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9 Common Types of Cowboy Boots

9 Common Types of Cowboy Boots

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No cowboy or cowgirl is complete without a trusty pair of cowboy boots. No matter for work, horseback riding, or special events, there is a style to meet your needs.

The most common types of cowboy boots are western, work, riding, roper, dress, stockman, buckaroo, walking, packer, and exotic. Though these styles share many similarities, they are also different in their own ways.

The first true cowboy boots that we know and love today came to be in the 1800s. They were inspired by the vaquero-styled boots the Spanish brought to the Americas in the 1600s.

From their humble beginnings, cowboy boots have grown to have bright colors, beautiful embroidery, and fashionable styles.

Here are nine types of cowboy boots.

1. Western

Leather western style of cowboy boot
Michael Kraus /

The original cowboy boot that is the father of all the other styles is the western boot. This classic style puts practicality and function first.

The western cowboy boot has 12-inch shafts and heels that are usually one to two inches tall. The toe on this style is typically round or pointed. They are commonly made from cowhide leather, but other types of leather can be used as well.

This style of cowboy boot was created for the working cowboy in mind. It is an ideal option for riding, working, or walking. Though functionality is first, this style can also feature decorative elements.

2. Work

Work type of cowboy boots
SchubPhoto /

Work cowboy boots are particularly designed for those who do ranch, construction, or oil work. They include many safety features to keep your feet protected as you work.

Oftentimes, they will have alloy or steel toes to protect your feet from heavy equipment. They generally have hardy rubber outsoles to provide traction in slippery conditions and protect you from electrical surges. In addition, they typically feature padded insoles and mesh linings to keep you comfortable for hours on end.

Work cowboy boots often have a bulkier build than other styles, so they typically are not a good choice for horseback riding. Since safety is the most important aspect of work boots, they generally do not have any decorative features. Most commonly they are made from leather and nylon.

3. Riding

Western horse riding boot type

To keep you safe and comfortable in the saddle, riding cowboy boots were created. They have a touch of traditional western style while having all the aspects you need for a good riding boot.

Western riding boots have a heel that is one to two inches in length that is generally not angled. Typically, they will have a round or square toe that will keep your feet comfortable. The style will come with cushioned insoles for comfort and rubber outsoles for traction.

Most riding boots are made from leather, making them durable and flexible. A good pair of riding boots should be comfortable and supportive, keeping your feet safe and secure in your stirrups. Some pairs may feature colorful shafts or decorative stitching to stand out in the show ring.

4. Roper

Womens Roper cowboy boots style
Womens Roper boots

Ropers are a great option for horse riders. The roper style grew in popularity when calf roping became an event at rodeos.

These practical cowboy boots were designed to be comfortable when chasing after calves when roping. To reduce the chance of the heel breaking during abrupt dismounts, they have a round toe and short, square heel. Roper boots also have a shorter shaft than traditional cowboy boots.

For additional comfort, roper boots also have a tighter fit around the ankle to provide better support when wrangling calves. They typically have padded insoles and durable rubber outsoles.

Roper boots are most commonly leather and generally have a simple design, though they may have some decorative stitching.

5. Dress

Wedding dress types of cowboy boots worn by women
James R Lowe /

When you are attending a formal event, such as a wedding or party, dress cowboy boots are the way to go if you want some western style. They put fashion above function, which means they are not a good option for riding or work.

Dress cowboy boots most commonly have pointed toes, though they can come in other toe styles as well. They often have taller heels that are angled for style, but are still practical enough for dancing.

As they are meant to make a fashion statement, dress cowboy boots come in all sorts of different colors and designs. They can be made of cowhide leather or exotic leathers such as snake or ostrich.

6. Stockman

Brown Stockman Ariat cowboy boots
Ariat Stockman Boots

The stockman is a versatile style that is great for work, horseback riding, or everyday wear. Durable and comfortable, they are built to last through any hard-working cowboy or cowgirl.

Stockmans offer a classic western look while being a great all-around option. They have a deeper scallop on the top of the shaft than other cowboy boot styles do. To keep your comfortable all day long, they offer excellent arch support.

Stockman boots have low, wide flat heels with non-slip rubber outsoles. They provide comfort and stability no matter what you are doing. The stockman style is traditionally leather and often features decorative stitching and even colorful shafts.

Also read: Are Cowboy Boots Comfortable to Wear?

7. Buckaroo

Buckaroo style of cowboy boot

Buckaroo cowboy boots are veristile and stylish. These boots feature bold shafts that you can tuck your jeans into to show them off. The shafts on buckaroo cowboy boots are generally 14 to 17 inches tall, which is taller than other styles. They typically have two-inch heels with pointed, square, or round toes.

Buckaroo boots have holes on the top of the shaft so you can easily pull them on and off. The shafts are often bright and colorful, with decorative stitching and embroidery. They are generally made of cowhide leather, but they can also be made of other types of leather as well.

8. Packer

Packer cowboy boot type

Packer boots date back to the 1800s and are somewhat a combination of riding boots and working boots. They are a very functional style and can be a good option for horseback riding.

Unlike traditional cowboy boots, packer boots generally feature laces. Thanks to their innovative design, packer boots offer great ankle support. They offer a heel that is one to two inches in height, along with a hardy rubber outsole for support and traction.

Packer boots are a versatile option and can be great for everyday wear. They provide top-notch support and comfort to keep you feeling good.

9. Exotic

Exotic cowboy boot made from snake skin

If you want to stand out in the crowd, then exotic cowboy boots are the way to go. The epitome of chic, exotic boots put fashion before all else.

Exotic boots come in different designs and toe styles, with pointed being the most popular. What makes exotic boots so unique is that they are made from different exotic leathers. Such leathers include alligator, emu, ostrich, snake, eel, deer, and lizard, among others.

Exotic boots are great for any occasion you want to dress up. They can also come in bright colors as well and feature decorative stitching.