I’d look for a western wear store rather than a regular shoe store. I’d expect the western store to have a wider variety of brands and styles of cowboy boots as well as salespeople who really understand how to fit them to you.
For actually walking the various modern Ariat TCS boots are great. I put a mile or more per workday on mine, almost all on concrete. And they’re real cost-effective.
I gather the OP is a girl. You’re going to find a real tradeoff between style & comfort / functionality. Cute boots are for climbing in and out of pickup trucks & diner booths, not for walking. Especially in the wide widths.
I just checked in with my coworker who is a genuine Texan. She said pretty much exactly the same thing as the rest of you. She recommended Nacona and Tony Lama and explained fitting and some other miscellany. She didn’t know anything about where to buy boots in NJ because her family buys their boots in Texas, like God intended.
She doesn’t usually have a Texas accent, but it popped right out during that conversation!
I worked in a western wear store in the nineties and agree with finding one to help you fit the boots. We went through hours of training with different manufacturers on how to fit them.
Try not to get locked in to one brand-the boot that’s best for you is the one that fits! I tried pretty much every boot in our store, and the brand that consistently fit me best was Durango, which is relatively inexpensive. Ariat seems like they fit most people, and they pay the most attention to comfort and support.
Don’t underestimate the power of boot socks either, they can make a lot of difference in comfort.
A few more things to consider:
Materials can make a huge difference in feel. Ostrich or snakeskin are comfortable and wears really well but they’re not really work boots. Cowhide, bison and alligator tend to be a little tougher but IMHO don’t look or feel as good.
Most boots will come with leather soles which feel more like a dress shoe. They’re fine for two-steppin’ but can be really slick walking in wet or icy conditions. Some boots come with rubber soles but those tend to be more on the work boots.
If you’re willing to pay, find a good cobbler. Take pictures of the boots you like. You can pick the material and types of soles you want. You may not get all the fancy stiching but you can customize every bit of the boot to be exactly what you want.
I’m a genuine Texan!
Have fun shopping!
There’s a little tutorial on boot styles here that you might find useful. It sounds like you might get along better with a pair of ropers or packers. Both are suitable for riding and work/walking. I’ll put in a shameless plug here for my own favorite bootmaker, White’s Boots, (their motto; We’re NOT from Texas ) They make an elegant packer boot that should be good for just about any purpose - hiking, riding, working, or even semi-dress.
This, a thousand times this. Each manufacturer builds their boots around a particular foot shape. So for you, by and large, either all Tony Lama’s will fit, or they all won’t. Ditto for every other brand.
My advice: Get the right socks first, wear & wash them a few times, then go boot shopping with them. For my tastes, both Nacona and Tony Lama are twice as fancy, and four times as expensive as practical daily wear boots ought to be. They’re fine for a Saturday night fashion statement, but not for daily wear. That last sentence will rile a lot of Texans, so let me clarify a bit.
In Texas, wearing raggedy Lamas you’ve had for years around the ranch is the height of style. In NJ, wearing raggedy boots trashed by 2 years of walking through filthy road slush and ice-melt won’t look good on Saturday night. Nor at the office on Tuesday morning. You’ve got a different mission than the Texans, so choose a different boot.
Assuming of course I correctly understand your mission to be a pair of boots you wear most days for extended walking. If I’m confused and you’re actually wanting Saturday night fashion and have $500 for nice Lamas, go for it. If they fit.
Like in my first post, Noconas as my dress shoes, Justins for daily wear.
I also liked ACME boots, from JC Penneys and Wards (back in the day).
I can’t wear Tony Lama.
Best boots I ever had came from a Mexican border town. He finished them by the time I finished lunch. (1970s)
The only advice I have is, if you intend to do a lot of walking, get a roper (I don’t mean Roper brand) rather than a rider. Ropers have a lower heel than riders.
It happens. I once missed the NY Thruway and found myself in Sodus Point, NY.
Passenger- “Saaaaaaay. That’s Awfully Big for a Finger Lake…” :smack:
(I drive somewhat slower now)
Come to my home state of Wyoming. Real cowboys and cowgirls wearing boots, hats and ginormous belt buckles run wild in the streets. The first time my Wisconsin-born husband saw one, he laughed out loud because he thought it was a Halloween costume.
missed the edit window
I know that there’s no rodeo there, but have you looked at Lebedas?
All boot and no horse?
Green Bean, I’m kinda with LSLGuy with the question, “What do you want them for?” I don’t mind walking all day—though no hiking—in my Lucchese 1883s, even with their undershot heel and pointy toes, but they aren’t what most people I’ve seen that work on a ranch wear. Most of them wear ropers, from like Justin or Ariat or Dan Post, etc… Or Wolverine/Red Wing-type work boots. Most of those shouldn’t run you more than 150 or so, if Cavender’s is any judge.
If, however, you want beautiful classic, ornate western boots, $300 is a mighty good steal. Consider the prices at someplace like Pinto Ranch. They are full-bore retail and then some, but the service is great and at a place like that you can try on multiple types from different lines, and see which lasts fit you better. My fiancee was interested in Rocketbuster, until she tried some on. Not for her; they just didn’t fit her well. I’ve got really wide feet too, and I’ve found that the Classic line from Lucchese costs a whole lot more than the 1883s, but doesn’t fit me anywhere near as well. Then, once you find a size/last/manufacturer you like, find them on something like Ebay. Which is how I got black hornback caiman boots, in my weird size, for something like 75% off hideously-obscene retail.
No idea where you’d look in Jersey, but thrift stores sometimes get older cowboy boots in too. In my personal experience, places like Buffalo Exchange have no idea how to price cowboy boots—kinda surprised they even took them, considering their clientele—so you can sometimes find amazing bargains in things they don’t normally carry.
Of course, bespoke is probably going to fit you best of all. Someday I’d love to be able to do it.
Just make sure you remember to buy one of these, or you may die with your boots on.
Don’t worry, everybody. Proper fit will trump all other considerations. I expect to wear some moderately thin Smartwool socks.
Thanks for the tutorial. Very helpful. Those packer boots are beautiful, but I’m definitely looking for a classic cowgirl style.
Sadly, I won’t be wearing them most days. I couldn’t wear them to the office. So they will be for casual and upgraded-casual wear with jeans, long skirts, etc. I wasn’t looking to use them for “walking shoes” per se. I do tend to do a lot of walking at times, but almost any shoe that I find comfortable enough to buy would be suitable for that. For example, one wouldn’t call these sandals “walking shoes,” but I put many happy miles on them this summer.
As much as I’m attracted by the glitzy styles, I have a feeling I’m going to end up with something relatively plain, such as these. I’m looking for a real wardrobe staple. I can always throw on a boot bracelet or two if I want to glam it up, and/or get a fancier pair later.
You could try something a bit different and get some Australian cowboy boots,RM Williams
Our work boots are generally ankle boots and don’t have the ornate stitching, but a good pair of RM Williams boots is something you can hand down to your kids when you die.
Wearing my biker leathers with spurs on the engineer boots one cold fall day I was flying a job that required a fuel stop in Texarkana. A single engine Cessna was right behind us. The cameraman jumped out with me right behind him making a bee line for the men’s room. I did note that there was a man & about a 8-10 year old boy getting out of the Cessna.
They were in the main room when I came out and just as I passed the kid, he said to his Dad in a sutto-whisper, “Look Dad, the pilot of that 310 has spurs on.”
I looked back over my shoulder and winked at the kid. He was still staring at me. Bawahahaha
I was getting a few looks from folks that did not know me down there and it was cold enough to have my biker coat on with the chaps.
Big bearded, long haired biker in leathers ‘with spurs’ on his boots was not the usual picture people have in their mind for what a pilot looks like.
Have titanium rowels on them so I can drag them on the pavement to throw an impressive amount of sparks. Works like magic to get cages who are following too close at night to back off. he he he
If they ever had horses, they must have drowned playing water-polo during Irene or Sandy.