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Are Cowboy Boots Good for Your Feet? Plus 6 Buying Tips

Last updated: November 21, 2023

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

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Cowboy boots, a stylish staple in many wardrobes, often raise questions about comfort and foot health. Contrary to popular belief, cowboy boots can be both fashionable and comfortable if chosen correctly. However, for individuals with foot conditions like plantar fasciitis or flat feet or those with back problems, standard cowboy boots with narrow-toe boxes, high heels, and stiff materials may not be ideal.

In this article, we’ll explore the potential drawbacks of cowboy boots for foot health and provide practical buying tips to ensure comfort and style. We’ll also discuss how to select cowboy boots with better-fitting features, such as tapered tips and flexible leather, and suggest the best socks to pair with them for maximum comfort.

feet1 edited

Do Cowboy Boots Hurt Your Feet?

Cowboy boots were initially made for western cowboys to endure the harsh outdoors and farm work while riding horses for a long time. So, they may not be the most comfortable for everyday urban use.

I suffer from persistent plantar fasciitis pain in my heels. I typically wear cowboy boots daily and don’t find them any less comfortable than other footwear.

But I switch up my footwear throughout the day and avoid always wearing the same boots. The boots I find most comfortable are my Amos Ariats.

They are made with Ariats’ shock shield technology, which provides shock absorption for your heels. I wasn’t sure if it would make a difference, but it does help my feet.

The structure of most cowboy boots makes them an unsuitable choice for your feet, especially if you have conditions like bunions and plantar fasciitis. Here is an article you may find helpful: Best Cowboy Boots for Men and Women With Plantar Fasciitis

However, if you insist on getting a pair of cowboy boots, you don’t need to sacrifice comfort for beauty. Here’s what could make them uncomfortable and what you can do to avoid them:


Most boots don’t provide enough arch support, given their flat soles. The inner soles should be soft and wide to provide good arch support. The outer soles should be leather or rubber to provide smoothness and flexibility. You can’t use custom orthotics or metatarsal pads due to the rigid construction of most cowboy boots.


Cowboy boots don’t have laces, which causes heel slippage, which could lead to painful blisters. Most traditional cowboy boots have a tall shaft instead of laces covering the shins’ middle point.

While they can protect your legs from thorns, rocks, or other harmful things while walking in the wild, boots without laces slip while you walk. The lace-free design makes cowboy boots perfect for riding horses because laces might get stuck in the saddle.

However, they’re not ideal for walking. When you try on the boots and experience slippage, you may decide to buy a smaller pair, which could cause compression and more pain and discomfort.

Toe Boxes

If the cowboy boots have pointed toe boxes, they’ll pressure your forefoot. This triangular shape can’t accommodate the natural shape of our feet. It’s particularly harmful to your feet if you have bunions, hammertoe, or Morton’s neuroma

However, your toes will have more room if you go for boots with round or square tips. So, make sure to buy the right boots to avoid discomfort caused by the wrong toe size. I typically like to wear round toe ropers; they provide ample room in the toe box and have low heels, making them easy to walk in and comfortable to wear all day.

picture of my round-toe roper style cowboy boots,


If the boots have heels over 2 inches (5 cm), they can hurt your feet. When you wear high-heeled boots, they deflect the weight focused on the forefoot and rearfoot, leading to pain and irritation. 

Plus, cowboy boots with high heels often have narrow and inflexible outsoles, unlike boots with standard heels with square tips. However, wearing the right heel size boots can alleviate the Achilles tendon’s stress and the back heel.

Should You Wear Socks With Cowboy Boots?

When it comes to wearing socks, cowboy boots are no different than other shoes. First, you don’t want your feet to get moist and stinky in those boots. Socks help keep your feet dry by controlling sweating and absorbing moisture. In addition to creating a foul odor, sweat bacteria can lead to foot fungi. 

Plus, wearing socks prevents blisters by creating a barrier between the boot and the skin. Without socks, your feet rub against the boot, causing raw spots. Although you may think socks are too thin to act as a cushion, they create a pad that reduces pressure on your feet and soles.

So, the verdict definitely favors wearing socks with cowboy boots. But what kind of socks are right for cowboy boots? Here’s what to look for:

  • Material: Socks come with all kinds of materials suitable for different purposes. Wool, acrylic, and cotton are the best materials to absorb moisture. Nylon is durable but doesn’t do a great job of absorbing moisture. Plus, it may increase moisture by making your feet sweat more.
  • Length: If the boots have a long shaft, wearing tall socks is better to create a protective cover against the shaft and prevent rubbing. It may not be the best choice fashion-wise, but it helps boost comfort.

Is It Bad To Wear Boots Every Day?

If you’re a cowboy boots veteran, you may be comfortable wearing them daily, especially if you have several pairs. It’s a good idea to rest your boots every two or three days to avoid moisture and odor buildup. This way, you help them increase their durability.

When it comes to fashion, you may not want to wear them every day unless you live in Texas. It’s not a good idea to have your boots on when you go to work since it’s a bold fashion choice.

However, many styles of boots look good with slack and suits. You just have to be bold and choose the right type of boots. I wrote a post you may find helpful: Good-Looking Cowboy Boots You Can Wear With a Suit or Slacks.

Cowboy boots aren’t an ideal choice of footwear when it comes to hiking. The lack of traction and high heels make them uncomfortable and unstable in the wild. Plus, the lack of proper cushioning can be harsh on your feet after a few miles of walking.

However, there are boots designed to wear when riding horses and are also suitable for hiking. These boots are not typical cowboy boots; they have soles with grip and laces.

Wearing boots isn’t typically good for your foot health, especially for long walks. No matter how comfortable your cowboy boots are, they can’t replace a good pair of walking shoes.

If you work in an environment that requires steel toes or protective leather boots, there are some excellent cowboy boots. You must select a good-fitting pair made with flexible materials, square toe boxes, and a sole with traction.

Picture of my Ariat Workhog steel-toe cowboy boots,

Here are my choices: 5 of the Very Best Cowboy Work Boots – Square Toe. These boots provide excellent protection and are designed to be comfortable enough to wear them all day if needed.

Tips To Consider When Buying Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots don’t have to be uncomfortable, as their reputation goes. If you consider the following tips before shopping, you can count on them as your go-to choice:

  1. When picking your cowboy shoes online, read the manufacturer’s size chart carefully. Please pay close attention to the toe shapes, soles, and heels to make sure they’re your fit. Remember not to go for heels over 2 inches (5cm). Please read the reviews to make sure they’re comfortable and durable.
  2. If you get them at a retail store, try them on while wearing the socks you plan to wear with your boots. Since cowboy boots don’t stretch a lot, ensure the shoes fit perfectly, or you’ll be stuck with ill-fitting shoes. However, they shouldn’t be too wide, or they’ll slip out easily. Try on different pairs to find your perfect size.
  3. Scrutinize the insoles to make sure they’re smooth. It will significantly help with comfort.
  4. The instep should fit perfectly, not too loose, not too tight.
  5. The material should be breathable while giving proper protection against rain and moisture. Fine leather is softer but may not have support at the arch and ankles.
  6. Finally, consider your foot and back problems before buying these boots. If you have bunions, wide feet, or plantar fasciitis, cowboy boots may not be the best option as they might worsen your problems.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to wearing cowboy boots, your foot health is the most important thing, not beauty and fashion. So, if you have foot problems, ensure they fit correctly, have low heels and proper arch support, or stay away from cowboy boots entirely.

Boots may hurt your feet due to their stiff material and pointy tips. So, look for those that taper at the tips and have the right size heels. If you don’t want to wear your boots daily, you may find high-heeled ones attractive. They give you a good posture and a perfect style for a night out.