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Why Do Cowboy Boots Have Smooth Soles? 2 Primary Reasons

Why Do Cowboy Boots Have Smooth Soles? 2 Primary Reasons

Cowboy boots are a special type of boots distinct from the rest, in their design, style, appearance, or use. For newbies, there are many questions about these unique and long-standing boots.

Among these questions about cowboy boots, we get a pretty compelling one: “Why do cowboy boots have smooth soles?”. The answer is very simple, follow us to find out!

Why do cowboy boots have smooth soles?

There are two main reasons to explain why cowboy boots have smooth soles:

Reason 1: Riding horses

Cowboy boots had had smooth outsoles from the very first days when they came out, with the aim of making it easier for cowboys to slip their boots into stirrup while riding.

Cowboys are people who live on horseback rather than their feet, so they need a good pair of boots to be able to get on / off a saddle flexibly.

Cowboy boots with smooth outsoles help the cowboys quickly get on and off the saddle. They are smooth enough to slide in / out stirrup with ease. That’s the point!

Thereby, this allows the cowboys to maintain balance and stability when jumping on horseback. Or make it easy to pull their feet away from the stirrup when jumping down.

You may ask, if so, what if the cowboy boots can slide out and cause the cowboy to lose his balance?

This is a valid question, but as we said, cowboy boots are very “weird” boots, as evidenced by the fact that they have heels.

In fact, riders often place the ball of the foot gently on the stirrup bar. So, if cowboy boots slip forward too much, the slanted heel of cowboy boots will hook into the stirrup bar and prevent them from sliding out. Make sense, right?

Traditional cowboy boots usually have leather soles and are often used for horseback riding. Their leather soles are very smooth.

Read more: Why do cowboy boots have heels?

Some other benefits of smooth soles for horseback riding

Thanks to the heel, you don’t have to worry about your cowboy boot sliding forward excessively and bouncing off the stirrup. But if you have trouble removing cowboy boots from the stirrup, it can lead to some dangerous situations.

Imagine that your horse becomes out of control and falls to the ground, or suddenly rushes forward and causes you to fall while one of your legs is still entangled with the stirrup. How horrible is that! You could be dragged for kilometers!

Cowboy riding a horse in rodeo

In that case, you need to pull your foot out of the stirrup as quickly as possible, and it will be easier if the base of cowboy boots is smooth.

You might be afraid of slipping your feet out of cowboy boots. But longtime cowboy boot fans know that’s not gonna happen.

So, you should opt for boots with leather soles instead of rubber soles for horseback riding, which can reduce some risks for you.

Don’t you think that it’s better to walk home on your own feet rather than being dragged by a mad horse?

Reason 2: Line dancing

Line dancing is one of the most popular and long-standing dances in country-western bars, ballrooms, clubs, etc. This is one of the typical cultural features of people in the West, including cowboys.

The characteristic of this dance is that you must wear footwear with slippery outsoles. We’re not sure if people make cowboy boots for line dancing or if line dancing was born for cowboy boots with smooth outsoles (tell us if you know the answer) – But according to some sources, the cowboys are the father of line dancing.

Line dancing requires footwear with slippery outsoles for easy kicking or spinning. And cowboy boots can do that easily because they have smooth outsoles.

In addition, cowboy boots hold up your leg very well and have the ability to support the ankle, providing safety and efficiency in every dance step.

Like the above, line-dancing cowboy boots usually have leather soles with high slippage, not rubber soles with good grip.

What are cowboy boot soles made of?

Traditional cowboy boots are made of leather, and sometimes suede. Two materials make it easier for cowboys to slide their feet into the stirrup or serve for line dancing.

Two people are line dancing with their cowboy boots.

These 2 types of soles (leather and suede) are characterized by soft, smooth, but slippery properties.

You may be wondering if cowboy boots with leather soles are durable. Don’t worry, these soles are heavy leather and quite durable. You can use them continuously for more than 2 years before resoling.

Today, cowboy boots have developed and improved quite a lot, especially in their soles. Besides leather material, you can easily find cowboy boots with rubber or synthetic soles.

Cowboy boots have 2 types of soles: rubber and synthetic, with outstanding features such as good grip, durability (it takes 4 or 5 years of continuous wear to resole), smoothness and comfort.

A pair of cowboy work boots

Determining the purpose of using the boots, you can choose a pair of cowboy boots with the right soles for you.

Are cowboy boots good for walking?

Traditional cowboy boots usually have leather soles and they are smooth and slippery. Plus, 2-inch high heels are more suitable for horseback riding than walking.

For your convenience, you need to break in cowboy boots by rubbing their outsoles surface into the street, then the outsoles will have a better grip for walking.

In fact, there is a wide variety of cowboy boots today. New generation cowboy boots come with lower heels (1 inch to 1.5 inches) and rubber soles. So they have better grip, easy balance and stability when walking.

You should clearly know the difference between the types of cowboy boots (especially the heel and sole). From there, you can select a good pair of cowboy boots for walking.

However, people nowadays still prefer to wear cowboy boots with high heels and smooth soles for walking. The main reason is that this type of sole can produce click-cluck sounds.

walking in cowboy boots

People love these sounds because they make the wearers feel like real cowboys.

Read more: How to Walk in Cowboy Boots?


To sum up, cowboy boots have smooth soles for cowboys to easily slide the boots in or out of the stirrup of the saddle. In addition, the smooth soles of cowboy boots help you do line dance more easily with great flexibility for kicking, spinning, etc.

Cowboy boot soles are made from 3 main materials: leather, rubber and synthetic. Identifying the purpose of your boots and the advantages of each type of cowboy boot sole will help you make a wise decision.

If you want to pick the right cowboy boots for walking, cowboy boots with rubber soles and low heels are just right for you.

That’s it!