If you’re looking for a way to make a fashion statement, few things can draw attention like a great pair of vintage leather cowboy boots. They simply ooze style. Once you’ve hunted down the perfect pair of western cowboy boots, the most important thing is to know how to get the right fit. After all, why bother buying a pair of awesome boots if you can’t wear them?
Before we get into the fit, let’s take a closer look at why you should consider buying vintage and the things to look for in a vintage cowboy boot. Then, we’ll discuss how to make sure you get a good fit that’s so comfortable, you’ll want to wear your new vintage boots everywhere.
Just like buying vintage clothing and classic western wear, vintage cowboy boots give you something you’re just not going to find in the modern stores of today. It’s a statement piece, something unique that can add a large amount of interest to even the most basic of outfits.
First of all, the quality of vintage boots is unmatched. Most vintage cowboy boots were made by hand decades ago and are still going strong. This not only means that these pieces were made with high-quality workmanship and the best materials, but also that they were well taken care of throughout their life.
Another reason that buying vintage is a great idea is that you’ll wind up with something truly unique. Think about it. Why go to the mall or shop online only to end up with the same pair of boots as hundreds or even thousands of other shoppers? Buying vintage means you get a very rare piece—maybe even one of kind—that you’re guaranteed not to see on a dozen other people walking down the street.
Plus, there’s just something about vintage items that connects you to them a little more. Maybe it’s because they’re often investment pieces that you put a lot of time and thought into or maybe it’s just that you know there’s a story behind them, but owning a vintage pair of cowboy boots gives you your own little sliver of the past. It connects you to someone else’s story and that in and of itself is priceless.
There are a few factors to keep in mind when looking for a pair of vintage cowboy boots; specifically, the quality of the workmanship and the condition of the shoe. If you’ve found a pair that you’re considering buying, chances are it already meets the requirements for these criteria. After all, you’re not going to invest in a pair of boots that are falling apart. But let’s take a closer look at what to look for.
As for quality, it’s safe to say that if a pair of vintage cowboy boots is still kicking enough to be in, they’re probably very well made. Also, ask the seller what they know about the boots: where they were made, the brand, previous owners.
As for condition, it’s unrealistic to expect to find a pair of vintage boots that look like they haven’t been worn. Any pair of vintage boots you’ll find will have some evidence of wear and tear. Never buy a pair of vintage boots with any obvious holes in the leather or that have had repairs done to the uppers. If there is damage to the sole that looks manageable, consider if it’s worth getting to boot resoled. Resoling is also a good idea because it helps the inner part of the shoe regain some shape so it’s not fit to the foot of the person who wore the boots before you. This will make the fit a little better for you.
And speaking of fit…
There’s not much point in buying a pair of vintage western cowboy boots if you aren’t going to be able to wear them! Unless you’re specifically looking for something for a special occasion, a good vintage cowboy boot should be comfortable enough that you’ll be able to wear them anywhere. There’s no real way to find out how they feel without trying them on.
Sometimes, though, this isn’t possible if you found a pair you love on the Internet. If that’s the case, do not buy them unless the site offers a fair and free return policy. You don’t want to buy them only to end up being stuck with a pair of boots that doesn’t fit right.
Keep in mind that cowboy boots have a style that doesn’t fit like other shoes—everything has to be right from heel to toe. The part of the boot between your shoe and your heel should be snug enough to keep your foot from slipping out of the boot but should no way be uncomfortable. The heel should slip to avoid blisters and you should leave about an inch for your toes in the front, especially is the boot is particularly pointed or narrow.
If you’re going to wear socks with your vintage cowboy boots, make sure you wear the socks you’re going to wear with them when you try them on. The fit can be so snug with these boots that if you try them on with a thin sock and later attempt to wear them with a thick sock, they most likely aren’t going to fit.
There really is nothing quite like a pair of vintage cowboy boots to add a little extra something to your wardrobe. A well-made pair will last and last, although you may need to have them resoled occasionally. Make sure you try on the boots with the right pair of socks if possible. Trying them on really is the only way to make sure they fit properly. That said if you’re buying them online and can’t physically get to the shoes to try them on, double check on the return policy. Only order them if you are able to return them for a full refund if you realize after making your purchase that they don’t fit.