Tips for Getting the Right Fit for Cowboy Boots

December 28, 2021

Whether you are going to the rodeo or line dancing at your local saloon, cowboy boots are indispensable, comfortable, and stylish footwear that comes in various styles. When looking for your latest pair of cowboy boots, you will need to consider a few factors that you would not normally consider when shopping for regular footwear. Here is how you can find the right fit for cowboy boots.

Row of stylish cowboy boots

Breaking In Cowboy Boots

Many high-quality cowboy boots need to be broken in overtime so they can naturally adjust to your foot anatomy. When you first try them on, they may feel stiff. Over time, cowboy boots will naturally feel more comfortable.

Cowboy boots can take just a week to a month to break in. If necessary, foot tape or Band-Aids can help prevent blisters while cowboy boots adjust to your feet. In some cases, cowboy boots can already feel broken in due to their flexible material and design. Shop Justin Boots with J-Flex Flexible Comfort System for boots that fit perfectly.

Size Down at First

We recommend trying on a pair of cowboy boots one size smaller than your normal shoe size. Cowboy boots tend to run a little larger than regular footwear. From there, you can go up or down a size to find the right size.

If you need a boot size between sizes, choose a larger boot size to be on the safe side. A larger size can prevent cramped toes and feet. You may need thicker socks or a thinner footbed to get the perfect fit.

Boots with american flag patch

Cowboy Boot Sizing

Finding the right boost size is essential to find a comfortable fit, even after extended periods of wear, whether riding out on horseback or dancing until the break of dawn. When shopping for cowboy boots, you will run across different sizing for men and women than other footwear.

Women’s boot sizes:

  • A – Narrow
  • B – Medium
  • C – Wide

Men’s boot sizes:

  • B – Narrow
  • D – Medium
  • EE – Wide

Remember that the sizes go from narrow to wide if you have trouble remembering the cowboy boot sizing system. A is the narrowest size. The further you get away from A, the wider the boot. Most people will feel comfortable in a boot with a medium width.

Woman putting on boot in stable

Trying On Cowboy Boots

We recommend going in-store to see if the cowboy boots fit. When trying out a new pair of boots from a sitting position, insert your foot into the boot’s shaft and use the pull tabs or holes on the side to push in your foot. The shaft refers to the upper part of the boot where your calf and shin rest.

Some boots will have pull tabs, while others will have holes used to pull the boot over the heel. Keep in mind, if you feel too much resistance when trying to fit your foot in, the boots may be too tight. Do not attempt to squeeze your foot in all the way, since you may damage the leather or yourself.

Here is where you will want to pay attention as your foot pushes through the point of resistance in the arch. As your foot pushes through, you will hear a subtle pop ensuring that your foot is firmly inside and in its proper place.

Heel Slip

Now you must consider the fit of the heel. Heel lift refers to the area between the insole and your heel. You will be able to slightly lift your foot due to the extra space between the arch and the toes, allowing for movement without being too loose.

A tiny bit of heel slippage is expected and preferred. If there is no slippage, the heel lift is too short. We recommend heel slippage between ⅛ inch and ½ inch. As you wear your boots out and about, the boot’s leather will adjust to the shape of your foot, and the excess slippage will reduce.

Ball of the Foot

When trying on cowboy boots, the widest part of the ball of your foot should be resting on the widest part of the boot’s outsole. This is the part of the boot that bends as you walk. If it is too short or too long, the widest ball of your foot can feel uncomfortable when walking.

Toe Box

The toe box refers to the area of the boot with your toes and the front of your foot. Here, you may think you need to press on the end of the boot to feel if there is enough toe space. When trying on cowboy boots, this will not tell you much since these boots usually are too stiff and have a point.

Avoid applying excessive pressure to the boots’ leather, which could damage the toe box. The best way to determine the proper fit in this area is to wiggle your toes around while standing. If they move freely without feeling too constricted, you have found the best fit.

Toe Shape

Narrow, square, round, and French toe shapes offer different fits and looks.

Narrow or snip toe shapes have a pointed toe and are perfect for narrow feet. They offer a sleek and classic look but can be too constricting for people with wider feet.

If you have wide feet like to have more wiggle room, or like the style of the toe shape, square and round toe shapes are modern shapes that offer maximum comfort. These are perfect for wearing every day out on the farm for extended periods.

A French toe shape is right between a square and rounded shape, with a slight taper that squares off at the tip. French toe boots offer a sharp and rugged look.


The instep on a boot refers to the part that goes over the top of your foot. This part should not be too snug or too loose and should feel like a firm handshake. If it is too tight, go for a wider size. If it is too loose, go narrower. Since you do not have any shoelaces, the instep should feel snug enough to feel secure over your feet.

Calf Size

Getting a boot with the perfect calf size is crucial but varies by person. A standard pair of cowboy boots will ride up the calf. The extra shaft height was designed to protect a rider’s legs from saddle chafing and brush and keep the foot from slipping through the stirrup.

However, people with big calves can have some trouble finding the right boot fit. When putting on cowboy boots, the space in the shaft will vary by person, which is fine as long as the foot and toe feel comfortable. Depending on a person’s calf size, they may have ½ inch or up to two inches of room.

Walk With the Boots

Put your boots into action in-store or at home by walking around and paying attention to the different aspects such as heel lifts, proper toe space, and plenty of instep room. When you try boots on, you should be wearing the types of socks you usually wear to ensure there is enough room in the boot. The thickness of the sock can affect if a boot feels too snug or loose.

Table full of boots

Shop Cowgirl and Cowboy Boots at Wilco Farm Stores

Complete your western look with men’s and women’s cowboy boots from the best boot brands, including Ariat, Durango, Justin Boots, Twisted X, Georgia Boot, and Tin Haul.

Wilco farm store is your one-stop shop for all your western wear needs, including boot socks, leather belts, cowboy hats, denim jeans, and, of course, the perfect pair of cowboy boots.

Show us your cowboy boot fit and how you style your shoes, use #mywilcolife on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and tag Wilco stores.