Men's Cowboy Boot Guide (Types & Styles)

Classic cowboy boots have been a staple in a man's wardrobe since the 1800s when they were first used by cowboys during cattle drives. Cowboy boots serve many of the same functions today as they were originally designed for. However, one doesn't need to be on the homestead to own a pair. Cowboy boots, specifically a high quality pair from Soto Boots, make a great investment in your wardrobe due to timeless styling. And because cowboys boots like Soto Boots are hand crafted they can last decades if properly taken care of.

Types of Cowboy Boots

There are numerous options when it comes to picking out your first pair of western boots. Much depends on what you intend to use them for. Do you need a pair for for horse riding or do plan to do work in the field? Maybe your boots will never see the outdoors much and you only plan on wearing them at country night at the dance hall. Determining what you intend to use your cowboy boots for will help you pick out which category to look towards.

 Classic Cowboy Boots

Classic Cowboy Boots

These are traditional and iconic. They feature traditional Western designs, come in a variety of colors, toe shapes, and heels. Soto Boots offers many classic cowboy boot styles.

Roper Cowboy Boots

Roper Boots 

A highly versatile cowboy boot. These boots have a more round toe and a lower flat heel. They're great for walking and typically more practical for work. Our classic roper boots come in two great colors.

Work Cowboy Boots

Work Boots 

These boots have more technology like oil resistant materials and steel toes. Some like our Square Toe Work Boots  have rubber soles for slip resistance and comfortable insoles for being on your feet all day.

Biker Harness Boots

Harness/Biker Boots 

These are popular with those that own motorcycles. They're designed to protect a rider from the heat of exhaust pipes and engine. They also provide some protection from injury in case of an accident. Our Eagle Rider boots feature classic biker boot styling.

Chelsea Boots

Ankle Boots 

These feature a shorter shaft but often retain traditional western boot styling. Our Nubuck boots are an example of ankle boots.

Exotic Cowboy Boot

Exotic Cowboy Boots

Typically made of cowhide leather but inspired by prints of exotic animals for great visual appeal. Our Caiman Belly print boots look like expensive alligator leather but are actually cowhide.

Parts of the Cowboy Boot

There are several parts of a cowboy boot. Some key things to look for are:

  • Pull Straps - Used to help easily put on a pair of boots.
  • Interior Lining - Boots are usually lined leather or fabric to provide comfort and keep your feet warm in the winter or cool in the summer.
  • Boot Shaft - Traditional cowboy boots have a tall shaft that go up to about the mid-calf. This provides the best protection during riding or being out in the bush. Shorter boots are gaining popularity and are good for casual wear.
  • Heel - Traditional cowboy boots have a Cuban heel which is great for riding. Many boots today have a squared off heel which makes it easier for running or walking.
  • Welt - This is the method of how the upper part of the boots attaches to the sole. Most Soto Boots use Goodyear welting which is a tried and true method ensuring water resistance and a clean aesthetic. 
  • Sole - The bottom part of the boot which touches the ground. Many traditional cowboy boots use leather but many now use rubber which adds slip resistance. 
  • Toe: Toes are usually pointed, round, or square. We explore more about cowboy boot toes below. 
  • Vamp: The most visible part of the cowboy boot which comprises the front foot area. This usually has decorative elements like stitching. 
  • Insole: The interior part of the cowboy boot where your foot rests. Soto Boots uses a cushioned insole for ultimate comfort.

Cowboy Boot Toe Styles

  • Pointed Toes - Pointed toe cowboy boots come in two types. A J Toe has a sharp pointed toe that rounds out at the tip. A D Toe, also known as a Snip Toe, has a pointed flat tip. More traditional western boots feature pointed toes as they make it easier to slide a foot into a stirrup while riding a horse. Our Rio Grande boots are a great pointed toe cowboy boot.
  • Square Toes - More contemporary cowboy boots feature square toes. Some even have broad square toes which allow more room for those with wide feet. Our Square Toe Cowboy boots are a great example.
  • Round Toes - Round toe cowboy boots come in two types. An R Toe is tapered with a round tip. A roper toe is wider throughout and has a u-shape.


In summary, it's best to decide what you intend to do with your boots. Work, casual use, riding, etc. Then decide your individual style and what appeals to you. There are several boot manufacturers around and you can easily spend hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars on a pair of quality cowboy boots. Rest assured at Soto Boots you'll get a high quality pair of cowboy boots at an honest price.