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Why Do Cowboy Boots Have Heels?

Most men’s shoes or boots usually don’t have heels. But when it comes to cowboy boots, they have a very interesting feature: the high heels.

Many people wonder about this feature, because normally only women’s fashion boots have heels.

What’s more, cowboy boots don’t just have one type of heel, but they have slanted heels or underslung heels.

Now, let’s get back to the past and find out why cowboy boots have heels, the story behind it will be quite interesting!

So, why do cowboy boots have heels? Today, we will find the answer together!

Cowboy Boots 1

Why do cowboy boots have heels?

Let’s go back to the past when cowboy boots were born. At that time, the farmers not only need a pair of boots that are sturdy and durable enough to work on the farm and ranch, but also need a pair of boots that are convenient enough, affordable and especially suitable for them to ride a horse.

That is why cowboy boots were born. They were initially made of cowhide (the most durable, sturdy, affordable and easy-to-find materials at that time) and especially had high heels (quite different from other boots).

Those cowboy boots have all the elements that a farmer needs, along with their special feature is the high heels. These high heels make it easy for cowboy boots to hook firmly to the stirrup of the saddle and stay there neatly.

Therefore, the cowboys can have balance and stability while sitting on horseback. Cowboy boots with high heels hooked tightly to the stirrup will prevent the cowboy feet from slipping out of stirrup while riding.

Next to the heel is the nook of the heel, the stirrup will lie there and be fixed by the heel.

Why do cowboy boots have underslung heels, slanted heels?

In fact, an underslung heel or slanted heel will work better than a regular heel in hooking tightly to the stirrup of the saddle.

The reason is that the underslung heel or slanted heel of a cowboy boot will have a certain angle. That angle and the nook next to the heel makes it easier for cowboys to hook the boots into the stirrup tighter than the vertical heel.

In addition, cowboy boots with high heels but upright will make them too high, heavy, and make it difficult for cowboys to maintain balance and flexibility.

Meanwhile, an underslung heel, slanted heel with a tilted design towards the foot will make cowboy boots more compact, less heavy, less tall, thereby offering cowboys more flexibility and balance for walking or hooking the stirrup tightly when they’re on the saddle.

In fact, it is very dangerous if the horse falls or when the angry horse makes you fall out of the saddle and one leg gets stuck on stirrup because of the heels of the cowboy boots.

Your chance at life is to immediately remove the cowboy boots to get rid of the horse and not be dragged down the road. But if you are a die hard fan of cowboy boots, you will know that it is not easy to rescue yourself in that situation.

That’s why the cowboy boots have smooth outsoles and pointed toes. These two elements not only help you easily slide the cowboy boots into the stirrup, but also slide out.

From there, it makes you more flexible to cope with dangerous situations. After all, it is much better to go home with a bare foot than being dragged for miles by the silly horse, right?

When you’re riding, how the sole and the toe shape of cowboy boots affect your ride? You can learn out more in our articles:

How high are cowboy boot heels?

Cowboy boots with heels have a height of 1 inches to 3.5 inches. The low heels of cowboy boots are usually 1 inch, while the standard heel height is around 1.5 inches. As for high heels, they are measured 2 inches or more.

You can find cowboy boots with low heels and standard heels in product lines such as Stockman, Western boots, Western Work Boots… High-heeled boots are usually Riding boots, Fashion boots, etc.

Read more: Types Of Heels On Cowboy Boots

Can you change the heel on a cowboy boot?

You can completely replace the heels of cowboy boots if they are damaged. The signals of broken heels are that they get worn and the nail starts emerging on the surface of the heels (the surface is in contact with the ground).

You can find a good cobbler and tell him to replace the heels of your cowboy boots, he even can replace the height and style of the heels.

You can completely replace the heel cap of cowboy boots by yourself, if it is not too badly damaged or just gets worn a little bit.

Normally, if you use cowboy boots regularly, you should replace new heels every 2 years for leather heels and every 4 or 5 years for rubber heels.

For the methods to replace a new heel cap, check out our guide here!


Cowboy boots with heels serve one main purpose is to help cowboy boots easily hook into the stirrup of the saddle, thereby making it easy for cowboys to maintain the best balance possible.

There are many different types of cowboy boot heels, typically an underslung heel and slanted heel. These heel types make cowboy boots more compact, less tall, and lighter, while retaining the main effect that is to help the cowboy balance on horseback.

You should research clearly what type of cowboy boots with heels will suit your intended use.

And don’t forget to replace the heels of cowboy boots at least every 2 years for leather heels and every 4 or 5 years for rubber heels (if you wear boots regularly).

Good luck!

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