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5 Best Roper Boots for Men: Ranch-Tough and Farm-Friendly

Putting in a hard day’s work on the farm or ranch and need a pair of boots that can keep up with you? Or planning to spend all day on your feet and want footwear that won’t leave your “dogs barking” come nightfall? Then you’re in the right place.

Here are our five favorite roper boots that will give you the cushioning, protection, and support you need for a full day’s labors.

Top Picks Overview

Farm and ranch life isn’t for the faint of heart—or the weak of feet.

Thankfully, there’s a pair of boots built specifically for this sort of work: roper boots.

Crafted as the perfect “middle ground” between cowboy boots and work boots, they’ll be just the ticket to make your long days on the farm or ranch a whole lot more comfortable.

The combination of a lower heel and shorter length makes them a versatile pair of boots great for using both on horseback and trudging for hours every day.

After testing out all the pairs I could get my hands on, I’ve assembled a list of the five best roper boots on the market to make sure your feet have the support, protection, and cushioning needed for a hard day’s work.

How Did I Come Up With My List?

Rhodes Roper profile view of leather

Here in the Heartland, we’ve got a lot of farms.

It’s pretty much a “rite of passage” for every young man to spend time rounding up and branding cattle, irrigating farmland, baling hay, and doing all the other many chores required to keep a farm or ranch operational.

Trust me: after a few long days, you quickly come to value the importance of a good pair of boots, and you look at what the other farm- and ranch-hands are wearing to find what will serve you best.

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In addition, I put in nearly 100 hours personally testing all the best roper boots I was recommended, as well as combing through thousands of real-life user reviews.

Ultimately, I narrowed it down a list of five. I organized that list starting with the one I believed to be the best pick overall, followed by each pair that stood out to me for reasons you’ll see below.

5 Best Men’s Roper Boots in 2023

My Top Pick: Tecovas Earl

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Anyone who’s worn a pair of Tecovas boots will know exactly why they’re at the top of my list. You won’t find many harder-wearing, more comfortable, and more versatile options than those crafted by Tecovas.

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What made the Earl my top pick was how it strode the line perfectly between form and function. The Earl looks like a great cowboy boot, with reinforced pull straps, Goodyear welt construction, and sturdy leather. However, it’s got that “roper” style with the 10-inch mid-calf height and lower heel (1 1/8” rather than 1 ¼”) that makes it better-suited to long days of walking as well as riding.

You’ve got options for your choice of leather (calf, bovine, or goat) as well as the color finish (brown, red, black, and more). The stitching is intricate but surprisingly low-key so it won’t detract from the beauty of the hand-burnished leather. For all its beauty, it’s proven over years of regular use to be one of the hardest-wearing pairs of boots I’ve ever owned.

What I Like

  • The boots fit snugly from the moment I slid them on, but flexed and expanded to adapt to my feet surprisingly quickly. The break-in time was much shorter than with other leather boots I’ve owned.

  • The Earl offers the cowboy boot look but far more comfort and versatility.

  • Even after years of hard use, they’re showing few signs of wear. Minimal maintenance is required to keep them in great shape.

  • The price tag is very affordable but the boots are built to last 10+ years.

What I Don’t Like

  • I did have a bit of struggle at first to slide my extra-wide feet into the narrow shaft. The shaft also constricted my calves until I broke them in fully.

  • The fit around my forefoot and midfoot was almost too snug. Thankfully, they broke in quickly, so I didn’t experience any real discomfort.

What Other Reviewers Say

With over 12,000 reviews, it’s safe to say the Earl is a highly popular pair of roper boots. Some users claim they have “never not been satisfied”, while others even go so far as to claim they’re the best boots they’ve ever worn.

A number of other reviewers did find the same problem I did with the snugness and tight fit right out of the box for guys with wide feet. However, that was the chief (really, only) complaint that I cou

The Verdict

For a top-quality but surprisingly affordable pair of boots, the Tecovas Earl is my top recommendation. They’ll be comfortable for a long day on your feet as well as in the saddle, and have the look, feel, and durability that makes them a very smart investment for any farm or ranch work. 

My Top Pick
Tecovas The Earl
For a top-quality but surprisingly affordable pair of roper boots, the Tecovas Earl is my top recommendation. They’ll be comfortable for a long day on your feet as well as in the saddle, and have the look, feel, and durability that makes them a very smart investment for any farm or ranch work.
$265 at Tecovas
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Best Budget Roper: Ariat Heritage Roper

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I love a good steal. When I look for “budget” boots, I’m looking for footwear that retails at a lower-than-average price tag but still maintains average (or above-average) quality. And that’s exactly what I found with the Ariat Heritage Roper.

These boots are made with premium full-grain leather for the upper, but opt for a cheaper (but hardier) rubber sole—specifically, the barnyard acid-resistant Duratread. On top of that, they feature a lightweight ATS forked shank that provides a sturdy base to combat foot strain when riding and walking. The fact that you can choose your width (narrow, medium, and wide) makes it easy to size them just right to your feet.

What I Like

  • The boots just look good. They’re great to wear for fancier occasions while also being tough enough to endure a full day’s work.

  • The barnyard acid-resistant Duratread sole offers amazing traction on mud, snow, ice, and wet ground.

  •  They’re comfortable when fully broken in, providing great support for riding and striding.

  •  Their price tag makes them easy to replace when they finally wear out years down the line.

What I Don’t Like

  • Shipping/delivery time on these boots was a bit longer than I expected/longer than its competitors.

  • The shaft rubbed against my ankle bones and caused quite a lot of pain and blistering until they broke in fully.

What Other Reviewers Say

Bargain-hunters like me are overall delighted with the quality of these wallet-friendly boots. Reviewers rave about their comfort, durability, and look. One user who struggled to find well-constructed narrow-fit boots was particularly pleased with their purchase, going so far as to recommend them to all guys with narrow feet.

A few negative reviews spoke about quality control issues (stitching breaking right out of the box), as well as the same complaint I had about the fit being too tight around the ankles and causing pain during the first few dozen wears (until broken in).

The Verdict

You won’t find a better bargain than these Ariat boots. Though they’re cheap, they’re not “cheap” in the slightest, but built to last and keep you comfortable for years. The fact that they look good and wear hard is just the icing on the cake.

Best Budget
Ariat Heritage Roper Western Boot
Save big on a great pair of boots. Not only are they incredibly affordable, but they’re built tough enough to last years of hard daily wear.
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Best Upgrade Roper: Chisos No. 6

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Looking for a pair of boots to last for decades and willing to splurge? The Chisos No. 6 is a boot well worth the investment.

The boots are crafted using heritage cowhide leather, meaning it’s free of chemicals, fully natural, and uses no environmentally toxic substances. In addition to being more eco-smart, the heritage leather is also incredibly tough and develops a truly gorgeous patina with regular wear.

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For me, the real “win” of these boots was the Chisos signature “comfort insole”, which offered amazing support and cushioning for my feet. Paired with the shorter heel, flatter footing, and shorter shaft, it has quickly become my favorite pair of work boots for a day slogging through mud and across pastures.

What I Like

  • The comfort insole is spectacular. It offers amazing support and cushioning, but can be removed and replaced when it starts to compress.

  • The heritage cowhide upper and vegetable-tanned leather sole, heel counter, and insole all look gorgeous the more you use them.

  • The shorter-than-average shaft (9½” vs. the usual 10+”) makes them more versatile. A great everyday pair of work boots.

  • The Texan design is eye-catching for sure, but the quality of the Mexican handcrafted leather is unmistakable.

What I Don’t Like

  • Sizing was a bit off on these boots. I’m a Size 13, but the boots felt a bit too tight in the toes for me until I broke them in.

  • The boots squeak a bit more than I’d like.

What Other Reviewers Say

One reviewer found the same squeaking problem I did, and solved it by putting powder under the leather comfort insole. Another real-life user struggled with the insole, claiming it was too large so the boots’ uppers put too much pressure on their foot.

However, the vast majority of reviewers are clearly as in love with these boots as I am. Most of the praises sung are for how comfortable the boots are thanks to the combination of a leather insole and comfort insole. More than a few users called them the “best boots they ever owned” because of their durability, versatility, fit, and support.

The Verdict

The premium price of these boots is reflected both in the stunning good looks of the heritage leather and the amazing comfort of the dual insole. If you want to invest in a pair of boots that will last you for easily two decades (with proper care and maintenance), I consider the Chisos No.6 a smart play every time.

Best Upgrade
Chisos No. 6
These premium boots are crafted using only fine heritage leather that will grow more beautiful as it patinates. The signature Chisos “cushion insole” makes them the most comfortable pair of roper boots around.
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Best Roper for Work: Tecovas Stockton

Tecovas stockton shaft and jeans
Tecovas Stockton

Tecovas earns another place on our list with the Stockton, a pair of roper boots built to make any working man’s day better. Built with ultra-tough bison leather, these shoes can withstand a pitch fork or whipper-snapper blade.

Thanks to the Vibram soles, you’ll have excellent traction in wet and slippery conditions. The seams have all been weatherproofed so your feet will stay dry on even the rainiest day or the deepest marsh mud. For your comfort, shock-absorbing polyurethane insoles have been added to provide cushioning for those long days of riding and walking.

What I Like

  • The leather is treated and the seams are waterproof so I can just wash off dirt and mud with a hose and get back to work.

  • Very little maintenance is needed to keep the bison leather in great shape.

  • The waterproof upper and Vibram sole make them a truly hard-working pair of boots.

  • The boots are insanely comfortable and supportive once broken in.

What I Don’t Like

  • I had the same problem with the Stocktons that I had with the Earls: my wide feet just refused to slide into the narrower-than-expected boot shaft. They’re difficult to get on, though once they’re on, I can trust they’ll stay firmly in place all day long.

  • The boots feel really stiff for a long time. The break-in time for bison leather is longer than average.

What Other Reviewers Say

With more than 3,000 reviews and a 4.6 out of 5-star rating, it’s safe to say these boots are much-beloved by those who’ve tried them. Users largely agree that the bison leather is insanely tough and long-lasting (if a bit stiff and hard to break in), and these end up being some of the most comfortable, supportive boots they’ve ever owned.

Some of the users with wide feet found the same problem I did. Thankfully, the Stocktons can be purchased in EE, with extra room in the forefoot to accommodate guys with feet like me. The challenge of getting them on and off remains until fully broken in regardless of foot size.

The Verdict

These are just an all-around great pair of work boots. Built from ultra-tough, long-lasting materials, they’re durable, versatile, and waterproof enough you can wear them all year long and work in any condition. All that and a reasonable price tag, too.

Best for Work
Tecovas Stockton

While the Tecovas Stockton is a bit difficult to put on, it’s a tough, rugged boot at a fantastic price, given the material quality. I can easily say It's my favorite western work boot.

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Best Dress Roper Boot: Rhodes Roper

These roper boots are built tough enough to endure a hard day’s work, but you may want to keep them as a backup pair for those days when you need to dress up. The boot is crafted using gorgeous premium cowhide leather sourced from LE FARC tannery in Leon, Mexico, called the “leather capital of Latin America”. As with so many other boots from Leon, they look beautiful and dressy enough to pair with your fanciest outfits for a night out on the town or a dinner date.

Don’t mistake their beauty for lack of durability—they’ll still hold up to a day of riding or farming with the best of them. However, their full leather construction (from upper to insert to outsole) gives them a stylish look you won’t get with some of the more work-oriented roper boots on our list.  

What I Like

  • The boots feature the rustic, premium look that makes boots from Leon, Mexico such an eye-catching style choice.

  • They’re comfortable enough to wear for a hard day’s work, but stylish enough for an upscale event.

  • The boots are crafted using only premium materials, including LE FARC cowhide.

  • The bovine lining makes them incredibly soft on your feet and will prevent blisters while also keeping you warm.

What I Don’t Like

  • Like so many other pairs of boots from Leon, they can be a bit too flamboyant and shiny for my tastes. Thankfully, the gloss wears off with just a few uses.

  • The leather soles are smooth with no pattern. Not a bad choice if I’m riding or slogging through mud, but they don’t offer great traction in urban settings.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers tend to agree that these boots are worth the investment. Highlights mentioned by real life users include their comfort, durability, true-to-size-fit, and quick break-in time.

A few negative reviews emphasized the narrowness of the boots’ shaft. People with wide feet and thick calves may find it difficult to fit into the boots until they’re fully broken in.

The Verdict

These boots are more than suitable for your ideal “everyday” pair, tough enough to handle the rigors of your work life and becoming more comfortable the longer you wear them. However, I recommend you have these as your “alternates” rather than “mains”. They’re the right choice to wear when getting all gussied up and heading out for a social event when you want to look your best.

Rhodes Roper

Pair these gorgeous Mexican hand-crafted boots with your favorite blue jeans, collar shirt, and ten gallon hat for a stylish night out. They’re an all-around good-looking, hard-wearing, work-friendly pair of boots.

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5 Key Differences Between Roper Boots and Cowboy Boots

Rhodes Roper close up leather detail
Wearing my Rhodes Roper

While roper and cowboy boots are from the same family, there are clear differences between the two boot styles. 

Knowing the differences and why they’re relevant can make choosing the right boots easier. You might find that the roper boot suits your needs much better than a traditional cowboy boot.

1. Heel Shapes

types of boot heels
Different types of cowboy boot heels

The main reason why a roper is a roper is because of the low block heel. 

Cowboy boots traditionally have a taller heel with a taper. There are dozens of variations on the cowboy boot heel, but all roper heels are basically the same. 

Roper boots were first introduced in the 1940s and early 1950s as a way for cowboys to rope cattle while on horseback, then quickly jump off the horse to get to the calf and finish roping it.

Having a cowboy boot on with tall heels makes a quick dismount more difficult, so ropers were designed to solve both the practical issues and the aesthetics.

2. Boot Shaft Length

How to Measure the Boot Shaft Diagram

Roper boots have a shorter shaft. A lot of cowboy boots are 12” high, but your standard roper is either 8 or 10”. 

This means that ropers fit better under a pair of jeans, and they’re also easier to slip on and off. 

3. Toe Shapes

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Roper boots almost always have a standard round toe. A lot of cowboy boots do, too. But you can also find dozens of creative toe-box shapes on traditional cowboy boots as well. 

Cowboy boots will have almond toes, square toes, snip toes—it goes on and on. 

But almost all roper boots I’ve seen stick to the simple round toe shape. 

Because of the low block heel and standard round toe, roper boots are often the first western boot a lot of guys wear. If you’re feeling intimidated by the tall heel and fancy stitching designs, a roper is a safer style option as well. 

4. What Soles do Roper Boots Have?

model wearing Rhodes Roper laid back showing soles

Modern roper boots usually have a rubber sole, which offers better grip and water resistance since ropers are primarily used for walking rather than riding. 

Classic cowboy boots typically have a leather sole, which looks great and is perfect for slipping into a stirrup.

There’s no right or wrong sole to have; cowboy boots have been worn with leather soles for both riding and roping, but a roper boot with a rubber sole does have the advantage of being more hardwearing. 

The leather sole of a cowboy boot can become incredibly comfortable, especially after a lot of wear, as the leather molds itself to the contours of your foot. The problem is that you’ll probably have to replace the sole every few years, which can add to the cost over time. 

You can resole your cowboy boots regardless of whether they have a leather or rubber sole. 

A rubber sole on a roper won’t mold to your foot shape, but the benefits of a sole that won’t need replacing after a few years are clear to see. Ropers are less likely to leak, there’s less chance of a hole appearing in the sole, and they’re comfortable to wear all day.

5. Laces, Zippers, and Cowboy Boots

wearing camel city mill lightweight socks with cowboy boots

The last significant difference between roper boots and cowboy boots is how you actually put them on.

Cowboy boots must be pulled on like a wellington boot; the longer shaft is pulled up to your calf, and there are no laces to tie or zips to allow easier access.

While the same can be said of most styles of roper boots, you can also find some side-zip roper boots, which are more manageable for some. The Heritage IV Zip Paddock boot by Ariat is a beautiful roper boot with a zipper down the arch, making slipping them on and off a breeze.

If you struggle getting your roper boots or your cowboy boots off, you’d be surprised at how much a boot jack helps. 

What are Roper Boots Used For?

Rhodes Roper on model sitting

Historically, roper boots were created literally for roping animals. During the 40s and 50s, rodeo ropers wore tennis shoes rather than cowboy boots to dismount and sprint to the roped quadruped, but the look wasn’t too appealing to the Rodeo Cowboy Association.  

Having organized rodeos where the rodeo cowboy looks like a cross between Pete Sampras and John Wayne meant finding a stylish, western-themed alternative was needed. And so a shorter, tighter boot was created that could also give the roper better grip once dismounting.

The roper boot was the perfect design, fine for periods in the saddle but equally perfect for those who also spend a lot of time on their feet. While roping cattle was the main reason for their design, a roper can also be worn as a casual boot or even to the office. 

Tecovas stockton bison leather detail

One of the most significant benefits of a roper boot is its versatility; to use the Tecovas Stockton boot as an example, the Stockton is a handsome boot that’s equally at home on a night on the town as it is for working all day. With Vibram soles and weatherproof seams, you could be roping calves or line-dancing and not look out of place.

Stride and Ride in Style

Whether you’re roping cattle, plowing a field, or baling hay, you’ll want a good pair of boots to keep you comfortable on your feet or in the saddle. Roper boots are built just right for use both on horseback and the ground. Tough, versatile, and suitable for any weather conditions, they’re a hard-working rancher or farmer’s best friend.

My research proved the Tecovas Earl to be the best choice for your working-man’s boots. Their comfort, durability, and stylish good looks made them the clear winner in my books.

My Top Pick
Tecovas The Earl

For a top-quality but surprisingly affordable pair of roper boots, the Tecovas Earl is my top recommendation. They’ll be comfortable for a long day on your feet as well as in the saddle, and have the look, feel, and durability that makes them a very smart investment for any farm or ranch work.

$265 at Tecovas
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.


Are roper boots good for walking all day?

Roper boots feature a heel 1/8 of an inch shorter than cowboy boots, which makes them better suited to walking while still giving you enough of a heel to grip your stirrups as you ride.

Roper boots will usually incorporate more arch support and a more cushioned footbed to reduce foot strain over long hours of walking.

Why are roper boots called ropers?

Roper boots earned their name because they were largely used by cattle ropers who had to jump off their horses’ backs and run over to the downed cattle to finish tying off the knots. It’s designed specifically to be used both in the saddle and on the ground.

Are roper boots out of style?

Roper boots are absolutely not out of style—and likely never will be. As long as there are guys who want or need to wear cowboy boots for their daily farm or ranch work, roper boots will serve as a lower, more versatile alternative.

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