It is common knowledge that boots are designed to serve a practical purpose - to offer protection to the wearer's feet. But boots are available in different, colors, styles and designs as every individual who wears boots has his own taste and preferences. When selecting boots, wearing comfort is of prime importance and expensive boots do not necessarily mean they are more comfortable to wear.
To those less familiar, there are varieties of boots -- cowboy, hiking, biker, dress, work, etc. Men who regularly wear boots generally opt for three most popular types of boots - cowboy boots, motorcycle boots and work boots.
Some men have a fascination for Chelsea dress boots and some favor rubber boots for wearing to workplaces and for playing games. There are boots galore but you should know where, when and how these boots should be worn.
There are many styles of cowboy boots. They can be traditional, tall buckaroo, paddock-horse style, roper, or a combination of these styles. Some motorcycle boots are short and resemble a work-boot or they are tall as predominantly used by bike cops (motor patrol officers). There are specialty boots, specially designed for skiing, hiking, skydiving, motocross, and other adventure sports.
If you wear boots to work with dress pants over them, it is perfectly appropriate to wear cowboy boots that are made to the usual standard 13" height. You can feel them on your feet and legs and they are roomy enough to breathe and not get hot on your legs or feet. Remember python skin on cowboy boots will curl when it gets wet and does not uncurl when it dries.
Cowboy boots are often made from "Roughout" leather. "Roughout" is the opposite of the grain side of the skin. The grain side is invariably smooth while the flesh side is rough. Cowboy boots can be made with either side facing out as the finished side. Suede is a thinner piece of leather that is usually made from the inner splits of a side of leather.
Snake skins are the second most common material from which cowboy boots are made. Snakeskin boots usually have the skin only on the foot of the boot while the shaft is made of leather.
Another popular skin that is used for cowboy boots is lizard. Though there are a variety of lizard skins available, the most common is Teju lizard. The scales of this lizard are large and easily manipulated from which to make cowboy boots. This skin can also be dyed a variety of colors as well.
Ostrich skins became very popular on cowboy boots because the hides are durable and water-resistant, and the birds are also easily farmed.
If you regularly wear boots to work, and your workplace is a construction site or such similar place, then you should select boots that are rugged and boots that can withstand temperature variations, exposure to water and mud, and other rigors.
It is not style but comfort that is crucial if you have to wear boots all daylong or else you will feel miserable. For this reason, manufacturers of work boots are incorporating features that make work boots far more comfortable to wear for extended hours.
A padded collar, soft and soothing insoles, firm arch support, sturdy lug sole, and adjustable lacing and easy to wear – are the features that one today finds in work boots. In fact, some work boots are specially made to comply with safety requirements, such as providing a steel toe and a sole that resists oil, electrical shock and excess heat.
If you are a white collar employee, then well-polished boots with leather soles, and in subdued in colors like black, grey, brown and have rounded toes are the best choice to wear in an office environment. Flashy boots with high heels, colorful inlays, narrow toes, heel rands and made of exotic skins may be fine to wear for social gatherings but may not be fit as office wear.
When you go on a shopping spree, running domestic errands, socializing with colleagues and friends, engaging in sports activities or eating out –You obviously, you may be using a motor cycle. Motor cycle boots possess a good tread so that when you place your boots on the road or pavement, you have better control of your bike. Motor cycle boots are designed to be both functional and stylish.
If you are regularly riding your motorcycle, you should prefer to wear tall boots simply because of the protection tall boots provide. They also look smart when worn with jeans tucked inside the boots and your feet propped up on the bike's highway pegs.
If you will wear boots occasionally and not daily for going to work, then your choice of boots can be easier on selection. You may buy few pairs of boots that you might wear to the office every now and then and to social gathering during evenings. In that case, the boots may be subdued in color with a low heel. If you ride a motorcycle and wear boots only while riding, you may choose one or two pairs of boots as outlined earlier. The decision what boots you should buy has a lot to do with how often and when you will wear them.
If you live in a place where it rains frequently, avoid wearing boots made of skins or hides that can be spoilt by water. Light-colored, untreated leather will spot when it gets wet, and the spot may remain dark. If the weather in your place is extremely hot, you should wear boots that permit your feet to breathe - such as leather. You may also choose boots whose shafts allow air to circulate. Tall, leather-lined boots often get far too hot rather quickly - regardless of the quality.
Though boot height is one of personal preference, some guys are fond of wearing boots with leather or jeans tucked into them. Many others wear jeans or pants over their boots, so the wearer alone knows how tall the boots are. Remember the taller the boot, the more likely it is to feel hot on your legs, or even knock the back of your knees when you sit down.
Some men fancy wearing boots that are very tall, or crotch-high. These boots undoubtedly create a very powerful visual impression. But these types of boots are not comfortable as the wearer can not bend his knees easily while wearing them.
There are many materials that boots are made of – though the most common and ubiquitous is leather as it is durable and water-resistant. Materials from which boots are made of include alligator, buffalo, eel, cow, elephant, goat, kangaroo, lizard, ostrich and snakes like cobra, python and rattlesnake.
Leather is the most common material from which both cowboy boots are made because it is durable, long-lasting, and cowhides can create an excellent shine. When choosing leather boots, make sure that the boots are made of full grain leather. The term ‘full grain’ refers to hides that have not been sanded, buffed or snuffed (artificially corrected).
The grain continues to remain in its natural state which will endow excellent fiber strength resulting in greater durability, natural breathability and greater comfort.
However, remember that wearer comfort of boots has nothing to do with the skin from which the boots are made. Comfort is largely determined by how the sole and foot bed are constructed, and whether a cushion insole is provided. Comfort pertains to quality construction of the interior of the boot and not what hide is on the outside.
There is no natural color of boots as almost all of them are dyed in different colors. Subdued colors like black, brown, grey should be preferred for an office environment where most men appear in dress shoes. However, there are men who feel a sense of self-pride about wearing boots that are dyed in unusual colors such as blue, red, or yellow. The two main factors you need to consider when choosing the right color are versatility and resistance to staining.
The manufacturer of the boot is indeed quite important. When you look for a quality pair of boots, you should look at the label. Some manufacturers are very reputed for quality, while others are more commercial-minded and market mediocre boots at cheaper rates.
Please know that a "boot maker" is not the same as a "boot manufacturer" as boot makers usually have a small and modest production facility, small staff, and makes fewer pairs of boots than boot manufacturers who aim at the wholesale market. Some classic examples of quality boot makers include Legendary, Champion Attitude and Paul Bond for cowboy boots, and Dehner and Wesco for motorcycle boots.
Prominent commercial cowboy boot manufacturers include Ariat, Dan Post, Double H, Georgia, Justin, Lucchese, Nocona, Olathe, Sendra, Tony Lama etc. Low priced cowboy boot makes include Abilene, Cowtown, Dingo, Durango, and Laredo. As a rule, cowboy boots are assembled in Mexico for the U.S. market. Commercial manufacturers of motorcycle boots include All American, Chippewa, Dehner, Wesco etc. Boots with the Harley-Davidson label are factually made in China for the U.S. market.
Features of Good Quality Boots:
Look for boots made of leather of superior quality such as top grain cowhide. Avoid buying boots where the label states "leather upper, balance manmade" then the shaft will mostly be made of plastic and not leather.
Opt for boots that are lined with leather when buying cowboy boots and motorcycle boots as they will be sturdy and not flop over. Further, leather-lined boots are more comfortable for wearing and do not get as hot as boots that are unlined. It is also found that lined boots do not chafe the sensitive skin on your calf region.
Stitching on a pair of boots must decidedly be of high quality. Double-stitching of the sole and on the shaft seam is an absolute must. Decorative stitching on the toe, foot, or shaft is however an aesthetic feature and hence one of your personal preference.
The sole of a boot is important if you need traction for certain activities like motorcycling. Smooth leather soles are ideal for an office environment, but they are not suited for wet conditions where the soles could cause the wearer to slip and fall. If buying a cowboy boot, look for a pegged sole as pegs enhance durability.
If you are not accustomed to wearing boots, then opt for boots with a heel similar to a shoe. Boots that have a low heel are the most common boots worn in several parts of America.
Strangely, in the case of boots it is not always true that the more you pay for a pair of boots, the superior they are in quality. Custom boots will understandably cost more as the boot is specially made to the measurements provided by you and to your specifications using higher-end leathers or skins. Custom boots take a long time to manufacture - three to four months or even longer.
If you are really fond of a pair of boots made by a certain manufacturer, then you have no choice but to buy at the going price. However, if you buy through a major boot retailer rather than ordering from the manufacturer directly – then you can expect to save some money. When buying from a retailer, you may even receive the boots sooner than ordering with the manufacturer. You should avoid being too cost-conscious when purchasing boots. If you opt for unknown brands, they will be cheap in quality as well.
Contrary to widespread belief, the United States did not invent boots. Boots have been worn all over the world from times immemorial. Boots made in the U.S. vary in quality though they are predominantly of superior acceptable quality. Wesco Boots are indeed excellent, but their restricted production in the U.S. makes them costly and it can take 3 - 4 months to have a new pair of Wesco Boots delivered. Dehner boots are elegant but the low-end boots made with Dehcord are not durable and they crack and break. Frye Boots are still made in the U.S. but most of them are made using inferior materials and with automatic machines.
Beware that just because a boot has a well known American company label, it does not necessarily mean that it is made in the U.S. It is wise to avoid buying boots made in China. Sendra boots are manufactured in Spain and are of excellent quality. Most cowboy boots are assembled in Mexico and they vary in quality, but are usually of acceptable standards.