Published on May 25, 2013
Cowboy Boots http://westernhouse.com/
The term cowboy boots is used in reference to a particular style of riding boot, which were typically worn by cowboys. The boots have a pointed or rounded toe, Cuban heel, traditionally no lacing and a high shaft. For the most part, these boots were made out of cowhide leather; however, sometimes they are made from exotic skins like snake, alligator, lizard, ostrich, elephant, eel, stingray, buffalo and elk.
Cowboy Boot Styles
Two basic styles of cowboy boots exist; the roper and the western, which is the classic style.
The roper style is the newer design and it has a short boot shaft which stops higher than the ankle but does not go up to the middle of the calf. This style has squared-off and very low "roper" heel, which is shaped to the sole and the heel is typically less than an inch in height. The roper boots are normally made with rounded toes; however, correlating with changes in style of street wear, squared-toed styles are available as well. Additionally, the roper style is made in a laced-up design that typically fits around the ankle better and there is less likelihood that it will slip off, but the square-toed design and the laces create safety issues when riding.
This classic style of cowboy boots is typified by its tall boot shaft, which goes to the mid-calf or higher; it has an angled "cowboy" heel that is usually higher than one inch. Some of the boots have a still angled but slightly lower "walking" heel. Even though it is possible to customize western boots to have a wide assortment of toe shapes, the authentic, classic design has a narrowed, typically pointed toe.
During mounting and particularly, dismounting a horse, the tread less, slick leather sole of the cowboy boot enables the foot to be easily inserted into and removed from the stirrup of the saddle. Originally, the the boot was rounded and narrowed a bit at the toe in order to make insertion easier. While the very pointed toe is a modernization of the original design, appearing in the decade of the 1940s, the design adds no functional benefit and can cause discomfort if the footwear is used as a working boot.
When in the saddle, the life-threatening risk of the foot slipping through the stirrup is minimized by the tall heel. There was frequently significant risk that the cowboy could fall off a horse, because he typically had to ride unpredictable, young horses and because he was required to carry out difficult ranch work in challenging terrain, which is an indication that he could unexpectedly become unseated by a fast-moving horse. In case the rider fell off the horse and his boot became caught in the stirrup, there was a high probability that the animal could run off in a panic, dragging the rider, resulting in serious injury and even death. The tall heel helps to eliminate that risk.
In the absence of laces, the tall leather shaft helps to hold the cowboy boot in place. The shaft is loose-fitted and comfortable and the absence of lacing is an additional feature which helps to prevent a rider from being dragged, given that his body weight would force his foot from the boot in the event of a fall. While on the horse, the shaft safeguards the ankle and lower leg against rubbing on the leathers of the stirrup and helps to fend off thorns and brush, especially if worn with chinks or chaps. Off the horse, the shaft helps to safeguard the foot and leg against rattlesnakes, thorns, brush and rocks. For creek crossings and in wet weather, the high tops help to prevent mud and water from filling the boot.
The more modern roper style of the cowboy boot with its shorter shaft and lower heel emerged from the conventional design as a response to the requirements of modern rodeo, especially calf roping, in which the rider was required to run and tie the calf and to ride as well. The lower shaft made the boot less expensive and simultaneously allowed the easy removal of the boot. A laced-up design of roper cowboy boots became popular since it kept the boot from too easily falling off and provided additional support for the ankle when on foot; however, the laced-up version has safety issues as it will not be forced off if the cowboy falls from the horse and is dangling in a stirrup. In addition, the boot lacks a smooth upper and the laces themselves could make it a lot easier for the boots to become trapped in the stirrups.
Nowadays, cowboy boots are also worn as a fashion statement and they are often popularly worn as part of a costume during Halloween and to other costume parties throughout the year.
For more information click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_boot
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