Western boots have a long history in the United States. They are said to be originated from English riding and cavalry boots sometime in the 1800s, but grew to have their own style while still being a work boot. In modern times, western boots are used to do everything from riding a horse to dancing. Boots of this type have a similar look: pointed toe, higher heel, and a high, stylized shaft. While most western boots are versatile, not all boots can handle all types of jobs. Here are some examples of what type of boot does what type of work.
Horseback riding: Western riding boots are built differently than a general cowboy boot. They are built with elevated heels and a more taperd toe to help make it easy get in and stay in the stirrups. The main function of this type of boot is to protect the leg and foot from the stirrups and keep it from getting hung up in an emergency. When choosing these types of boots for riding, the best choice is to make sure they are sturdy and waterproof.
Another type of western riding boot is the "roper." These were designed for calf-roping to make it easier to get out of the saddle. Ropers have very low heels and shorter shafts. Some of these boots have a less decorated shaft than other types of western boots.
Western work boots: These boots have a lower and more rounded heel like a roper, but the sole has treads for traction. The toe may also be less tapered and have steel inserts for extra protection. These boots are made for being on the ground for long periods rather than on a horse. Work boots may or may not be styled on the shaft. There may be other features depending on what work they are needed for. Tell the boot seller what type of work you need the boots for in order to find the best match.
"Fashion" boots: Most of these types of boots have little or no function other than as a clothing accessory. These boots may have high or low heels and may be made of materials other than leather. Some boots have low shafts while others look more traditional. Boots may come with slippery or treaded soles. There is a wide range of choices for whatever situation. Consider what you will be wearing and doing when you choose to buy these boots to best match the situation.
Many of these types of boots can cross over for other uses. Boots for horseback riding and work boots can easily be used for fashion. If you use your boots for riding and work, it may be best to buy more than one pair. Contact the boot seller, like Cowpokes, if you have any questions about the boots they sell for the best fit and function.