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5 Best Cowboy Work Boots: Safety Meets Western Comfort

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best cowboy work boots

Putting in a full day’s work on your farm, ranch, or job site?

Make sure your feet are protected, cushioned, and kept comfy all day long in one of our picks of the best cowboy work boots below.

Best for Ranch Work
  • Stylish while also being robust and work-friendly
  • Slip-resistant rubber outsole offers great traction
  • Bison leather upper is tough and naturally water-resistant
Best Steel Toe
  • The most comfortable pair of work boots I’ve ever tested
  • Available in soft, steel, and composite toe models
  • Excellent support and cushioning
Best Square Toe
  • Handsome, unique distressed look
  • Roomy toe box is great for wider feet
  • Classic cowboy boot style, great for long days in the saddle
Best Under $200
  • Budget-friendly without compromising on quality
  • Low heel makes for more comfortable hours on your feet
  • An all-around great pair of work boots built in the cowboy style
Best Wedge Sole
  • Thick, supportive, and very comfortable footbed
  • Wedge sole offers stable footing on uneven/slippery terrain
  • Ideal for heavier wearers

A good pair of cowboy work boots is worth their weight in gold.

Everyday casual and stylish cowboy boots may suffice to look dapper on the weekend, but there’s no way they can handle the rigors of a solid 8 to 12 hours of hard work. 

Cowboy work boots usually have a few features that your “standard” cowboy boots might not: a thicker, more supportive sole to reduce fatigue a steel shank for stability, more aggressive tread, resilience against both water and barnyard chemicals, maybe even odor-resistance and temperature-regulating properties.

But whatever features they have, suffice it to say that they are the boots you’ll absolutely want to pull on when the time comes to put in a full day’s labor.

How Did I Come Up With My List?

Ariat Groundbreaker in gravel

Growing up in central British Columbia, farmlands and ranches are everywhere.

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It’s pretty much the norm for young men (and women) to spend time riding herd, baling hay, rounding up cattle, or mucking out a barn. Some might even call it a “rite of passage” in parts of the province where everyone’s got at least one or two relatives with a farm or ranch.

And, of course, cowboy boots are the style of choice.

Knowing this, I’ve spent a great deal of time researching and testing cowboy work boots—not only for myself, but for my sons, who have spent more than a few enjoyable weekends on their friends’ parents’ farms and ranches.

Capitan bull hide leather detail

I’ve talked to countless ranchers, farmers, and cowboys, combed through hundreds of products and thousands of reviews, all to find the best boots that can be used both for riding and putting in a hard day’s work.

My research has led me to the five best cowboy work boots below. I’ve included them on my list because they serve a specific purpose or suit a particular need.

5 Best Western Style Work Boots for Men

Best for Ranch Work: Tecovas Bandera

I’ll make no secret of it: I’m a big Tecovas fan. Something about the classic Texan cowboy style, quality construction, and great price tags just appeals to both me and my wallet.

So when I saw what they had to offer me in the Bandera, I knew I’d found the right pair of cowboy work boots.

The Banderas are your classic cowboy boot: 1¾” heel, 12” shaft, tough leather (bison, which is insanely durable) construction, scalloped collar with two loops to make them easy to pull on, and stacked leather heel. It’s everything I look for in a good-looking pair of cowboy boots.

And yet, they’re so work-friendly, too. The outsoles, instead of leather, are made from Vibram rubber that is both super grippy and oil-resistant. Bison leather is already naturally water-resistant, but the boots are treated with an extra coating to make them even more impermeable. The seams, too, are reinforced and fully weatherproof.

The removable shock-absorbing polyurethane insoles (on top of the leather lining) add both support and cushioning to keep your feet comfortable all day long.

Best of all, the boots are designed to be hosed down, so getting rid of mud, muck, and manure is easier than ever.

What I Like

  • Excellent cushioning and arch support thanks to the removable shock-absorbing insoles.

  • High (1¾”) heel is excellent for riding, but still very comfortable for a long day on your feet.

  • Beautifully durable and versatile, while still being stylish.

  • Short break-in time—they’re fairly comfortable right out of the box.

What I Don’t Like

  • My son, who has flat feet, said the heel was a little too high for him and hurt his feet. My arches had no problems, however.  

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers who’ve tested the Tecovas Bandera seem to love it as much as I do, which makes its 4.78 out of 5-star rating over 3,000+ reviews not a big surprise.

Users rave about the short break-in time, the high quality and excellent workmanship, the bison leather’s toughness, and the great balance between classy looks and work-friendly durability.

A few complained that the sizing ran a bit small and the fit felt a bit too snug.

Some also said the boot was a bit too heavy or the bison leather felt too thick. (For work purposes, I consider that a “pro” all the way.)

The Verdict

At the end of the day, I’ve found no better cowboy work boots than the Tecovas Bandera that are as versatile for use both on horseback and on your feet. Between the classic cowboy design and the work-friendly features—like water-resistant leather, Vibram rubber outsoles, and the removable shock-absorbing insoles—my research has yet to lead me to a better pair of boots for ranching.

Best for Ranch Work
Tecovas Bandera

The Bandera is Tecovas' work-friendly cowboy boot. Rather than the traditional leather sole found on most cowboy boots, the Bandera is loaded with a heavy rubber lug sole that'll give you maximum traction on the job site.

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Best Steel Toe: Ariat WorkHog

Ariat Boots Review Workhog and Midtown Rambler

If there is one boot that could give the Tecovas Bandera a run for its money as my all-time favorite cowboy work boot, it would be Ariat’s WorkHog.

These boots have everything I want for a day of work: waterproof construction so I can use them in the rain and mud, EVA midsole and ATS Max technology that absorbs shock with every step, tough Duratread rubber outsole (that’s slip- and oil-resistant), a lower-than-average heel that’s very comfortable for a long day on my feet, and a square toe that offers my wide feet and thick toes extra room to move around in.

ariat workhog work boot with sawdust

Ariat also offers a model of the WorkHog with a composite toe, which my mechanic son has been using and loving for 2+ years now.

They may not look quite as much like the classic cowboy boot as the Tecovas Bandera (hence their place second on my list), but they’re some of the best work boots I’ve ever owned.

What I Like

  • Waterproof, oil-resistant, corrosion-resistant, barnyard chemical resistant, and overall just beautifully tough.

  • A well-built pair of work boots with ample arch support and cushioning to reduce fatigue when on my feet all day.

  • Long-lasting—I’ve owned mine for 5 years and they’re showing no signs of quitting.

  • Square toe is delightfully roomy and fits my wide feet nicely.

What I Don’t Like

  • The break-in time is a bit longer than average, so they take a week or so to get properly comfortable to wear.

What Other Reviewers Say

With hundreds of reviews and a 4.4 out of 5-star rating, it’s clear reviewers share my sentiments about these Ariat boots.

I’ve read reviews praising the boots for staying dry and warm in wet, cold weather, for being comfortable enough to wear hunting and hiking as well as to work, and for being resilient enough to last for years in high-damage environments (for example, in a metalworking shop).

A few reviewers had complaints about them being a bit too tight across the forefoot, particularly during the break-in time. Some also reported quality control issues, including threads coming unstitched within days or the boots arriving scuffed or scratched.

The Verdict

I can’t recommend the Ariat Workhogs highly enough if you like the cowboy style but really you just want a great pair of all-around work boots. Comfortable, supportive, protective, slip-resistant water-resistant, and resilient—what more could you ask for?

Best Steel Toe
Ariat WorkHog

Ariat gave these an apt name. These waterproof work boots are tough. Combine that with Ariat's ATS comfort system, and suddenly working on your feet for 10-12 hours straight is much easier.

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Best Square Toe: Capitan Cheyenne

Capitan cheyenne

As a big guy with wide feet and thick toes, the square toe style has always held the most appeal to me. Round toe and snip toe boots just feel too constricting, but square toe boots give my feet room to move and breathe.

Of all the square toe work boots I’ve tried, the Capitan Cheyenne is one of my all-time favorites. And that’s largely due to its amazing good looks.

The leather upper is distressed to give it a really unique “vintage” look. Each pair is unique from the moment it arrives, and it just gets more eye-catching the more you wear them. The stitching details are a bit too colorful for my tastes, but if you like bright colors and bold patterns, get ready to fall in love.

Capitan cheyenne boot on foot

Don’t get me wrong, though, the boot is just as work-friendly as it is stylish. The square toe, 1½” stacked leather heel, 13” shaft, and roomy toe box makes them perfect for a long day of riding in comfort. They’ve got cushioning enough for ropers, though you might want to add in an extra supportive insole if you’re going to spend all day on your feet.

They’re just a handsome boot that strikes a great balance between form and function.

What I Like

  •  Distressed look is very unique and striking.

  • Square toe box is spacious enough to fit very wide feet/thick toes.

  • Handcrafted quality; built to last for years of daily riding.

  • The boots have space enough to insert an orthotic or cushioned insoles for extra comfort.

What I Don’t Like

  • On their own, the boots don’t have quite enough cushioning for a long day on your feet. You will need an insole if you want to use these out of the saddle.

What Other Reviewers Say

Most of the positive reviews on Capitan’s website praise the boots’ dashing good looks, solid construction, and excellent customer service. A few users found the same problem I did (not enough cushioning), while others found the shafts were a bit too tight and were harder to pull off/on than they might like. You might need to put in a bit of extra work breaking them in to accommodate thicker ankles or calves.

The Verdict

For those who spend more time in the saddle than on their feet, the Capitan Cheyennes are going to be some of the most comfortable and stylish cowboy work boots you can own. Their distressed look is unique, their build is long-lasting, and though they’re not quite as good for hours of walking, they’re cowboy boots that will ensure your feet stay comfortable in the stirrups all day long. And there’s no denying that roomy square toe is a game-changer if you’ve got wide feet like me.

Best Under $200: Ariat Groundbreaker

model putting on Ariat Groundbreaker

Any pair of boots that can get the job done right and save me money is going to be an insta-buy for me—and that’s exactly what the Ariat Groundbreakers are.

These are work boots to their core: oil- and slip-resistant rubber Duratread sole, high-rebound comfort insoles, 4LR technology to increase stability and support, mesh inner lining to maximize breathability, and 1” heel that’s low enough to be comfortable for a long day of walking.

Ariat Groundbreaker on foot

They’re built not only for riding and ranching, but also to use around a barn, warehouse, or even a construction site. They meet ASTM standards for electrical hazard resistant footwear, and there’s even a steel-toe model to make them suitable for job sites.

And, best of all is that sweet, sweet sub-$200 price tag that makes them a bargain-hunter’s dream come true.

What I Like

  •  Just a really well-built pair of work boots at a great price.

  • Compatible with use on any job or construction site; steel-toed model available.

  • Comfortable, support, and sturdy.

  • Great for anyone who spends all day on their feet.

What I Don’t Like

  • I found that after 2+ years of use on wet, muddy terrain, the water damaged the sole of one boot so much that it separated from the upper. But the problem was solved with a re-soling, and the boots are better than ever.

What Other Reviewers Say

Out of hundreds of reviews, the vast majority are from customers who are as fond of their Ariat Groundbreakers as I am of mine. Positive feedback highlight the all-day comfort, durability, the sizing, the ease of pulling them off and on, the light weight, and water-resistance.

A couple of reviewers saw the same issue I did with the sole separating from the upper. Turns out it’s a problem that occurs primarily when the boots’ interior get wet, that the water damages the resin laminated paper holding the boots together and they fall apart. A good thing to know if you’re going to use the boots out in rainy or wet conditions.

The Verdict

After personally testing these boots for 6 months, I can say I have yet to find a better pair of cowboy work boots that hit all the high notes I look for (support, durability, and comfort) at such a low price tag. Anyone looking to cut costs without cutting back on quality should definitely consider the Ariat Groundbreakers as a budget-friendly boot of choice.

Best Wedge Sole: Tecovas Knox

Ever since I slipped on my first pair of Red Wings, I’ve been a huge proponent of the wedge sole. It offers so much support, full foot contact with the ground for better traction, and just tends to be more comfortable overall.

Which is why I’m very happy to include the Tecovas Knox boots on this list. These work boots are made in the roper style (round toe for easy sliding into your stirrups and a 10-inch shaft for more versatility jumping in and out of your saddle), but with a 1” Vibram wedge outsole that improves grip and stability.

For those (like me) who need more arch support and cushioning, these boots include removable shock-absorbing polyurethane insoles atop the dual footbed. I’ve worn these bad boys for 10+ hours a day and they do an amazing job of staving off foot fatigue even when hoofing it across acres of farm and ranch lands.

What I Like

  • Wedge sole, dual footbed, and shock-absorbing insoles offer amazing support and comfort.

  • Very stable and grippy boot, both on hard terrain (wet concrete sidewalks) and soft (mud and grass).

  • Solidly built, with a smooth-finished bovine leather that will last for years of use.

  • Great price tag.

What I Don’t Like

  • If I had one complaint, it’s that the round toe is just a little too tight for my wide feet.

What Other Reviewers Say

With more than 2,000 reviews and a 4.78 out of 5-star rating, there’s no doubt these boots are a popular choice. And with good reason: users seem to love their construction, handsome good looks, leather finish, the great fit, amazing comfort and support, and Tecovas’ customer service, which has a reputation for handling issues and complaints with impressive efficiency.

Those few negative reviews I could find spoke of the wedge sole wearing down more quickly than expected, or of a few quality control issues (boots arriving scuffed or blemished).

The Verdict

Having tested the Tecovas Knox boots for myself, I can say with full confidence you’ll be hard pressed find a better-looking or better-performing pair of cowboy work boots with a wedge sole anywhere. Their roper style makes them wonderfully versatile but the combination of the shock-absorbing insoles, the dual footbed, and the thick, full-foot wedge sole makes them as comfortable and supportive as a big, heavy guy like me could ask for. And, of course, there’s no arguing with their very affordable (under-$300) price tag.

Best Wedge Sole
Tecovas Knox

This wedge sole roper offers more arch support and more comfort if you work long days standing on concrete. A lot of guys who struggle with knee or back pain find that the wedge sole is game-changing and allows you to go through a 12 hour shift without getting tired.

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Ride and Ranch Right

For anyone who’s going to be putting in a long day’s work on a ranch, farm, vineyard, at a construction site, or in a warehouse, the right pair of boots isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s an absolute must.

You need boots that offer sufficient support and cushioning for your feet, stability on uneven or muddy ground, protection against rain and work hazards, and, most important of all, the stylish good looks of a cowboy boot.

For the best all-around cowboy work boot, I’m a big fan of the Tecovas Bandera. It’s built tough, looks great, can handle any ranch or farm, and will do a great job of keeping you comfortable both on your feet and in the saddle.

Our Top Pick
Tecovas Bandera

The Bandera is Tecovas' work-friendly cowboy boot. Rather than the traditional leather sole found on most cowboy boots, the Bandera is loaded with a heavy rubber lug sole that'll give you maximum traction on the job site.

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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

If you’re working on a job site or machine shop that requires a steel toe, the Ariat WorkHog is the pair for you. It’ll more than handle the rigors of any industrial environment while offering you the support and stability you need.

The Capitan Cheyenne is the choice for any wide-footed guy who wants a bit more flair to their work outfit, while the Ariat Groundbreaker offers a budget-friendly and ultra-sturdy option. And if you need the maximum stability and comfort only a wedge sole boot can provide, you can’t go wrong with the Tecovas Knox.


Can you use cowboy boots for work?

If you choose the right pair, absolutely!

Some jobs or work sites require the use of a steel toe or composite toe, and many modern cowboy work boots have added them along with other features (like a rubber sole) to make them safe to use around electrical hazards or meet ASTM standards.

But over the course of a long day’s work, support and comfort matters nearly as much as safety. You’ll want to make sure the cowboy boots are built to be compatible to long hours spent on your feet as well as in the saddle.

What’s the difference between cowboy boots and cowboy work boots?

The classic “Cowboy boot” is built more for use in the saddle, for cowboy-specific tasks, or for style (like your favorite cowboy dress boots).

But cowboy work boots have been given a modern “upgrade” with elements like rubber outsoles, steel toes, wedge soles, and water- and barnyard acid-resistant treatments to make the leather more durable. No less stylish but far more durable.  

What boots do ranchers actually wear?

Ranchers wear whatever boots suit their style and their daily work best. Those who spend most of their time riding will opt for the more “classic” styles, like riding boots, the Western cowboy boot, or even buckaroo boots. Those who spend more time on their feet will usually opt for roper boots, packer boots, walking boots, or cowboy work boots.

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Our Favorite Boot Sock
Camel City Mill Lightweight Wool Work Sock

Made in the USA from Merino wool, these work socks really are something else in terms of quality. They feature compression through the arch and calf which helps your feet recover after a long day. Plus, because they're Merino wool, they're breathable and help reduce foot sweat.

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