Cowboy Boot Style Evolution

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Rodeo

I had to buy cowboy boots the other day, because it’s been a year or eight since I purchased a new pair. I wish I was kidding. A combination of more motherhood=less saddle time, owning a few pairs that I rotated through so none were too worn, and just not really stopping to consider the deteriorating condition of my footwear led to the large gap in boot buying sprees.

But it was time. I looked at styles online and noticed that trends have changed since my last boot purchase. Then I thought about how boots have changed since I was a kid. Have you stopped to ponder the changes in cowboy boot styles during the last thirty-five years or so? Quite a lot has changed during the lifetime of those of us who are too old to get carded when buying wine but too young for AARP. Here’s a recap of that style evolution.

Lace-up boots

You remember wearing these as a kid, right? Lace-up cowboy boots with the little fringed flap thing that stuck out over the toe at the bottom of the laces. Looking back, I just have to ask: Didn’t our parents know that wearing these was a great way to get a foot hung in the stirrup should we come off our horses? Was being dragged by a running horse not a thing back then?

cowboy boots

Nowadays, we widely acknowledge the dangers of wearing lace up boots or shoes while riding horses. So why was it acceptable in the ’90s? I guess the same reason skin-tight Wranglers were the go-to look for guys and everybody wanted a Garth Brooks t-shirt. We just didn’t know any better.

You know you wore a shirt like this. Or you dated someone who did. P.S. what would you call this look – pensive? Sultry? I just realized my extremely tight jeans split up the crotch and now I’m afraid to stand up? So many options.

Crepe sole 

Ah, the cushiony comfort of crepe sole cowboy boots. Leather on top, 2 inches of padded foam on the bottom. They were springy, spongy, and great for walking. Unless it was raining, then they were slicker than snot on a doorknob. I wore my crepe sole boots to college classes once during a rainstorm, then realized I better leave them at home if I didn’t want to end up slipping in a puddle and wiping out in the quad. Not a a good look for a freshman struggling to gain a toehold on the bottom rung of the social ladder.

cowboy boots

Snip toe

Okay, this is actually a trendy look. Snip toe boots still seem to be a popular option for ladies who want to go to town and look cute. They look sharp with a dress that shows off pretty tops, too. They’re not very practical for riding or ranch work, though. But then again, Junior Bonner rode broncs and bulls in his snip toe boots, and I’m pretty sure no one ever called him a cute lady. Because there’s always one cowboy in a continental suit, right?

Alright, I’ll stop with the cowboy culture references. Until the next one. Because I love them and you should, too.

cowboy boots

Cutter toe 

These are everywhere, and they’re awesome. Of course, that’s probably what previous generations said about lace up death traps, too. But seriously, they’re cute and practical. What more could a horse person want? I just ordered a pair in this style. Can’t wait till they get here and I can join the latest trend in cowboy fashion. Because my continental suit is on backorder and all.

cowboy boots


Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Rodeo

About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives near Montello, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit

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