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Are Cowboy Boots Slippery? Tips To Make Cowboy Boots Non-slip

Are Cowboy Boots Slippery? Tips To Make Cowboy Boots Non-slip

Cowboy boots were originally born to serve farmers on horseback, and these peasants were called cowboys.

They do a lot of work on the ranch and also spend lots of their time on the saddle. Cowboy boots at that time were quite slippery. Why is that?

One thing I guarantee is that the nature of their work has caused their boots to gradually evolve and come with smooth outsoles, and cowboys need that slip too. The reason is not random at all! On the contrary, it is very interesting!

To explore why cowboy boots are so slippery, let’s follow us. We cover it all for you here.

Are Cowboy Boots Slippery? Why are Cowboy Boots so Slippery?

Cowboy boots are initially born to serve farmers riding horses. And yes, traditional cowboy boots are slippery. Their soles are made of leather with a smooth surface, so they are very slippery.

Smooth soles of cowboy boots

Such design can make cowboy boots easier to slide into (or out) the saddle’s stirrup. Thus, farmers are more flexible and can jump on or off horseback easily, without getting their feet stuck in the stirrup.

You might ask, then what if while cowboys were sitting on horseback, their feet slipped out of the stirrup and fell to the ground?

Don’t worry, the recessed middle part of the base along and the high heel of cowboy boots keep them stay in place.

In addition, there are many long-standing cultural activities in the West such as line dancing that need boots with slippery soles to easily kick or spin. So cowboy boots that have leather soles with good slippage can help dancers with that.

Finally, leather sole cowboy boots are slippery but deliver click-cluck sounds, and many people love them!

But why do I say “traditional cowboy boots” are slippery?

Because not all cowboy boots are slippery.

Today, cowboy boots are produced and used for a variety of purposes and jobs, not just for horseback riding. Because of that, synthetic and rubber sole cowboy boots were introduced, and they are very anti-slip.

Therefore, only cowboy boots with leather soles are slippery, while synthetic or rubber sole cowboy boots do not slip.

How to make Cowboy Boots Non-slip?

There are many different methods to prevent leather sole cowboy boots from slipping, but not all of them work.

We will tell you all the methods, but remember to read them all, because each method will have its own weaknesses.

I can’t guarantee the methods below will make your cowboy boots completely non-slip, but better traction is for sure.

1. Scuff cowboy boots up when wearing them

Breaking in new leather sole cowboy boots can be a bit tricky, especially since they tend to be quite slippery when brand new.

However, there’s a tried-and-true method to remedy this and ensure your boots offer both traction and balance.

Look for a rough road surface, such as a cemented road or concrete area. These surfaces are perfect for scuffing up the leather soles to enhance traction.

Put on your cowboy boots and stand on the rough road surface. It’s essential to wear them as you do this, as the friction generated will help scuff the soles more effectively.

Now comes the key step: start walking or shuffling your feet on the rough road surface. The leather sole should come into direct contact with the rough texture.

This process gradually wears down the glossy surface and increases the traction, making your cowboy boots less slippery and providing better balance.

2. Use sandpaper


Another effective method for removing the slick surface from the leather soles of cowboy boots is to use sandpaper.

Simply place one hand inside the cowboy boot while using your other hand to gently scrub the sandpaper across the leather sole’s surface. This process helps to eliminate the slippery texture.

Depending on the initial condition of the sole and your desired level of traction, you may need to repeat the sanding process on both boots.

While sandpaper can be effective, some individuals, myself included, prefer an alternative approach. I find that scuffing leather sole cowboy boots by wearing them is a more tactile and satisfying method.

By simply walking on hard surfaces like concrete or pavement, you gradually scuff up the soles, enhancing traction with each step. This method allows you to experience the improved grip firsthand.

3. Use non-slip adhesive pads

Use non-slip adhesive pads

One highly effective and convenient method to enhance the grip of your cowboy boots is by using non-slip adhesive pads. These can easily be found in various sizes and designs on the market.

You can find non-slip adhesive pads at most shoe or hardware stores, as well as online retailers. Be sure to select pads that are designed for use on footwear, as they are typically more durable and tailored to the specific needs of your boots.

Before applying the adhesive pads, ensure that the leather soles of your cowboy boots are clean and free from dust or debris. This will help the adhesive adhere more effectively.

It’s important to note that while non-slip adhesive pads offer a quick and effective solution, they do have a drawback. Over time and with regular use, the adhesive’s effectiveness can diminish.

You may find it necessary to replace the pads periodically to maintain optimal traction. This maintenance requirement is a trade-off for the convenience and immediate benefits they provide.

4. Use rubber heel caps

Cobbler is attacking rubber heel cap

Many people may not know, but there are many rubber heel caps sold on the market today.

If you are bored with the high heels of cowboy boots that make you often slip when walking on glossy floor surfaces, then rubber heel caps are the solution. They will add extra grip to your cowboy boots!

Just attach them to the heel caps of the cowboy boots, that’s it! If you have any cowboy boots with old heels (the nails emerge on the surface), this method is the solution for you.

5. Use protective soles

How to install sole shield protector for sneakers

Another method that you should consider is to use protective soles.

If you don’t want to damage the leather sole and the bootmaker’s signature on it, but this weekend you have to go to a restaurant (which might have a wet floor), then protective soles are what you’re looking for.

Protective soles will protect leather soles and the signature, but still provide a good grip for leather soles.

All you have to do is cut the protective soles with a snug fit against the soles and glue them in, and you’re done!

The only downside of this method is that you will have to replace them periodically, that’s all!

6. Heel to toe while walking

Another way to make leather sole cowboy boots less slippery is to change your gait.

As you walk, lift your heels higher, then place your feet on the ground, from heel to toe, respectively.

Heel to toe style walking in cowboy boots

When placing your feet on the ground, make sure that you let your body weight focus correctly on the ball of the feet. And you won’t slip.

Trust me, even if your cowboy boots have slippery leather soles with pointed toes, you won’t fall with this gait.

This walking pose also gives you a confident look, and it also creates a gorgeous click-cluck sound!

What is the weakness of this approach? You have to change your gait, which might take time to do!

7. Use traction spray

Traction Spray

To be honest, this method works, but it won’t last long.

All you have to do is very easy: spray traction spray on the surface of leather soles. Traction spray will give a considerable grip for leather sole cowboy boots.

Of course, if you use cowboy boots on a rough surface, this spray will disappear quickly.

So, if you go to a restaurant with a wet floor then this method is ideal, but do not apply it when wearing cowboy boots on a farm or ranch.

8. Resole cowboy boots

resole cowboy boots

Leather sole cowboy boots usually don’t have a long lifespan. If you wear them regularly, they can last only 2 to 3 years.

If you do not like leather soles anymore because of their slipperiness, you can resole your cowboy boots by replacing leather soles with rubber soles.

Rubber soles will have a much better grip than leather soles. Look for a good cobbler to resole your cowboy boots, and don’t forget to check out some notes here!

9. Increase your weight

No kidding, people who are overweight are easier to balance when standing on leather sole cowboy boots than lightweight people!

But this approach probably won’t work for women!

Do cowboy boots have good traction?

Traditional cowboy boots with leather soles usually do not have traction, instead, they are quite slippery. This is because the surface of the leather sole is very glossy.

But now you will have a lot of rubber sole and synthetic sole cowboy boots, they have very good traction.

If you need cowboy boots for more work than fashion, rubber sole (or synthetic sole) boots with good traction are a great option.

mens wear cowboy boots sit on the wood fence

How do people Not Slip while wearing Leather Sole Cowboy Boots?

People don’t slip when wearing leather sole cowboy boots due to a simple but effective technique: scuffing up the soles. To enhance traction, you can wear your cowboy boots and then rub the leather soles against hard concrete or cement surfaces.

Additionally, some individuals opt for using sandpaper to roughen the surface of their cowboy boots’ leather soles, further improving grip.

Another strategy is to adjust your walking style, shifting from a traditional heel-to-toe stride to a more balanced gait, which works exceptionally well with cowboy boots.

Even for those with a bit of extra weight, leather sole cowboy boots offer stability and prevent slipping, making them a dependable choice in various situations.


In the world of cowboy boots, achieving the perfect balance between style and functionality is key.

We’ve explored various methods to increase traction for leather sole cowboy boots, and each approach offers its own advantages.

Whether you choose to scuff them up by wearing them or use tools like sandpaper, the goal is the same: ensuring your cowboy boots are not just a fashion statement but a reliable companion for your Western lifestyle.

Additionally, there’s a range of products designed specifically to enhance the grip of your boots.

Consider using protective soles, rubber heel caps, non-slip adhesive pads, or traction spray to tailor your boots to your specific needs. These accessories can be particularly useful in situations where quick fixes are required.

For those with well-loved cowboy boots whose leather soles have seen better days, don’t hesitate to explore the option of replacing them with durable rubber soles. This can extend the life of your beloved boots while providing an excellent grip on various surfaces.

In conclusion, achieving the right level of traction for your cowboy boots is not only a matter of safety but also a reflection of your personal style and dedication to the Western way of life.

So, whether you’re a seasoned cowboy or a newcomer to the world of Western fashion, remember that with a bit of care and attention, you can stride confidently and stylishly in your cowboy boots.