Finding the perfect western riding boots is an easy way to bring some needed style to a rider’s wardrobe – it certainly did wonders for me, especially during the rodeo season.
But certain trends within this market need following when picking your boots.
So I’ll walk you through several popular and out-of-style trends to help prevent issues.
But first, I must discuss western riding boots and their various styles to provide some necessary context!
Table of Contents
- Western riding boots are classified as a more casual type of western boot (pointed toe and cowboy heel). Their distinctive traits are a lower heel and decorative fringe/accessories.
- The most popular types of western boots include western riding, cowboy, work, roper, and buckaroo boots.
- Popular trends for western riding boots include pairing them with jeans, and bright-colored designs, wearing them with long skirts/dresses, sticking with the classic design, or using an entirely black color scheme.
- Out-of-style western riding boot trends include wearing them with leggings, creating an entire cowboy outfit in casual settings, matching with loud accessories, wearing them daily, or putting them under loose-fitting pants.
What Are Western Riding Boots?
The first thing to know about western riding boots is their classification. You can expect them to fall into the category of being a western boot (1).
So the primary traits of a western boot are a pointed toe and a cowboy heel. Most will be made from leather, but fabrics and synthetic materials have become more commonplace.
However, western riding boots offer some distinctive markers from the other types. The most obvious would be a lower heel to ensure walking with them is more comfortable.
As a result, western riding boots are often more casual than the other types. Another critical difference is many of them have decorative fringe or other accessories.
These little differences make them a popular item in the fashion world. It provides western riding boots with more personality than the other styles.
It’s also worth noting most people will call every western boot a “cowboy boot.” It’s prevalent with western riding boots as there is little difference besides the heel.
In some cases, brands will even market them without any distinctive labels. So a cowboy boot will be listed as a western riding boot and vice versa.
But don’t worry; I’ll discuss all the common types in our next section. So you’ll soon be okay with identifying what style is which when looking into buying western boots!
#1 Western Boot Styles
The western boot marketplace has various styles within it. But most of them fall into one of these five traditional styles:
- Riding Boots: A traditional option meant for riding and casual settings. The lower heel and decorative accessories are a dead giveaway compared to other types.
- Cowboy Boots: Very similar to western riding boots, but with a higher heel. This attribute is meant to help with riding.
- Work Boots: Explicitly designed to do work around the ranch much easier. It’s easy to pick them out due to the steel toe and slip-resistant sole.
- Roper Boots: Roper boots have the lowest heel among all western boots. You also notice that they’re shorter than either riding or cowboy styles.
- Buckaroo Boots: Buyers can expect buckaroo boots to have outlandish designs and a shaft longer than 14 inches. Their entire purpose is to draw attention.
Looking for the perfect boots for horseback riding? Check out our article on the best western boots for horseback riding. Want to know more about what are the different types of cowboy boots? We’ve got you covered. And don’t forget to read our guide on the best jeans to wear with cowboy boots to complete your western look.
5 Hot Western Riding Boot Trends
After learning all about western riding boots, it’s time to dive into the trends. These discussions will help you look as fashionable as possible when wearing them.
#1 Pairing Riding Boots With Jeans
People who want a casual look with their riding boots should pair them with jeans. It’s an easy way to bring the western style into a public setting without looking outlandish.
Furthermore, there’s a bit of versatility with this look. You can tuck the jeans or let them hang over the boots.
Both outfits will be more than acceptable in a casual setting. I prefer how they look when overhanging, but tucking them in is still fashionable.
Check out this lady styling her western boots:
#2 Bright Colored Boots
The colors of western boots have become more adventurous with time. So it’s unsurprising to see everyone rocking boots with bright colors everywhere.
It also makes a person’s eye more drawn to your boots. Therefore, it’s much easier to craft a simple outfit around them and let the boots make your fashion statements.
For instance, some red cowboy boots paired with black dresses or pair of jeans are a good look. It’s simple and lets your boots be the star.
#3 Wearing Them With Dresses or Long Skirts
It’s common to see girls wear boots with long skirts or dresses. After all, it’s an easy way to liven up a straightforward dress/skirt.
This combination is almost ready for any situation. So it’s no wonder why this trend continues to see a significant increase.
#4 Keeping it Classic
Sticking with classic cowboy boots is always a popular trend. Traditional western boots have been a staple for decades, and it isn’t by accident.
But classic cowboy and western riding boots have recently become more popular. I’d imagine it has to do with the Yellowstone being a hit. After all, “everybody wants to be Beth Dutton” (2).
In any case, there’s nothing wrong with rocking classic western riding or cowboy boots. It has gotten to the point where it’s even seen as a fashionable thing to do.
#5 Black Western Riding Boots
Black boots have seen a significant uptick in popularity. Considering how well black-on-black stitching looks on these boots, it doesn’t surprise me.
Moreover, matching an outfit with black boots is incredibly simple. You can even go the other route and use them to contrast a more vibrant accessory (don’t go too bold).
Given this info, anyone looking for versatile secondary footwear should consider them. Black cowboy boots end up being an effortless addition to most outfits.
Watch this video for more great tips:
If you’re planning a trip and want to bring your favorite cowboy boots, don’t forget to check out our videos on ‘how to pack cowboy boots in a suitcase‘ for some useful tips and tricks.
5 Out of Style Western Riding Boot Trends
Western and cowboy riding boots are clearly in style for 2023 (3). But there are outfits where they’d be awful choices.
So I’ll cover a few out-of-style riding boot fashion trends to ensure you make a good decision. Let’s ensure you can rock your western riding boots without any regrets!
#1 Wearing Western Boots With Leggings
Any athletic attire, even leggings, doesn’t mesh well with western boots. But this reality didn’t stop people from trying out over the last few years.
However, it’s just not a good look. Western riding boots are too fancy to pair with something as casual as leggings.
So sidestep this trap and avoid this combination entirely. Instead, I’d suggest pairing leggings with more casual footwear, such as running shoes.
#2 Creating an Entire Cowboy-Themed Outfit
There are only so many situations where going all out with the western trend is a good idea. It’s reserved for rodeos, riding, or Halloween.
So if you wear overalls or long prairie dresses, keep your boots and a cowboy hat in the closet. They’ll only make your outfit seem like you’re doing too much.
#3 Matching Them With Loud Accessories
Western riding or cowboy boots will draw people’s attention without needing any other help. Therefore, bright-colored accessories could make your entire outfit much too busy.
These other accessories will end up cloudy your boots’ impact. You’ll likely end up getting sideways looks when walking down the street.
People often make this mistake by not allowing their boots to do the work. I’ve even seen some try adding sequins or fringe onto their shoes for a little more pop.
But it usually backfires and ruins the majesty of your favorite cowboy boots or riding boots. You’re much better off letting the boots do the work.
#4 Wearing Western Boots Daily
It may seem like a fun idea to make them everyday boots. But western riding boots will wear out quicker, becoming less of a special event.
As a result, I’d recommend using them as secondary footwear. It also helps ensure you don’t pair the wrong clothing items with the boots.
#5 Pairing Them With Loose Fitting Pants
Loose-fitting pants and western boots are a terrible combination. For one, your legs will look bulky, which isn’t what anyone wants.
You’ll want to match western riding boots or cowboy boots with perfectly fit pants. It’s a simple way of avoiding an unappealing appearance.
Similarly, skinny jeans aren’t an ideal pairing with any western boots. Tight pants produce an odd-looking appearance that makes the boots appear massive.
Recently, I heard someone compare it to wearing clown shoes. So it’s not a look anyone wants with their favorite pair of cowboy boots or riding boots.
#1 Do jeans go in or over cowboy boots?
In most cases, jeans should go over cowboy boots. But it’s acceptable to tuck jeans into cowboy boots when working to protect against pests and keep them clean.
#2 Are cowboy boots trendy or timeless?
Cowboy boots, western boots in general, are more timeless than trendy. But I can’t recall a time when these boots were out of style.
Western riding boot trends can change with time. But the timeless nature of these boots never does, as they’re a genuinely versatile footwear item.
I’d love to hear about how you wear and use them in the comment section. I’ll also answer any questions you have as quickly as possible. Thanks for reading!
1. A HISTORY OF THE WESTERN BOOT | Shoeinfonet [Internet]. shoeinfonet.com. Available from: https://shoeinfonet.com/shoe-history/history-western-boot
2. Golden CB. “Yellowstone” boom pits lifetime Montana residents against wealthy newcomers [Internet]. CNBC. 2022. Available from: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/07/yellowstone-boom-pits-lifetime-montana-residents-against-wealthy-newcomers.html
3. Roberts EN. These 12 Shoe Trends Are Set To Dominate 2023 [Internet]. www.refinery29.com. [cited 2023 Mar 7]. Available from: https://www.refinery29.com/en-au/shoe-trends-2023
Bryanna is a 23-year-old Florida-based Grade 1 Para-dressage rider based in Florida and she has been riding for 5 years. Horses are her passion and her ultimate goal is to be selected for the US Para-Equestrian Team and represent the US at the Paralympics. She rides at Quantum Leap Farm and Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center and her equine partners are Shane, an American Paint Horse, and Cappy a Welsh x Thoroughbred. When she is not helping at the barn, riding, or training, she is learning about horses, writing articles about them, and using her social media platforms to raise awareness for therapeutic riding and para-equestrianism, shares her journey, and advocates for greater inclusion of para-equestrian in the media and equestrian sport at large.
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