This is What Country Looks Like

Now I find it difficult to think of country music without thinking of cowboy boots. This type of footwear has become a fashion staple among country stars for decades now, and both male and female stars have been known to rock them on stage and on the red carpet. Originally designed in the 19th century for cowboys riding horses and working with cattle, these bad boys were meant for a true man’s day of work, not just tuning in to a Miranda Lambert record. So now I ask, since when did wearing cowboy boots automatically mean you must love country music? Do fashion items and music truly go hand-in-hand?


Cowboy boots are an iconic representation of the American spirit. The legacy of this instantly recognizable footwear takes us back to the days that the original cowboys rode across the open fields, running wild and free.

When people used to talk about cowboy boots, cowboy boots were associated with either labor in the field, or riding horses. Cowboy boots used to refer to a specific style of riding boots, with a Cuban heel, high shaft, and without lacing. The boots are normally rounded to pointed toe, and made out of cow leather, but now that they have become a fashion statement, they are made from skins such as alligator, snake, elephant, buffalo and so forth. There are two known and basic styles of cowboy boots, the Western, (known as the classic) and the Roper. The classic style is distinguished by a tall boot shaft, going to at least mid-calf, with an angled “cowboy” heel, usually over one inch high. Although western boots can be customized with a wide variety of toe shapes, the classic design is a narrowed, usually pointed, toe. A newer design, the “roper” style, has a short boot shaft that stops above the ankle but before the middle of the calf, with a very low and squared-off “roper” heel, shaped to the sole of the boot, usually less than one inch high.

Taylor rocking her boots!

Taylor rocking her boots!

Now when people talk about cowboy boots, it is almost always associated with country music. I never understood why. How did this connection happen? Some say that it started with Western dancing. In the 1900’s, men, women and children wore country boots during the day for either working in the field or for riding, and they would come at night ready to dance the Western/Country dances. The Country/Western dances were to country music, therefore the singers who sang for people to dance to, also had their boots on. Country/ Western dancing was meant to be informal, and cowboy boots allow the steps to come out more smoothly and easier to dance, without having to actually lift feet off the ground. Starting from there, country singers sang and performed wearing country boots, not just for dancing, but in general. Apparently, some of the first country records were recorded with artists wearing cowboy boots!

I mean, I get it. Cowboy boots are pretty versatile since that they can be paired with many outfits, from jeans and a T-shirt to fancier evening wears. For example, Taylor glams up a casual white dress with a pair of heart-shaped detailed cowboy boots. I guess now, it doesn’t matter whether you prefer the classic rounded tow, or the newer pointed- toe boot, there is a pair of cowboy boots out there for everyone. I think that the cowboy boot is a smart wardrobe investment, being a timeless piece that wont go out of style!


Filed under Reflection, Texas

7 Responses to This is What Country Looks Like

  1. Tamar: Your post taught me more than I ever expected to know about cowboy boots, and I LOLed when you pointed out that cowboy boots are a wise wardrobe investment because they never go out of style. A lot of people I know would say they are never IN style. Do you have any recommendations for places around Austin to buy boots? I went looking last weekend when my sister was in town but got scared away by some of the prices. Yikes. — Dusty

  2. Makayla Markey

    Boots are so unique! I have a few pairs myself and although it is a truly painful process to break those suckers in, once worn to the mold of your foot there really aren’t many other styles of shoes that can compare in comfort. If you haven’t been to Allen’s Boots of South Congress, I highly recommend making a visit even if you aren’t looking to buy a pair. In your blog you stressed the functionality of boots which I agree with but after my visit to Allen’s Boots it made me view them in a whole nether light. Boots are art as well. Each set in there has a different theme or can tell a different story. They are very fun to try on all the crazy looking boots in there. Its crazy how such a functional shoe could transform to such a fashion statement/work of art.

  3. Mark Anderson

    I agree. Whenever I think of cowboy boot I automatically associate them with someone who likes country music. Whether or not that may be true, that is just the vibe that I get when I see cowboy boots. They have definitely become more popular over the years, and at UT you see them almost everywhere you go. When I think of someone who is dressed “country” I think of: cowboy boots, light faded jeans, a flannel, and a cowboy hat (which is how most country artists dress). Sadly I don’t own any cowboy boots, but maybe I will get some in the future and become a cowboy.

  4. Minsu Kim

    I was actually wondering the same question when I was at the last football game, since you know, EVERYONE wears cowboy boots to the game. Somehow it became a thing on game days, and I don’t know who started this trend. Anyhow, I’m glad to now know where the idea of country music = cowboy boots originated from. A few of my friends who are from small town Texas have multiple pairs of really fancy cowboy boots and yet they know nothing about the history of them. I got a pair as soon as I moved to Texas because my roommate pressured me into buying one, and it really is a good wardrobe investment!

  5. Alina Monzon

    This was a very interesting post to read. I grew up in the city in Florida so cowboy boots were not really popular with my friends at that age. I never imagined that I would own a pair. Then I moved to the country area here in Texas and I just learned to love boots. I definitely think they are the best shoes ever. I think they are comfortable and I can wear them everywhere. Yes, I have worn them to places where they play country music. I have a few pairs of boots now and in different styles. You can never have too many!

  6. Brittany Fietsam

    Cowboy boots are definitely one of the first things that come to mind when I think country. I own a few pairs of cowboy boots myself and I may or may not be asking for a fourth pair for Christmas. I like how you mention the different styles and types of boots. They really are so versatile and I agree 100% that they never truly go out of style. It is funny that there is such a strong connection between country music and cowboy boots. I really enjoyed this post and really feel like I learned a lot from it!

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