Ever wonder why both men's and women's cowboy boots have heels? While these heels can serve as a fashion statement, they also serve a distinct purpose. And as far as cowboy boots go, one reason for wearing heels is to help keep your feet secure in stirrups while horseback riding.
There are four main types of heel types, but and you can further break these down into six categories. In this complete guide to cowboy boot heel types, we'll cover the heel types so you know what to look for in your next pair of boots.
What Are the Heights?
While there are various types of heels, each style is also a part of another category. These four main types are:
- Low heels—Usually around 1 ½ inches high; ideal for ranch activities, walking, and riding.
- Standard heels—Usually 1-inch or lower with flat bottoms; best for walking and ranch work.
- Spiked heels—Usually 2-inches or higher with wide, flat bottoms; ideal for riding.
- High heels—Usually 3 to 4-inches high with a narrow base; best for fashion.
Each of the six heel subcategories falls into one of these four types. These categories help boot shoppers find the best boots to fill their needs. High-heeled boots won't work if you're looking for a pair you can wear as you walk around the farm, but we will cover a few heel types that will.
The Heel Types
So, there are four main heel types, but you can further break that down into different heels based on style and height. Each of the types is best for different needs, so by understanding them, you can better narrow your choices and decide what boots would make for the best purchase. There are:
- Fowler Heels
- Roper Heels
- Walking Heels
- Cowboy Heels
- Riding Heels
- Fashion Heels
Cowboy boots are an investment, and you want to ensure you spend your money well! While some styles have a pitched or slanted heel, others don't, and the less slanted the heel is the easier walking around becomes. As you begin your shopping journey, check out the Country View Western Store! We have an amazing selection of ladies' country boots, men's Western boots, and even something for the kids!
Type One: Fowler
Fowler heels are 1- 1/8" high, and they're either straight or pitched. Since the heel is about 1-inch high, these are standard heel boots. Whether they're pitched or straight, this heel style makes for the ideal working boot. Walking around in them comes with ease.
Straight vs. Slanted Heels
The main difference between these two heel styles lies in the visual look. In a straight-cut heel, the cut is straight down. Likewise, straight-cut heels are usually preferred for walking because they give the wearer more stability.
Many agree that slanted heels are better for horseback riding, as you want a heel that hooks into the satchel. This slant prevents the wearer's foot from moving forward in the stirrup so they can ride with confidence.
Type Two: Roper
If you're looking to buy low heels, the roper heel may be a perfect choice! Like the fowler heel, these also come in slanted and straight styles. The roper heel is lower than other styles, so you wear them while taking care of work outside. And since the boots are also fashionable, you can also show them off indoors.
Type Three: Walking
When you're doing a lot of walking, comfortable boots are a must-have. Like fowler heels, walking heels are standard height. These are the heels most seen on western work boots. Since the base is flat and wide, you can walk around for hours in them. As their name implies, these boots are great for walking—but they make riding a bit difficult.
Type Four: Cowboy
The traditional cowboy boot is a high-heeled one. Although they're great for horseback riding, they're not so comfortable if you’re walking around for a while. However, the added height of at least 2 inches is a great bonus to these boots and gives the wearer some much-desired height.
Type Five: Riding
When you're riding, you need a heel that'll help you hook your foot into the stirrup for stability. Just like walking boots are perfect when you’re doing a lot of walking, riding boots are ideal for horseback riding. Traditionally, riding heels have an obvious slant which helps them serve their purpose of riding a horse with ease.
Type Six: Fashion
Also known as "spiked heels," the main use for these is style. A slanted 3 to 4-inch heel isn't great for working around the ranch, and they're narrow at the base. Now, this isn't to say they're uncomfortable because fashion boots are. But if you’re walking a lot, your feet might get tired. Their higher heel has a slant, and the narrow base makes it harder to feel stable. Fashion heels are fabulous when you're going out for a night on the town.
What Heels Are Best?
Now that you've read through this complete guide to cowboy boot heel types, you may be wondering what kind of heels you should buy. The answer isn't as easy picking a single boot. Why? Because the best heels are the ones that fulfill your needs and align with your lifestyle.
Anyone who works on the ranch or does a lot of hiking should buy walking boots or another type with a low heel. But you should probably get something that has a heel—like riding boots—if you often find yourself horseback riding with the wind tousling your hair. And if you need fashionable boots for a night out or want the extra height, fashion boots are perfect because of their spiked heel.
The perfect heel aligns with what you need, whether that's outdoor work or an outfit to go into the office. Weigh the pros and cons of each type, so you make the best selection. At Country View Western Store, you can browse through and find the best pair of Western boots. Buy something fashionable to wow friends, or buy some much-needed walking boots to keep working around the ranch with ease!