, since it works for both regular leather and for suede boots. Forcefield from Amazon is another great option.
To use it, put your cowboy boots on some old newspapers in a well-ventilated area, and spray them down from about a foot away. Let the spray dry down, and after about 30 minutes spray your boots again with a second coat.
You should spray the cowboy boots down every few months or so.
Polish Is the Secret for Shine!
A boot polish with wax will give your cowboy boots some new life, especially if you’ve already been wearing them quite a bit. To get them glowing, pick up a boot wax or polish made primarily of wax and lanolin, or a similar oil.
You can choose a polish in a similar color to your boots, or opt for a colorless option. Remember that even a neutral shoe polish may darken lighter leather.
With a rag or a soft sponge, rub the polish into your cowboy boots in gentle circular motions, similar to the way you apply your conditioning oil.
Light Cleaning for Western Boots
Chances are that if you’re reading this article you do not intend to wear a $1000 pair of fashionable women’s cowboy boots to the farm, so realistically your boots will only need a touch of cleaning. It is generally best to keep water away from your boots (it is critical if they are suede!), and to clean them with a gentle brush or a dry rag instead.
Rub them with a dry rag to get rid of dust, while for dried mud or dirt use a dry brush instead. An old toothbrush is the perfect size for getting into and cleaning the seams of your cowboy boots.
If your Western boots require more serious cleaning or if they have some small stains, you can lightly dampen your brush or a sponge and load them up with a small amount of shoe-cleaning soap. Scrub only at the spots where there are stubborn stains, and once you are done, use a damp rag to blot away the soap.
Finish off with a wipe of a drag cloth, and then let the cowboy boots dry. Once you’re done cleaning, it’s a good idea to recondition your boots.
Photos via @collagevintage, @bartabacmode, @asliceopi, @janicejoostemaa, @xeniaadonts, @black_palms, @belenhostalet, @mikutas, @jourdansloane, @aylin_koenig, @tamara, @thefashionguitar