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If the boot fits…
Anyone heading off towards the Gympie Music Muster in Queensland this August will need to look the part – and it all starts with a rocking pair of cowboy boots. Whether aiming for practical workhorses or all-out fabulosity, Melissa Gibson, co-owner of Australia’s leading country outfitters, Western World Saddlery and Saddleworld Caboolture provides sound advice on how to find and fit the perfect pair.
“Gympie Music Muster is an iconic Australian event,” says Melissa, “where everyone wants to fit in and look the part.” The old faithfuls are coming to the end of their life, but the thought of buying a new pair is daunting: those were circa 1992, after all. Someone else might be dying for a pair, but not confident about how their flat feet would fare in those pointy toes. Never fear, says Melissa, as while there’s no hard and fast rule to choosing a perfect pair of new cowboy boots, considering a few things will make the task of choosing easier.
“Knowing what they will be used for is the key; horseback riding or line dancing. Perhaps they’ll be worn often with a lot of walking. Some people prefer a basic or traditional design, while others want the heels and bling,” she explains. “And they’ll all be on display at this years Gympie Music Muster.”
There’s so much to consider and the competition to look best at The Gympie Music Muster is stiff. The heel and pointiness of the toe is often simply a matter of preference, Melissa says. Should the boots be worn often and for a variety of reasons, one should opt for a lower heel, although for horseback riding, some sort of a heel is required. “Then again, if the boots are to be used exclusively for kicking it up over the weekend, the sky’s the limit,” Melissa grins.
The same applies to decide the height of the shaft. A taller shaft offers more protection at work, although their length is entirely up to the wearer. “The bottom line is that comfort should come first. It’s not worth having the trendiest pair of cowboy boots if your feet are pulverised every time you wear them,” Melissa said.
Here’s how cowboy boots should fit. In a nutshell, like a glove: snug but not tight, with some flexibility. “If they are the proper fit, they will feel like a second skin from the get-go,” Melissa says. “Bring along a pair of the type of socks you’ll be wearing with your boots. Also, especially in summer, try them on towards the end of the day as feet and legs tend to swell when it’s hot,” she advises.
Boots could either be tried on sitting down (easier) or by standing up into them. It should take a little effort to push a foot into a boot, but it shouldn’t be forced. There may or may not be a popping sound when the foot seats itself into the footbed. This is an indication of a good fit.
The toes should not be squished and should be able to wiggle. A good way to check for room at the toes is to remove the insole and stand on it. There should be about a thumb’s width clearance at the front of the toes and the heel should be cradled. Also, make sure there is no overspill at the widest point of the foot.
It might sound strange, but it’s normal for the heel to slip about half a centimetre forward at first: more than that and the boot is too big; none at all means it’s too small. Because the boot is new and the sole stiff there is nothing preventing the heel from rising up and down. Once the sole starts to loosen up, most of the slippage will disappear. The instep holds the boots on, so it should not be too loose and the ball of the foot should align with the widest part of the sole.
Melissa recommends trying on a few different pairs and taking a walk around in each. “There is an extensive range of styles and sizes, with very detailed sizing charts, with height and width fittings for men and women. If you have your heart set on a pair of cowboy boots, you shouldn’t be held back by the fear of buying the wrong pair. They should, and could be, the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever owned.”
A Basic Rundown Of Cowboy Boots
The Classic Western – Simply designed and straightforward, classic westerns are your all-round pair of cowboy boots. The shaft will usually be around 30cm long.
The Shortie – An old and shorter variation of the western boot, these became popular because they were lighter, more practical, and less expensive compared to the classic.
The Western Workboot – These are functional and durable, distinguished by an extremely comfortable modified heel and rubber sole. Meant for people who spend up to 14 hours a day on their feet.
The Roper – A favourite with working men in the rodeo system, these boots have the ability to get the job done. They are light, practical, and have a wider sole.
The Buckaroo – Flashy and tall, these attention-grabbing babies are for show – and should be worn with swag.
Stockman Boot – A hybrid not necessarily designed for the saddle, it has a rubber sole, shorter heel and wider toe box, often with the same detailed stitching as the classic western. It’s differentiated by a scallop at the top.
Local Acreage & Lifestyle Property Sales Specialist, Gail Bernardin, a long-time customer of Western World Saddlery says “Whether in-store or online I cannot recommend Melissa and Debby high enough, they know their stuff, have an extensive range and give good old-fashion service with a smile every time.”
If you require Horse Riding Equipment, Western Saddlery, Horse Supplies, Saddles, Horse Rugs for Sale, Western World Saddlery, Australian, English Saddlery, Western Show Clothing, in Caboolture, Brisbane, Australia or anything equine then go no further than the expert team at Western World Saddlery in Caboolture or call (07) 5428 1564.
We hope you enjoyed this article
The information contained in this article is based on the authors’ opinion only and is of a general nature which is not indicative of future results or events and does not consider your personal situation or particular needs. Professional advice should always be sought relevant to your circumstances.
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