Unshaven man sitting in a classic jeepster wearing a traditional black and white bolero jacket with his feet on the dash sporting cowboy boots.

Notes About Fit For Your Handmade Cowboy Boots

How to fit and care for your cowboy boots. Before you buy cowboy boots, find out how to properly fit your foot, put on your boots, and clean and care for boot leathers.

The Basics

A well made pair of cowboy boots should be comfortable from the beginning.

When fitting a new pair of boots it is important to note that they should be snug at the instep and have some slippage in the heel. Your toes should be flat and comfortable at the end of the boot.

Authentic western boots will conform to the shape of your feet.

HEEL SLIPPAGE IS NORMAL when boots are new and subsides when the soles of the boots become flexible.  It normally takes a couple of days of wearing your new boots for the soles to flex. A snug fit at the instep ensures the proper amount of heel slip.

Please do not hesitate to call us with any questions you may have at 323.650.0475 Or email us at

More Details About Fit


The boot should fit securely to the foot. Boots should not fit loosely or tightly, but the fit should be snug.

Instep: Unlike traditional shoes with laces, a boot has only the instep to hold it securely to the foot. Consequently, proper fit in the instep is of utmost importance. The instep determines whether or not the boot fits. The snugness is governed by the instep fit and the width of the throat. If the instep is too tight, go to a larger size.

Ball: When you walk or run, you bend your foot at its widest part, which is called the ball. In a quality-made boot, you will find a steel shank between the insole and the outsole that extends from the heel to the point where the ball of the boot begins. If the boot is too short for the foot, the ball of the foot will sit too far forward and force the toes into the front of the boot, or toe box. The ball of your foot should fit comfortably in between the widest part of the sole of the boot.

Heel-Slip: A boot must slip slightly in the heel. As shown in the illustration (above), there is nothing to prevent the heel of the foot from riding up slightly because of the way a boot is constructed. When the boot is new, the thick leather that supports the heel construction is still very stiff, as is the sole. As you wear the boot, the sole is "flexed" and as you begin to break the leather in it will move with your heel. As a result, with time the leather will conform to your heel and the slippage will disappear. Slight slippage is necessary to obtain a proper fit.

How to Properly Put on Your Cowboy Boots

Step 1:  Locate the two pull straps and put your fingers through both of them. Open the throat of the boot by pulling the pull straps out from the center.

Step 2:  Putting boots on is best done by slipping your foot into the boot while seated, then standing up and giving the pull straps a tug while inserting your foot firmly into the boot. By standing up you are using your body weight to help get into the boots.

At first you may have some difficulty getting your foot down past the instep. You will need to pull the boot on hard as necessary using the pull straps. Don't worry about breaking the pull straps.

Step 3:  Pull firmly until your foot “pops” into place. Once this occurs, two things are going to happen … (1) a snug instep, and (2) heel slippage.

(1) Your instep should be snug; this is normal and is important for arch support and for proper fit. (2) Your heel WILL slip. Until the leather sole flexes (breaks-in), there will be slippage in the heel. A brand new boot has a stiff leather sole, preventing the boot to move with your foot as you walk. It generally takes a couple days of wearing your new boots for the soles to flex.

Step 4:  We strongly recommend that you insert shoe/boot trees into your boots when you are not wearing them for three important reasons:

(1)  The original shape of the boot is maintained. Using shoe/boot trees daily prevents boots from curling. Leather shape is maintained by the tension of the shoe/boot tree.

(2)  The unfinished cedar absorbs moisture. Feet typically perspire an eighth of a cup of moisture everyday. Left unchecked, this moisture is absorbed into the linings of boots permanently, thus decreasing the life of your boots.  By placing boot trees into your boots every night, moisture is absorbed into the boot tree and away from the boot.

(3)  The aroma of cedar deodorizes boots naturally. Boot odors are naturally negated with the powerful scent of aromatic cedar.

Caring for Your Leather Boots

The rules that apply to care and conditioning of cowboy boots are very simple. Care for your leather cowboy boots and other leather goods in much the same manner as you treat your skin. The leather in your cowboy boots requires nutrients to keep them supple and strong. 

The four steps for proper leather cowboy boot care are:

1. Clean

2. Condition

3. Polish 

4. Protect

Wiping cowboy boots off with a damp cloth can prevent dirt and dust from cutting away at the microscopic fibers that make leather strong and durable.

Condition leather cowboy boots only when they are clean and dry so the conditioner can penetrate through the pores to keep the leather soft and pliable. Lanolin-based conditioners are best. Too much oil or wax can clog the pores, which causes the leather to dry out. Also, oils and waxes attract dust.

Rejuvenate cowboy boots by applying a cream-based polish. This will cover scratches and bring a glossy finish to the leather. Only cowboy boots that have a finish can be polished.

Protect leather cowboy boots with a non-silicone water and stain protector. 

Exotic Boots:

Alligator, Caiman, Lizard, Ostrich, Rattlesnake, Stingray

  • Brush off dirt or dust with a damp cloth or soft brush.
  • Apply an exotic leather conditioner in several thin layers.
  • Apply a neutral or matching cream-based polish, buff with a soft cloth.
  • Apply a water and stain protector.

NOTE: Do not use polish on rattlesnake cowboy boots. On snakeskin boots, be sure to go with the grain of the scales. 

Smooth Leather Boots:

Calfskin, Goatskin, Kidskin

  • Brush off dirt or dust with a damp cloth or soft brush.
  • Apply a leather conditioner in several thin layers.
  • Apply a neutral or matching cream-based polish, buff with a soft cloth.
  • Apply a water and stain protector.

Naked Finish Cowboy Boots:

Deer Tanned

  • Brush off dirt or dust with a damp cloth or soft brush.
  • Apply a water and stain protector.

Oil-Impregnated Leather Boots:

Crazyhorse, Distressed, Maddog

  • Brush off dirt or dust with a damp cloth or soft brush.
  • Apply a leather conditioner in several thin layers.
  • Apply a water and stain protector.

Buffed/Sueded Leather Boots

  • Treat new boots with a non-silicone water and stain protector.
  • Brush off dirt or dust  with a soft brush.
  • Apply a water and stain protector.
  • Be sure to store suede boots so that they can breathe. Keep them away from light, which can fade the color and damp areas.
  • If your suede boots get wet, soak up excess moisture with a clean towel. Then allow the suede to dry naturally.  Do not use a heat source to speed up the process. After the boots dry, restore the nap (the raised fibers typical of suede) with a suede brush.

More Helpful Tips

  • Use edge dressing to make soles and heels look new.
  • Let boots dry at room temperature, never dry over direct heat.
  • Do not store in cold or damp places; mildew can damage cowboy boots.
  • Using boot trees in your cowboy boots is recommended to help maintain their shape.