As one of the coolest yet most expensive footwear in the world, cowboy boots deserve more attention than just staying in your shoe closet.
I know the feeling of getting a new pair of cowboy boots, they are beautiful, satisfying, and also bring anxiety to the users. I worry because I want the best for them, which is probably second only to my first child!
That’s why this post appeared! With more than 15 years of experience wearing cowboy boots from small to big brands, I have summarized 4 things you need to do when having a pair of cowboy boots that are just out of the box.
Besides, there are some notes to take well care of your new cowboy boots!
Let’s see what they are!
- Check the fit of cowboy boots in both feel and look. Make sure they leave you completely satisfied.
- Break in cowboy boots, they will be comfortable after 15 days or a maximum of 20 days. But don’t rush to scuff leather soles or wear cowboy boots for hard work when they are not totally broken in.
- Keep your cowboy boots in shape, so they don’t break, fold, or appear creased. This is the best care for them in the beginning.
- Don’t overthink, cowboy boots don’t need much care in the beginning (at least for the first 30 days). Using items like leather conditioner, mink oils, or waterproof spray can change the original look of your boots (like darkening them) and make it difficult to return them.
4 First and Important Things for New Cowboy Boots
When you get new cowboy boots, take a deep breath and be calm, don’t get too excited, because they don’t really need much care in the beginning.
Meanwhile, what you need is to test the experience on your cowboy boots. That’s very important, cowboy boots should really satisfy you in both feel and sight.
Some other care like waterproofing or conditioning boots isn’t really necessary (at least as long as it’s returnable). That care can affect the original color or look of cowboy boots (like darkening them) and make it difficult for you to return them.
The most important thing is that cowboy boots should be comfortable from the start when you just put them on to stand up or walk lightly. They should not cause you too much pain. A little pain is acceptable since cowboy boots have not broken in yet.
This comfort is very important. It is a sign of a well-fitted cowboy boot that fits well, fits your foot or not, is breakable or not, well made or not, etc.
I believe, for new cowboy boots, caring for them is not so necessary, but your experience is the most important!
1. Check the fit of cowboy boots
The most important thing to remember is that cowboy boots need to fit snugly at the top of the foot. This is the position that will ensure your feet stay neatly in the boots.
Your feet should have enough room to breathe in the ball of the feet and toes, your boots shouldn’t be too tight or fit snugly in these areas or they will make you uncomfortable.
A little heel slip at the start is normal for cowboy boots that are and not broken in yet.
You can see more about how cowboy boots are supposed to fit here! This is a very detailed guide.
In general, when testing the fit of cowboy boots, let’s feel it with your senses. They should be comfortable from the start when you put them on and walk gently.
There are quite a few different types of feet such as flat feet and high instep, these special types require great care when choosing cowboy boots.
If your boots don’t fit well, don’t try to stretch them with any tips or you may change the look of the boot and make it impossible for you to return them.
The fit of cowboy boots, for me, is not only about perception, but also visual.
They need to satisfy you and make you confident when putting them on. Trust me, confidence has a lot to do with a pair of footwear.
Make sure that the style of cowboy boots is appropriate for your work and activity purposes.
That’s the point, if not, choose another pair of boots.
2. Break in boots and wear them a few times (don’t abuse them if they are not broken in)
The next step is that you need to break in cowboy boots with your own feet as soon as possible.
Some cowboy boots have a short break-in period, while others take longer. So don’t hesitate, put on your cowboy boots and walk to break in them, make sure they’re comfortable before the return period ends.
The advice remains the same, don’t use any tips or hacks at this time. Some methods like using a leather conditioner, lotion, or boot stretcher can cause the boots to lose their original shape and make it impossible for you to return them.
If you walk about 2 to 3 miles a day, chances are that cowboy boots will be completely broken in within a week. Otherwise, it will normally take from 15 to a maximum of 20 days to achieve the result.
If it’s been more than 20 days and you still feel a sharp pain in your boots, I don’t think you should keep trying to break in them. Send them back, they don’t fit your feet for some of the reasons mentioned above.
Another note is that it is common practice to scuff the leather soles of cowboy boots to increase traction. However, it’s not a good idea for your new boots for at least the first 30 days. It will also make bootmakers hesitate to take the boots back.
You should wear your boots as much as possible for the first 2 weeks to break in them. After they are completely broken in and comfortable, well, you can keep them and do whatever you want. If not, send them back!
This break-in period is like a matching test for your feet and boots!
Also, don’t use new cowboy boots (especially the stiff ones) for heavy-duty jobs when they are not completely broken in.
Breaking in cowboy boots is like warming up before playing soccer.
The purpose of the warm-up is for our joints to be flexible, supple, and durable so that we can really participate in the fight. Cowboy boots also need to be completely broken in to make sure they are flexible, soft, and supple enough for hard work.
Once cowboy boots have not broken in but you have used them to enter construction sites, their damage rate even increases.
3. Keep your cowboy boots in shape
A very important thing that most newbies often do not pay much attention to is the shape of new cowboy boots.
With structures over 11 inches tall, you can’t just put them in a box or shoe cabinet. If not careful, cowboy boots will lose their shape, and appear with wrinkles, folds, etc.
If you are determined to own cowboy boots, then get a boot stand or boot rack in your home. If not, you should at least have a boot shaper and boot trees.
Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The purpose is clear, to keep the boots upright with a certain amount of tension to retain their original shape and beauty.
If you can’t do that, then surely you will also have a lot of trouble when you want to return the boots! In addition, once cowboy boots lose their shape, they will quickly become… less attractive.
To have your boots in top condition, always keep their shape even if they are new or not!
4. Some other small but important things
Leather is very afraid of water because, over time, water will wash away waxes and oils on its surface. From there, the leather is quickly damaged and cracked due to being dry.
In addition, if soaked in water, water marks will quickly appear on the leather surface. It will take a lot of work to remove these stubborn stains.
Therefore, don’t let your leather cowboy boots get damp for a long time.
That is, if you encounter a torrential downpour or step on small puddles, it’s fine, as long as you dry and care for them properly (we have instructions here).
But if boots are constantly wet and are not dried in time, they will quickly crack and break over time.
You should also keep your cowboy boots clean and stay intact when you are not sure whether cowboy boots can fit your foot well, break in reasonably, or whether you need to return them.
This is because no manufacturer wants to receive boots full of mud and dirt or changed a lot.
In short, for the first 30 days, you should keep your boots in their original condition, or at least until you’re sure you won’t return them.
You should only break in cowboy boots (but don’t cuff leather soles) to test their comfort.
After 30 days, start researching more ways to clean boots with leather cleaner or saddle soap, moisturize boots with oil or leather conditioner, polish boots, etc.
Don’t overcare your cowboy boots and apply many products on them such as waterproof spray, leather conditioner, mink oil, etc. This is not necessary.
Cowboy boots need conditioning, but trust me, I never condition a pair of boots once a month (I have 15 boots made from 5 different exotic types of leather).
At least, for me, I will condition ostrich leather once for 2 or 3 months.
What you need to do is please your emotions when choosing the boots, they should satisfy both the look and feel. Also, they need to make you confident and comfortable.
Before you leave
In general, a pair of cowboy boots is much more expensive than a pair of running shoes. Even if they satisfy us, they inadvertently put some pressure on us to take care of them.
But really, don’t worry too much and apply all the caring products on cowboy boots too soon. Cowboy boots eventually are very durable boots, they are not that vulnerable.
Therefore, just enjoy your boots!
Howdy y’all, and welcome to From The Guest Room, your ultimate guide to all things Western! I’m Jay Gatz, a lifelong cowboy boot enthusiast with over 5 years of experience in the Western style world. I’m excited to share my knowledge with you and help you discover the perfect cowboy boots and western gear to elevate your style. Let’s explore the rich history and timeless appeal of Western fashion together!