Cowboy boots have a long and storied history across America. From their use in the cattle drives of the Old West to their current role on ranches and farms, cowboy boots have long been an essential piece of footwear.
Cowboy boots are not like high heels, which get put on for formal occasions and taken off after a couple of hours. They are an all-day, everyday shoe, especially when worn by farmers, ranchers, and other outdoorsy folks.
Unfortunately, extended wear like this can cause foot pain down the trail, as many cowboy boots do not have good arch support. Here’s what you need to know to protect your foot health and keep wearing your boots.
The Real Issue
Cowboy boots tend to have a high-quality outsole—the portion of the boot that touches the ground—and durable leather uppers. These components aren’t the issue.
The bulk of the arch support in a shoe comes from the midsole, which sits on top of the outsole and underneath your foot. Think about a pair of athletic shoes—that spongy, comfortable foam is the midsole. The higher the midsole is contoured, the more arch support the shoe will have. Many cowboy boots completely lack a midsole, meaning they have little to no arch support.
Common Boot Injuries
Heel pain is common among frequent cowboy boot wearers. This is because there is little shock absorption or cushion under the heel due to the lack of a midsole. The hard sole also increases your odds of developing calluses, blisters, and corns.
The cowboy boots’ raised heel—a holdover from their cowboy days and a major component of their signature look—places increased pressure on the front of your foot. This can cause injury, cramping, or pain to the forefoot.
The pointed toe of many cowboy boots can also bunch your toes together, impacting balance and decreasing overall support.
Don’t relegate your boots to the back of the closet just yet! You’ve got a few options for better arch support in your boots.
Adding an insole is usually the easiest way to add support without buying a brand-new pair of boots, but it can be a bit tricky. Because most insoles are designed for the shape of athletic shoes, they can be tough to fit into the narrow frame of a cowboy boot. You’ll need an insole with a narrow design to fit it in easily.
Alternatively, you could simply buy a boot with good arch support.
What Makes a Boot Have Good Support
A few factors determine whether a boot will be supportive. First, a wide, low heel provides better stability and puts less strain on the front of the foot. This makes it a better choice for all-day wear.
A wide or square toe prevents the toes from bunching together and causing unnecessary pain. Pointed toes may be stylish, but a square toe makes more sense for outdoor work.
Finally, you’ll want to choose a boot designed with a midsole. A cushioning insole will make the boot more comfortable and give you the arch support you’ve been missing. This is especially important for those with high arches.
This isn’t to say you can never wear your high-heeled, pointed-toe, good ol’ fashioned cowboy boots again. They just aren’t the best choice for everyday work. Choose a more comfortable boot for work on the ranch, and wear your stylish boots when you take your partner out for a night of drinks and dancing at your local country bar.
Country Boots With Great Arch Support
If you aren’t sure where to start looking for supportive boots, don’t fret! We’ve got a few options right here.
Ariat is one of the best boot brands for comfort and support. They innovated cowboy boots with a comfortable midsole by combining athletic shoe technology with the classic boot design. They’ve got years of experience perfecting this design, which horse enthusiasts and ranchers alike have approved of.
The Rambler is their no-nonsense men’s boot. If you like a simple design, this is a great choice. They are lightweight and moisture-wicking but not waterproof, so keep that in mind.
There are several Ariat boots on this list for a reason. Like the Rambler, these boots are made with comfort and support in mind. They feature a mesh, breathable lining to keep you cool while working outdoors. They’re waterproof and have low heels to prevent foot pain.
These fashionable men’s boots are 100 percent leather. If the Rambler is too understated for you, the Rebel should be more your style. While still a classic look, the two-tone leather design and stitched embroidery give this boot a bit more personality. Plus, they feature a shock-absorbing midsole that provides fantastic arch support.
Ariat’s Hybrid Rancher
If you need a comfortable boot that can do it all, these are a great choice. These women’s boots are waterproof and stylish with decorative embroidery. The heel is low and wide enough to be comfortable for all-day wear but has enough height to fit easily into a stirrup.
If you need a boot that can easily transition from riding to barn work, this shoe is for you.
Ariat’s Heritage Roughstock Boot
These men’s cowboy boots still have plenty of shock-absorbent padding and arch support but also have a bit of a higher heel. These are a good choice if you need the classic cowboy boot heel to keep your boots in the stirrups.
No matter your occupation or personal style, Country View Western Store has the boots for you. With a wide selection of boots for men and women alike, you’re sure to find something you love. We have great options with plenty of arch support, so don’t worry about needing to shop at a specialized store.
Finding a cowboy boot that provides enough arch support can be tricky, but thanks to innovations in the industry, it isn’t impossible. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll find yourself with pain-free feet in no time.