Oh, the places you’ll go in cowboy boots. It’s 2022, and the iconic Western shoe has officially transcended its once utilitarian purpose as the rancher’s go-to boot to be whatever fashion statement you desire, from the classic black leather pointed-toe to a 1980s metallic boot. You can wear them to the rodeo, the club, or the bodega; sport them on a date night, to a rager of a wedding, or to that punk show under the bridge.
As with cow print, cowboy boots are at the core of America’s recent yeehaw renaissance, which was ushered in by Lil Nas X, Kacey Musgraves, and the bovine rap stylings of Doja Cat over the past few years. And, if you have yet to try them for yourself, summer is the perfect time to wrangle up a pair of boots and ascend to true hootin’ and hollerin’ heights.
The best cowboy boots should make you feel like a brooding film character who hangs out at a divey motel pool by day, and makes out with Willem Dafoe by night. They can be David Lynch gas-station gothic, studded with spikes, or given a Doc Marten-esque sole with better tread than a truck’s tires. The only differences between men’s and women’s cowboy boots is that the latter have a slightly higher arch, and tend to run narrower, but for the most part, you can enjoy the unisex nature of the cowboy boot browsing experience. And as a longtime lover of the Western shoe, I’ve worn my classic black boots with everything from Adidas track pants to jean shorts; I’ve rocked ‘em with bathing suits, bike shorts, and literally anything that could benefit from the effortless swag of a steel toed boot.
Whether this is your first time at the rodeo, or you’re seasoned in the sartorial ways of the Southwest, here are the best cowboy boots for every aesthetic.
The best classic cowboy boots
Nothing goes harder than a pair of jet-black cowboy boots. They’re at home on the range, at the grocery store, and on the Boogie Nights dance floor. This affordable Laredo boot has a 4.6-star average rating on Amazon from over 720 reviews. “These are QUALITY boots,” writes one reviewer. “Perfect for riding, everyday wear, and they look good in both cases. The metal tips [also] have engravings in them.” That’s hella hardware for just over a hundo.
Stradivarius is another great place to find cowboy boots that won’t break the bank, but still look expensive. This embroidered pair comes in a few colorways and a flexible technical latex foam insole, so you’ll be able to ride the lightning all night.
As much as we love a knee-grazing cowboy boot, there’s something to be said about the ease with which you can slide your jeans over a low-cut, studded pair such as these, which would cut a great silhouette with a prairie dress or a pair of skinny jeans.
Quite possibly the most low maintenance shoe on Earth. The Rambler boot is the kind of rusty brown that goes with everything, and takes life’s unexpected stains and tumbles like a pro.
You smoke Marlboro Reds…
… And naturally smell of tobacco, eucalyptus, and burnt metal. You started playing pool at three years old, and would have made it to the Las Vegas championship if it weren’t for that freak accident with the bucket of cobras. That’s why these boots aren’t just a fashion statement, but a reminder: Keep your enemies close, and your snakes closer.
‘Mad Max: Yeehaw Road’
If you’ve been trying to branch out from your Doc Martens safety net and dabble in more country wares, this pair of Richealnana boots is a great way to get your feet wet. You’ll be the envy of every other cowboy at the hardcore show, and get some Firestone-level traction in these vegan clompers.
Ziggy played banjo
Ride the lightning in a pair of deep cherry lightning boots worthy of David Bowie, and peep the rest of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale to wrangle up an entire outfit.
Can’t explain why, but these apple-green metallic cowboy boots feel very Mars Attacks! They’re also a very
horny affordable $69.
Free People makes a short metallic cowboy boot that just so happens to come in the same shade of champagne as our favorite clitoral vibrator, and both have glowing reviews. “They fit/ look great and are so cute,” writes one reviewer on Free People, “I wasn’t expecting much of these boots because of the price, but they look pretty amazing!”
Four hundred tickets for the Barbie movie, please
“I have never gotten so many compliments on my shoes in my life,” writes one reviewer of these Yeehaw Barbie cowboy boots on Amazon. “I feel amazing in them. They are soooo so comfortable and they make the cutest heel clicking sound when you walk so people know you’re coming.”
Have a cow
Nothing says “What if we kissed beside the trough?” with more pizazz than a pair of cow-print cowboy boots—it’s the cheetah-print of Western wear, because it goes with every color and texture under the sweet midwestern sun.
These TikTok-famous pole dancing boots
Finally, a pair of cowboy boots for riding the bull by day and sliding the pole by night. I’ve written a VICE review of these babies myself, and unpacked all of the unbridled joy/swag they’ve given to my wardrobe in detail. Suffice to say, you will never be out-yeehaw’d again in these sexy stilts, which aren’t as hard to walk in as you’d think, and will make for a damn epic Tinder/LinkedIn pic.
The best boot accessories
Ride on, ranger.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.