Step into a pair of cowboy boots and something magic happens: Your weight shifts, you pop one hip out to the side, and suddenly the jeans (or yoga pants) you were wearing become an actual outfit. And if they’re good cowboy boots, they’ll be comfortable too. With all of the cowboy (and cowboy-inspired) boots to choose from online — and everyone from Everlane to Isabel Marant offering their take on the Western trend — it can be hard to know which ones are right for you. To help you decide, we asked a wide range of stylish experts — from real-life cowgirls and country singers to stylish teens and women who work in fashion — about their favorite cowboy boots to wear to the office, on horseback, and even onstage.
Of the 12 women we spoke with, four praised these boots from Ariat. Singer-songwriter Frankie Zwick, who spends winters in Nashville and has worked as a wrangler for five seasons on ranches in Wyoming and Colorado, says: “I pretty much wear one pair of Ariat boots. A lot of the girls I’ve worked with throughout the years wear them, too. The boots have rubber soles, so if you’re riding or working in the mud, they’re gonna hold up really well.” Zwick wears her distressed-brown Ariats everywhere and likes that she can go from working on a ranch straight to a Honky Tonk in Nashville without having to change her footwear. She says they stand up well to spilled drinks and getting your toes stepped on.
Other fans of Ariat include Amalie MacGowan, social media manager at Man Repeller, writer Jessie Mooney, rodeo barrel racer Keiara Monique, and Nicole Zuelke, a model, actress, and avid horseback rider. MacGowan likes Ariats as an affordable alternative to higher-end designer pairs. (She also owns a few boots from Ganni and a handmade pair from Brother Vellies). She says Ariat has a ton of great options between $100–$200, all with a genuine cowboy boot look and feel. “If you’re gonna do cowboy, you might as well do it full hog,” she says. Mooney bought her pair of Ariat Heritage boots in Nashville in 2017 “on the recommendation of my little sister and her most Southern friend,” because they hit a sweet spot of comfort and style. Of the options she tried that day, the Ariats were the most comfortable, had a subtle-enough design to wear with lots of different outfits, and fell at just the right place on her calf to keep her from looking “stumpy.” Monique, who lives in Los Angeles and has been riding horses since she was 8 months old, wears her Ariats both in and out of the saddle. She says they’re by far the most comfortable boots she’s worn and tells us her 3-year-old daughter wears them, too. “I had a pair of Justin boots that were okay,” she says. “But after a while, they’d start to hurt my feet. Whereas I can wear Ariats for over 12 hours. I might be tired, but my feet don’t hurt. They are just cushier.”