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Buying Ladies’ Western Boots: Tips on Choosing the Perfect Pair of Cowboy Boots Based on Comfort, Safety and Style

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Download your FREE report on western riding boots from MyHorse Daily and discover tips on choosing the best fit and form, whether you’re looking for wide calf equestrian boots or Lucchese boots.

MyHorse Daily Managing Editor Amy Herdy

MyHorse Daily Managing Editor Amy Herdy

The first time I saw that red pair of cowboy boots, I literally did a double take and then froze in my tracks. I was supposed to be just walking by, as I was on a drop-in, drop-out mission of clothes shopping with an uncooperative 15-year-old male. Definitely not boot shopping.

“Oh, no, you don’t,” the teenager said, tugging on my arm, but it was too late: I already had one of them in my hand: A Frye cowboy boot, in burnt red. And at that point, I had never bought a pair of cowboy boots in my life. Let alone red ones. But these were an understated red, not a “look at me, I’m wearing red cowboy boots!” red, but a soft and elegant looking shade that said, “I’m not afraid of a pop of color.”

Ariat/Gypsy Soule Western riding boot

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I grew up riding hunter-jumper. I was a tall, black-leather riding-boot-wearing woman who would never consider ladies Western wear or wearing cowboy boots…until that moment.

So why the change? Well, they say when a woman changes her hair, she wants to change her life. Maybe the same goes for a radical preference in boots. At the time I found my red boots, I was at a job I didn’t particularly like. Cowboys are courageous. Red is bold. The combination in a pair of red cowboy boots clearly said, “It’s time to make a change!”

After all, I was literally following in some historically hard-charging footsteps.

Want an Easy Guide to Choosing Western Riding Boots That Fit?

Buying Ladies' Western BootsFind out why your boot's heel design, sole construction and lining material are all factors that contribute to your comfort and style. Our FREE Guide, Buying Ladies' Western Boots, breaks down these considerations in an easy how-to guide to help you with your next purchase.

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Genghis Khan wore red boots with a tall wooden heel-the forerunner to the cowboy boot, perhaps? And he had his entire cavalry wear heeled boots, because the heels were needed to keep the rider’s feet in the stirrups. At any rate, it apparently became part of a trend that a man who wore heeled boots had status; clearly he was wealthy enough to own horses.

Fast forward to just after the civil war. According to the Kansas Historical Society website, one of the first major companies to make cowboy boots began in Kansas, and this is what they say about it:

The Hyer Boot Company was founded circa 1880 by brothers Charles and Edward Hyer. As boys they learned boot making from their father, William, a German immigrant who began practicing shoemaking after he came to the United States in the mid-1800s. Charles moved to Olathe in 1872 where he found work at the Olathe School for the Deaf teaching shoe and harness making. He opened a small cobbling shop on the side and hired his brother Edward to help him run it.

Inventing the Cowboy Boot

Tradition credits Charles Hyer as one of the first to invent the cowboy boot. Company promotional materials state that a Colorado cowboy stopped by the Hyer shop on his way home from the Kansas City stockyards in 1875, requesting a new pair of boots that were different from his Civil War-style boots. He wanted a boot with a pointed toe that would slide more easily into a stirrup, a high, slanted heel that would hold a stirrup, and a high top with scalloped front and back so he could get in and out of his boots more easily. Charles accepted the challenge. The unknown cowboy was so pleased with Hyer’s work that he returned to Colorado and told others about his new riding boots.

The brothers employed mostly immigrant craftsmen from Germany, Sweden and Poland during the early years. They made cowboy boots for cattlemen, rodeo performers and movie stars such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Tom Mix, Will Rogers, and Gene Autry. To reach potential customers further west and across the ocean, the company created mail-order catalogues with measuring charts. During World War I, the Hyers made riding boots for the officers at Fort Leavenworth and at Camp Funston. In 1961, governors from the 49 other states were outfitted with Hyer boots courtesy of Governor John Anderson. The boots were presented as part of the traditional exchange of gifts between governors during the annual Governor’s Conference.

Know Before You Buy! Tips on Finding Your Western Riding Boots.

Buying Ladies' Western BootsToday's Western boots are not the same animal as those made even a few years ago. With new high-tech innovations competing against traditional leather soles, how do you know which boot is best for you? Our FREE guide, Buying Ladies' Western Boots, helps you find your perfect pair of boots that'll suit your style. Click the button below and we'll send you a download link to your copy of this FREE guide and we'll also notify you by email whenever we post new tips!

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And then, of course, cowboys became a symbol of the can-do, macho American West, and no one epitomized that better than John Wayne.

Reportedly, John Wayne wore Lucchese boots, which, according to their website, have a rich history, as well:

“It was 1880 when Sam Lucchese Sr. and his brothers came to America. Although he was just 17 years old, the young Lucchese had a vision for a career in bootmaking, and just three years later, the Lucchese Boot Company was established in San Antonio, Texas.”

In the 1960s, the website says, the founder’s grandson took over, and now:

“No other boot fits the human foot like a Lucchese boot, thanks to Lucchese’s original design, which remains the only one of its kind in bootmaking today. And because of a continuing commitment to this rare art, the making of a Lucchese boot takes time. From the careful selection and cutting of the finest grade of leathers, to the hand-driven lemon wood pegs and meticulous finishing of a boot, each step is considered critical to our finished product. Our boot designs may demand more money, time and skill, but when you slip your foot into a Lucchese boot, you’ll know why we insist on only the finest.”

Pick Your Perfect Pair of Western Boots with Our FREE Guide

Buying Ladies' Western BootsChoosing a good pair of western riding boots is sometimes harder than picking out horse shoes! But with our FREE guide, Buying Ladies' Western Boots, we examine construction, safety, comfort and style to help you with your next purchase.

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But I digress. So what happened to the red Frye cowboy boots, you ask?

Yes, I did buy them, after stalking them for several months while waiting for them to go on sale, staying focused on my mission like a hunter going after prize game.

And what do you know—shortly after I bought them, I changed jobs, to one that I love and I’m more suited to. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

So if you’re looking to change your life, maybe, just maybe, you could start with a pair of cowboy boots.

Amy Herdy
Amy Herdy
MyHorse Daily Managing Editor

Never Choose Between Fashion vs. Function Again

Buying Ladies' Western BootsYou don't have to compromise craftsmanship, fit and style to find your perfect pair of Western boots. Remember, you'll never get a second chance to make a first impression, so use our FREE guide, Buying Ladies' Western Boots, to help you create a winning impression wherever you go!

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