How Do You Know if Your Cowboy Boots Are Too Small?

Cowboy boots can be the most comfortable pair of shoes you’ve ever worn, that is if you get the right fit. No two brands offer the guarantee of the same size because cowboy boots are usually handmade. So, one size does not fit all! 

Your cowboy boots should be snug and comfortable from the first time you wear them. If they’re too tight at the toes or the shank is pressing your feet ahead so much that your pinky finger is getting crushed and jammed, chances are that your cowboy boots are too small. 

Don’t just buy the wrong size thinking that once you’ll break into your new pair, everything will be fine, because it won’t! Breaking into your new shoes is different from trying to break into boots that don’t fit at all.

It is easy to say that all you have to do is buy the right size. But, the problem with cowboy boots is that they’re not your regular staple boots. They don’t have any laces and they are pointed towards the front.

This might incline you towards buying a size bigger, but that won’t solve anything either. Bigger cowboy boots will create a lot more problems. 

For all that matters, there are certain simple ways that will help you figure out whether or not your cowboy boots are too small for your feet. Expect to learn a lot more – how to ensure that you have the right size, the dos and don’ts that’ll help you buy the right pair, and much more!

How should a cowboy fit

4 Indications That Your Cowboy Boots are Too Small

You can tell whether or not a cowboy boot is too small by the looks of it – says who? People pay so much attention to the size even when they’re buying regular boots, and regular boots have laces. Imagine the sheer need to figure out the right size for cowboy boots that do not have laces. 

If you want to know whether your cowboy boots are too small, we might be able to help. We have a list of certain things that are indicative of the fact that you might be buying a size smaller. Have a look!

1.) You Won’t Be Able to Move Your Heels 

Boots are designed to hold your feet snug so that they don’t slip. But, holding the feet still is one thing, and jamming them is a different thing. If your cowboy boots are too small, your feet will feel painfully trapped.

If you can’t move your heels at all (ideally, the right size allows 1/8th heel movement), it’s an affirmative Yes that your cowboy boots are indeed too small. 

As weird as it might sound, if your heels don’t slip a little in your new cowboy boots, you’ve purchased a smaller size than you should have.

2.) Your Fingers Will Scutter Towards the Front

It’s the shank that keeps the feet aligned perfectly with the boots. When the size is right, the ball and the heel of your feet will fall in a straight line. Your fingers will have room to wiggle.

But, when the size is small, the shank pushes the fingers towards the pointed end of the boots. If that’s been happening to you lately, it means that your new cowboy boots are too small for your feet.

3.) You Won’t Be Able to Wiggle Your Toes From the Beginning

Most cowboy boots are pointed at the front. So, for somebody new to the world of cowboy boots, it’s natural to assume that it’s ok if the pinky finger gets a little squished.

It’s also quite possible that you might think you’ll be able to wiggle your toes once the leather stretches. But, that’s not going to happen. 

If you’re unable to wiggle your toes, it’s better to not buy those cowboy boots because 90 times out of 100, these boots end up being too small for the feet!

4.) The Instep Isn’t Comfortable

The instep of your cowboy boots is probably the most important feature. Since these boots don’t have laces, you will rely on the instep when it comes to the ease of putting the boots on and taking them off.

So, when you wear the boots for the first time, the instep should neither be too loose nor too tight. It should be comfortable instead. 

If it’s too snug and feels tight, you’re probably picking one size smaller. Do try slipping the boots on and off a couple of times before making a final purchase. 

5 Things to Do In Order to Buy the Right Size of Cowboy Boots 

Now that you know all the indications to pay attention to, it’s about time that we enlighten you with the many ways that’ll help you buy the right size of cowboy boots. We have 5 ways that will help you ensure that the boots you’re buying aren’t small.

1.) Perform the Instep Thumb Test 

Just like you perform the thumb test with normal shoes where you press the front to ensure there’s some free space left at the front for your toes, something similar can be performed with cowboy boots too. 

We call it the Instep Thumb Test: Insert your forefinger inside the boot and with your thumb on top of the instep, exert some pressure.

If the leather feels hard and your thumb doesn’t slip, it means that the cowboy boot will be very tight. Skip buying the boots that fail this test. They will give you shoe bites and blisters.

2.) Walk Around for 5-10 Minutes 

Don’t buy cowboy boots by the looks of them. Comfort is something that’ll be needed the most. So, wear the boots and walk around a little. Whilst we know the seller won’t let you walk in the shoes for miles, everybody allows basic testing. 

In the short span you’re wearing the boots, ask yourself the following questions:

1.) Could you wiggle your feet? 

2.) Did the instep exert too much pressure? 

3.) Was the heel slightly slipping?

4.) Were your toes getting pressed against the front very rudely? 

Then decide: if you were able to wiggle your feet, the instep didn’t feel uncomfortable, the heels slipped slightly, and your toes weren’t getting squished while you were walking, the cowboy boot you’re about to buy is the right size.

3.) Listen for a Popping Sound the First Time You Wear the Cowboy Boots 

Here’s the thing: cowboy boots will feel tight, even stiff if you’re not used to wearing one! So, tightness alone cannot be the only parameter to decide whether or not the boot is a true match to your feet size.

When the boot you’re planning to buy emits a faint pop sound as you’re gently trying to slip it on, you’ve probably found the right size.

4.) Choose the Shape According to Your Feet

If you have really wide feet, the chances that you’ll find the best match rests with cowboy boots that are square, rounded or U-shaped at the front. They will offer maximum room to your toes without crushing your pinky finger. 

If your feet are narrow, boots that have a snip or are narrow front will be the best options.

5.) Check the Comfort While Wearing the Socks

One of the biggest mistakes that buyers make is buying cowboy boots without trying them on with the right pair of socks.


Since it’s always recommended to wear all kinds of boots with socks, it makes more sense to decide which size for cowboy boots would be right while wearing socks

Yes, leather boots do expand and there are boot stretchers too. But, there’s no point in trying to stretch a small boot since you cannot expand the shank. If the boot is small for your feet, it will remain so no matter what you do. 

What Not to Do While Buying Cowboy Boots So that You Get the Right Size? 

The not-to-do list is just as important as the to-do list if you want your cowboy boots to fit. Have a look!

1.) Don’t get carried away by the looks, style, and aesthetics alone. The seller will naturally try to sell you the most expensive pair. So, be smart. Focus on comfort (and all the factors we have listed above) more than anything else. 

2.) Don’t go to buy cowboy boots alone if you’re purchasing them for the first time. These boots are nothing like your previous purchases no matter how many shoes you’ve brought before them. It’s always a wise idea to take somebody experienced alongside if that sort of help is available. 

3.) Don’t make a purchase under any sort of pressure that the seller might try to create. Think it through. It’s your hard-earned money. Spend it wisely. 

4.) Don’t buy cowboy boots that have an uncomfortable instep. It will cause blisters and give you shoe bites. New boots already have a reputation for giving shoe bites. Small cowboy boots will only make the matter worse. 

See also: What Do Cowboy Boots Say About a Man?


It is very important to buy the right size of cowboy boots. But determining whether or not the size is small isn’t simple. However, there are some key indications that do point towards smaller sizes.

If you feel that you cannot move your heels or wiggle your toes and the instep feels too tight, it’s most likely that the cowboy boot you’re buying is small.

As long as you keep the factors we have listed above in your mind, you’ll most likely find the perfect pair you’ve always wanted. 

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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