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Most of our family and friends wear cowboy boots, and when a group of us get together, we inevitably discuss boot brands and argue about which is the best. So I decided to research boots and identify the best brand for horseback riding.
The best cowboy boots for horseback riding are Justin ropers, closely followed by Ariats and Lucchese ropers. All three of these boot makers design high-quality riding boots, and they stand behind their products with outstanding customer service.
Many people choose cowboy boots based on brand loyalty; however, there is a lot to choosing the right pair of boots for horseback riding, and the brand is just one consideration.
Update: I recently started riding in Tecovas “The Doc” boots, pictured above. They are exceptionally comfortable and well made. So far, so good, they are impressive cowboy boots, and check all the boxes you need in a good pair of riding boots. I’ll write more about them after I’ve ridden in them for six months.
The best pair of cowboy boots for horseback riding.
Justin Boots are the Best Cowboy Boot Brand for Horseback Riding. Our family has ridden horses with many different boot brands, and it seems we agree on Justin’s as our favorite brand for horseback riding.
Justin Boot Company is an established bootmaker.
The Justin family started making boots over 120 years ago. Through their hard work and high-quality designs, the company grew into one of America’s most successful boots companies. The standards applied to establish its brand in the 1880s continue today.
Justin Boots perfected the roper-style boot.
Justin may not have invented the “roper” boots, but they did perfect the design. The “roper” is based on boots worn in the early 19th century by the Duke of Wellington.
He had his military-issued Hessian boots modified with soft calf leathers, a one-inch heel, and a mid-calf shaft, in other words, the modern-day “roper.”
The Justin Roper is a classic; it has a 10-inch shaft and is made of soft kipskin leather. Kipskin is leather that comes from young cattle older than a calf but not a grown cow.
The quality of the leather is considered to be between finer calfskin and coarser cowhide. It has a 1 1/8 inch heel to fit a stirrup safely but is still short enough for comfortable walking.
It’s not only the heel that makes these boots comfortable, but it is also the unique insoles. The J-Flex Flexible Comfort System® insoles are a unique feature that provides additional comfort for walking.
I like to ride in cowboy boots made with leather soles. The smoothness of the leather sole allows me to slide my feet in and out of the stirrup, much more natural than rubber or composite soled boots. Justin ropers have a nice durable but flexible leather sole.
Justin ropers are the perfect riding boots.
I’ve been wearing Justin ropers for years, and some have lasted through numerous resolings and still look new. If you have any problems with your boots, Justin will stand behind their product.
I’ve never had a reason to return my boots, but some of my friends have, and Justin replaced their boots with no questions asked. My favorite Justin Ropers are the Justin Classic Ropers # 3133; they are affordable and long-lasting boots.
Justin’s recently introduced a new line of ropers called Deerlite Ropers. These boots are exceptionally comfortable and lightweight. I can’t say much about their durability yet, but they look well made, and once I test them for a few months, I’ll supplement this article or write a review.
However, the Justin Ropers Equestrians are also very nice riding ropers; really, you can’t go wrong with any of the “ropers” offered by Justin. For the price, quality, and customer service, I prefer Justin to any other boot brand.
Here are links to my three favorite Justin Boots for sale on Amazon’s site so you can check their prices on Justin boots and also read their customer reviews:
You can click here to read our review of Justin Boots Men’s Ropers Equestrian Boot.
Honorable Mention- Lucchese Boot Company
Lucchese Boot Company makes a great horseback riding boot. They’ve been around since 1883 and are famous for making high-quality handmade boots.
Their “roper” line is perfect for horseback riding. It is a simple design that covers your basic needs while keeping your feet comfortable. Lucchese’s are made with superior leather or exotic skins. My wife owns a pair of Lucchese Ostrich skins that she loves.
But my favorite pair is the Lucchese calf ropers; they are made of smooth cowhide, have leather soles, a rounded toe, and a low heel. Everything I like about a boot: however, I rated Lucchese below Justins because the shaft is narrow in many of their boots.
A narrow shaft makes it hard to get your foot into their boots. The Lucchese calf ropers have a 15-inch opening, which is good, but most of their boots have a smaller diameter shaft.
The heel of a Lucchese roper is 1.5 inches tall, which is suitable for riding but not as comfortable for me as a slightly shorter heel. Another negative is the company offers a line of boots on Amazon that are inferior to the ones sold at stores or directly from Lucchese.
The line of boots sold on Amazon are exceptional boots for the price, but you need to be aware of the difference in boots when you are comparing prices.
I’ve researched these boots extensively, but it’s a good practice to learn as much as possible about a product before spending your money. Here is a link to Amazon reviews so you can read what other customers have to say about their Lucchese boots.
Why we choose “Ropers” for horseback riding
My favorite style of boots for horseback riding is “ropers.” There are a couple of reasons I prefer ropers; first, they have a shorter shaft than traditional cowboy boots.
The shaft of a roper typically rises two to three inches above your ankles, as opposed to mid-calf in traditional boots. Boots with short shafts are cooler, easier to slide your foot into, and less cumbersome when walking.
The downside is you have a smaller portion of your lower leg protected when riding. But since we live in such a hot climate, I favor the short shaft over the traditional shaft length.
“Ropers” typically have a one-inch heel which is closer to standard shoe heels. Because of the similarity in height to a regular shoe heel, the “roper” style boot is more comfortable for walking than regular cowboy boots.
However, the heel is not so short that it fails to fit the stirrup of the saddle safely. Ropers come in a variety of soles, depending on your preference. You can purchase ropers with rubber, composite, or leather soles. For riding, I prefer leather soles because they don’t grip the stirrup.
Traditional “ropers” have a round toe, but they can also be purchased in square-toe designs. I like round-toed boots, but for practical purposes, there is no difference.
Ariat Amos cowboy boots
But overall, these may be my new favorite riding boots. They have a sole with decent traction, so when you’re not riding, you’re not slipping. But the sole isn’t so thick that it’s difficult to get in and out of a stirrup.
The shank is higher than a traditional roper but not by much, and it’s made with the new shock shield technology for added heel comfort. I definitely recommend these boots for riding and general use.
Below is a YouTube video that discusses horse riding boots.
Will my cowboy boots stretch?
Yes, cowboy boots are made to stretch and form to the shape of your feet. I wrote an article on this topic you may find helpful to read before buying a pair of cowboy boots: Do Cowboy Boots Stretch and Mold to Your Feet?