Choosing the Correct Boot

Tune into a country radio station and you’re likely to hear a ballad or two about boots. But hey, country isn’t the only genre of music that uses the famous footwear as song inspiration. Bands such as The Killers and U2 both have a song about boots (titled “Boots” and “Get on Your Boots”, respectively). Everyone loves boots! They’re a versatile type of footwear you can sport any day of the week. Whether you need a pair for work around the farm and garden or the construction site, a competition with your horse, or to complement your wardrobe, we’ve got you (and your feet) covered!

Read on for help choosing the correct boot.

How to Shop for Boots

Let’s start with some basic tips for boot shopping:

  • Do your research (which you’re already doing by reading this article—kudos to you!)
  • Shop in the afternoon or early evening when feet are most swollen
  • Bring a pair of socks you typically wear to gauge fit
  • Choose real leather over synthetic—it lasts longer

Now that you know how to shop for them, it’s time for the fun part—choosing the type of boot you want to get! There’s quite a few boots out there, but we’ll focus on the main ones: Work, rubber, cowboy/cowgirl, and English riding boots.

Work Boots

A pair of safe, comfortable boots is the foundation for a great work day. You don’t want your feet to be sore after a long day of work! Of course when you’re working in cold temperatures, on slippery surfaces, and near electrical charges, safety is even more important. The right work boots will provide both.

Safety toes

If something heavy falls on your foot, the safety toe will protect you from breaking a bone. You have three options for your safety toes—steel, aluminum, or composite. The traditional choice is the steel toe, however this type is heaviest and isn’t good for the winter since it conducts temperature. Aluminum is lighter, but somewhat bulkier than steel. Composite is usually made with carbon fiber, plastic, or Kevlar and is metal-free. Test each type to see what feels best.


Look for a pair of work boots that are both slip and oil resistant. Rubber soles made with Vibram, a high performance rubber, are a great choice. For a lighter-weight, very durable alternative, there’s Thermo Poly Urethane (TPU) Outsole. Both work great and will help keep you safe.

Metatarsal guards

For added protection for your feet, especially if your job involves carrying heavy objects, you may want to consider boots with metatarsal guards. They are similar to safety toes but protect the upper foot area as well. If you work in an environment where fire and heat are a concern, then boots with this feature are a good idea.

Cowboy/Cowgirl Boots

Boots at Shoppers in ArizonaWhat will you use your cowboy/cowgirl boots for? The answer will help you choose the correct boot. Like rubber boots, cowboy boots can be worn for work or play, but not both! Fashion boots are great for a western look but not for herding cattle or taking a ride. Choosing a cowboy boot is fun because you get to customize your look with colors and designs that suit you. There are plenty of options to choose from!

Toe shape

The toe can be pointed, round, or square. If you have wide feet, a square toe will be more comfortable than the other types. If your boots are for riding, a pointed toe works best for stirrups that have tapaderos. Make sure the toes fit through your stirrups!

The heel

Cowboy boots are available in all kinds of heel sizes. A shorter heel is best if you’ll be using your boots for line dancing at the local country bar, but you may want to get a higher heel for riding. A high heel will keep your feet secure in the stirrups.

Long vs Short

Deciding the length of the “shaft”, the sleeve of the boot, is completely personal. The top of the boot can hit anywhere from the ankle, to just below the kneecap. Obviously if you’re using them for riding, you need a taller boot to protect your legs from thorns, bushes, and especially cacti! Both types are fashionable if you just want to change up your look.

Rubber Boots

We can thank the Duke of Wellington for first making these handy and very fashionable boots popular. Known as Wellington boots, or “Wellies” for short, rubber boots now come in a variety of styles and colors. They’re great for hunting, working, gardening, and of course, a rainy day! They are a fashion statement themselves, so it’s OK to wear them even on a clear sunny day (like it usually is here in Arizona).

If you’re worried about slipping, find a pair of rubber boots with textured soles, which will give you some traction. Keep them looking good by scrubbing with a soft sponge and a mild dish soap, washing every other year or so depending on how dirty they get. Store them in a dry place away from sunlight so the rubber doesn’t break down. And pick up a silicone rubber conditioner to apply regularly as well before you put your boots in storage. If you treat them right, your rubber boots will stay shiny and new, and last for years!

English Riding Boots

When you want to look great for a competitive event, or any other occasion, you need a pair of English riding boots. These boots not only look great, but are a must for serious riders! The tall shaft of the riding boot prevents the saddle from pinching your legs, while the distinct heel stops the foot from slipping out of the stirrup. Long boots are best for riding, but you can also grab a short pair for work around the barn.

There are a few types of long riding boots to choose from depending on your needs. If you’ll be riding in a jumping competition, choose field boots for comfort and mobility. Dress boots are designed for dressage events. Hunt boots are similar to dress boots, but have the characteristic tan-colored band at the top and are worn in hunt seat competitions.

Go Boot Shopping!

Whether you need a new pair of boots for work, play, a ride, or all of the above, you’ll find a pair that fits well at Shoppers Supply. Our boots are “made for walking” (and riding, and working…)! We’ve got a wide variety of colors, styles, sizes, and brands. Outfit yourself and the whole family with the help of our friendly, knowledgeable staff. Stop by our Chandler or Apache Junction location today!

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