Published with permission from Horse.com:
Cowboy boots aren’t your ordinary sneaker or shoe. They are unique just like the people who wear them. They have their own style and functionality. Cowboy boots do a job and that is to protect your feet while doing chores in the pasture, working in the stable or riding in the saddle. Riders know that when it comes to footwear everything else is a distant second to western cowboy boots.
Another key difference between western boots and other types of footwear is how they fit. Don’t assume you can buy a pair of boots like you would any other shoe. There are other considerations besides foot size, such as boot style, type of leather, and style of toe and heel. Western boots have their own method for finding the perfect pair. Here are a few tips to help you find the best fitting cowboy boots:
Measure your feet. You have to measure both of them and don’t forget to wear socks. Did you know that your feet are smaller in the morning and larger in the evening? Measuring them in the middle of the day should help you get a more accurate judgment on the true size of your feet. If you get two different sizes, choose the larger of the two.
Boot toes come in many different cuts and styles. Classic western boots have pointed toes; others have more of a boxy cut or even rounded toes. The style of boot toe depends on what you’ll be doing in them and the shape of your toes. For example, pointed-toe western boots are easier to get in the stirrup when riding. Do you have more of a square foot? Then you'll want to choose a boot with a box cut or a round cut. Boots with pointed toes won't be very comfortable, especially if you plan on wearing them for extended periods of time.
Heels come in a variety of sizes. Lower heels are easiest for walking around or working in the field or stable. For riding, higher heels work best. For those looking for an all purpose boot, go with a middle heel height. It is versatile and can be used during riding but also comfortable enough to spend all day in them. Stacked leather heels are the most durable and rubber caps on the heel provide traction.
Now that you think you’ve found a boot with all the sizing requirements, it’s time to try it on. As you are pulling the boot on, you should feel your foot settle into the boot; some recommended listening for the thud or pop of your foot hitting the sole of the boot. The boot’s ball and instep should be held firmly in place; a well fitting boot should fit your heel snugly. You should be able to easily wiggle your toes. Heel slippage when walking is normal and actually favorable.
You’ll find that newer boots have more rigged soles that can make the boot a little tough to wear. As you break in the boot, it should give a little more and flex to a comfortable level.
Now that you know what to look for when fitting a new western cowboy boot, you should be able to find one that fits adequately. Durable cowboy boots often last a lifetime; the right fitting pair can help ensure your feet are safe, protected and comfortable for all those years.