Cowboy boots were, as the name implies, originally created for cowboys. They got their start during the Civil War drawing from the design of the cavalry boots that were worn by soldiers. Later the cattlemen in the big ranching states like Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma went to boot makers and requested alterations to their boots in order to better accommodate the conditions they worked in. The two most popular creators of cowboy boots during the 1870s and 80s were Justin of Justin Boots in Spanish, Fort Texas (also known as "Big Daddy Joe") and Mr. Charles Hyer of Hyer Brothers Boots in Olathe, Kansas.
Cowboy boots have a distinct style and shape. They are constructed with a high shaft, a high heel, a rounded or pointed toe and no lacing or zippers at all. The first cowboy boots were constructed of plain leather but over the course of time the have evolved into more of a fashion statement with decorative stitching, punched designs and even cutouts in the high tops. Today many people enjoy the feel as and look of wearing cowboy boots and they can be purchased in almost any color or design you can imagine. Most cowboy boots are still made from leather but some are fashioned from more exotic animals such as alligators, snakes, and even eel.
When looking for a great fitting pair of cowboy boots it is important to understand that cowboy boots do not fit the way other shoes do. Be sure to do your cowboy boot shopping (and any kind of shoe shopping) after lunch since feet expand throughout the day. It is also important to have your feet measured by the shoe salesperson. Cowboy boots purchased in the morning will end up being too tight by the end of the day. If you purchase them after a long day of work, the opposite is true; they will be much too loose in the morning. Everyone has one foot that is slightly larger than the other, so it is strongly advised that you have both of your feet measured for cowboy boots to ensure a proper fit.
For optimum comfort you should choose the toe shape that is most compatible with your foot shape. Rounded or slightly boxy toes provide the most room and comfort and should be chosen by anyone with foot trouble. A pointier toe may be more fashionable in some cases, but do not choose this style if it causes you foot pain.
If you have a high instep you may have problems finding a pair of cowboy boots that fit comfortably and do not bind. One option for women with this problem is to purchase a pair of cowboy boots in either the boy's or men's department. The same advice applies for those with wide feet. Usually, women's shoes and boots are made with a width and men's with a D width.
The next thing to take into consideration is the heel height. Cowboy boots come in a wide range of heel heights from almost flat to several inches tall. If you have flat feet or back pain you will do best with a low heel, too flat or too tall will increase your pain. A lower heel is also a consideration for a more casual look and a higher heel is dressier.
Once you have considered all the information above it is time to try the boot on. Begin by rolling up your pant leg to just below the knee and then grabs the tabs at the top of the boot with one hand on each tab and then pull the boot on. The boot should slide easily and the shaft should not rub against the leg when you walk (this could cause blistering). You should be able to wiggle your toes slowly and the heel should not slide up and down when you walk, but also should not be too restraining.
There you have it. You now have all the information you need to make an educated cowboy boot purchase. You should easily be able to find a boot to fit your fashion sense and your foot in comfort and style.