How Should Cowboy Boots Fit? A Guide to Choosing the Right Size

Are you planning to buy cowboy boots but do not have any idea about how they fit? Fret not! This article will walk you through the steps on how to choose the right size of cowboy boots.

When I am shopping for new cowboy boots, it is really important to me that I am aware of how they fit. That is because cowboy boots do not have laces that allow me to adjust the fit. Some models also tend to be larger or smaller than my usual size, which leads to loose or tight-fitting boots.

That is why I made it a point to research cowboy boots sizing. In this article, I will walk you through the necessary details you should know, so you can pick the right pair of boots. These include the proper cowboy fit, the importance of wearing the right size, and other essential facts.

So, without further ado, let us get on with the article!

How Should Cowboy Boots Fit?

You want your new pair of cowboy boots to be fairly snug. A half inch of slippage at the heel is usually acceptable. They should not be so tight that you lose circulation throughout the day. There should be enough room to move your toes. It’s good to also make sure that the balls of your feet do not exceed the widest section of the cowboy boot.

However, it is essential to note that buying cowboy boots is not as easy as looking for other shoes, such as sandals or sneakers. You have done the latter multiple times, so it should not take too much thought when finalizing your purchasing decision.

But when it comes to cowboy boots, you might want to decide carefully. The reason behind this is the sturdy and tough exterior of these types of boots. That means you cannot rely on common techniques, like pressing on the toe box, to determine if there is enough space inside the shoes. You need to find other methods to ensure the boots fit you properly. 

One effective way to determine if the cowboy boots fit is to familiarize yourself with their different parts.

Continue reading on to learn how each part should fit and feel.


The instep refers to the upper section of your foot that is located between your ankle and toes. It is a significant factor in determining if the cowboy boots have a comfortable fit or not. That is because these types of boots lack laces and side zippers. Hence, it is essential to get the right fit of the instep area.

When trying out cowboy boots for the first time, it is normal to feel some heel slippage. This heel slip will go away over time when the leather loosens and softens up. Just make sure that the slippage should not exceed half an inch. If it does, that simply means your cowboy boots are too big.

At the same time, the instep should not be too tight that it already cuts the circulation of air to your foot. You will know if is too tight if you feel pain and discomfort after wearing your chosen pair of cowboy boots for a few hours. In this case, it is best to invest in a pair of wider cowboy boots. Consider E, EE, or even an extra wide EEE if you have broader feet.


After the instep, you should consider the ball of the cowboy boots. It is the widest part of the boots where the ball of your foot is. Hence, this area usually bends when you are taking a step. 

If you want to ensure the boot fits, you can match the ball of your foot to the widest part of the boots. When it matches, it is most likely that the cowboy boots can fit you.

However, this is only one way to determine the proper fit. It is still important to try the boots on and see if it is comfortable to wear. You should also make sure that the shoes are flexible enough to allow your feet to bend.


Classic cowboy boot Calf

Classic cowboy boots are unique for their tall shaft that usually reaches the calf. The reason behind this tall height is to protect your feet from mud and other elements as you work around the farm.

However, not all boots have the same space on the calf. Some are big while others have a small wiggle room. This space also does not depend on whether you have narrow feet or not.

Hence, it is important to look into this factor when shopping for new cowboy boots. Make sure the wiggle room is half an inch or two inches at maximum. You should also ensure that there is no noticeable slippage when wearing the shoes.

If you want to keep the calf of the boots inside your jeans, it is best to choose a pair of cowboy boots with a narrow width.

Pull Tab

As their name suggests, pull tabs help you pull up the cowboy boots, so you can put your feet inside easily. Hence, they are very useful when you are trying on your new pair of boots.

Make sure that you do not exert too much effort when pulling up the boots. If the pull tab requires too much effort, it is likely that the shoes are small or narrow for you. You should avoid putting too much pressure on pull tabs because they can rip off.

Toe Box

Toe Box

The last part of the cowboy boots you should look into is the toe box. It is the area of the shoes that cover the toes and the front part of your foot. The toe box is often hard and stiff due to the leather material. Hence, the toe-press method to determine the fit of the boots will not work effectively. It can actually damage the toe box if you use too much pressure.

Instead, try fitting cowboy boots on in-store. If your toe touches the boot or you feel uncomfortable, opt for a larger or wider pair. You might also want to consider the toe style of the boots because not all types are appropriate for the length of your toes.

For instance, square-toed leather boots can feel cramped and uncomfortable to those with long toes. Meanwhile, pointed-toe leather boots can cause friction on the edges. Hence, they might not be ideal for those with wide feet and toes that are spread out.

But when deciding, all you need to remember is that if you feel the slightest inconvenience on your toes, simply get a different pair.

Why Do You Need to Wear the Right Size of Cowboy Boots?

By now, you probably have a basic idea of how should cowboy boots fit. But you might also be curious about the importance of buying the right size.

The first benefit of wearing the correct size is to ensure that your feet feel comfortable throughout the day. If you wear boots that are too large or small for your feet, you can feel discomfort and pain.

Another advantage of getting the proper boot fit is that you decrease the risk of injuries and other complications. There is no need to worry about experiencing neuropathy, foot deformities, and even ingrown toenails, which you often get from wearing ill-fitting boots. 

How to Find the Correct Size of Cowboy Boots?

Start by measuring the cowboy boots from the heel to the longest toe mark to find the correct size. Take note of the length in inches. Then, compare the measurement to the boot size guide of the manufacturer. If you get a value that is between two sizes, you can order the larger size to ensure more comfortable wear. 

Besides measuring, it is also essential to familiarize yourself with the material. Doing so makes it easy to know how much allowance you need to break in your new cowboy boots.

How to Tell if the Cowboy Boots are Too Big?

If your heel is slipping at least half an inch, then the cowboy boots are too large for your feet. Another indicator that the shoes are big is if your ankle constantly knocks around the shoe interior.

But if you feel a little tightness at the upper part of the boots, you must be able to pop in your foot. That means the cowboy boots are just the right size.

How Long Does It Take to Break in Fit Cowboy Boots?

New cowboy boots are not comfortable to wear right away due to the stiff leather material. They can take anywhere from a week up to a month to break in.

Fortunately, there are several techniques you can try to help speed up the break-in period of cowboy boots. You can try applying a leather oil conditioner, using a boot stretcher, blow-drying, or even freezing the shoes.


Buying a new pair of cowboy boots is tricky at first due to several reasons. For one, they do not have laces or zippers that let you adjust the fit. Hence, you have to rely on the different parts of the boots to get the right size.

Hopefully, this article helped you in learning how cowboy boots should fit. Remember, though, that these shoes may take a few weeks to break in, so they might be uncomfortable to wear at first. But once they do, they can feel like a second skin because of how easy it is to slip them on.