Capitan Boots Review: Is the New Cowboy Boot Brand Worth It?

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Wondering if the new cowboy brand Capitan is worth it? In a world filled with classics, it can be difficult to know if you’re getting a good value.

In this Capitan boots review, I picked up their two most popular boots and I’ll dive into the details so you can decide whether Capitan is right for you.

Review Feature Image/Icon Image Source: Capitan Boots

Capitan Boots

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Bottom line: Capitan boots are good quality and fairly priced. Between the two boots I got, there was some sloppy finishing, and one of the boots shipped a half-size smaller than I ordered. But these boots are crafted with a Goodyear welt, butyl-leather sole, lemonwood pegs, and a whole lot of leather in the heel and insole. Personally, I like Tecovas better for a few reasons, but if you love the wide square toe, the quality is fair for the price with Capitan.

Ratings:

At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Design At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Quality of Materials At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Craftsmanship At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Fit & Sizing At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Value for Money At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon

Pros:

  • Traditional boot making methods like lemonwood pegs and Goodyear welt construction
  • Genuine leather backstay on the inside of the boot that makes these boots much easier to put on
  • Underneath the removable high-density foam insole, it’s all leather---a good sign for durability

Cons:

  • One of my pairs was finished quickly, and while it’s only cosmetic, my first impression was that they’re a bit sloppy
  • One of my pairs was ordered a size 10.5D, but I got a size 10D in a 10.5D box
  • I think intentionally distressed leather is tacky

I recently took a trip to Colorado, and man, I saw a lot of cowboy boots.

I’ve been checking out some of the most popular brands and getting a few styles here and there. 

And recently, I heard about Capitan—a new cowboy boot brand that specializes in wide square toe boots for men. I picked up a few pairs and after wearing them for a while, I’m ready to dive into my thoughts. 

What Is Capitan Boots?

Capitan cheyenne boot on foot

Capitan boots is a new brand from one of the biggest names in women’s cowboy boots, Lane Boots. 

After dominating the ladies market for so long (and building an amazing network of craftsmen along the way), Lane stepped into men’s boots and launched Capitan.

Capitan boots mostly have a broad, square toe, though there are a few “broad snip-toe” styles as well. There’s a common theme with Capitans—distressed leather upper, contrasting leather or stitching along the shaft, and classic cowboy boot construction from Leon, Mexico. 

model leaned against fence wearing Capitan boots

Now I don’t know this for a fact, but I believe the owner of Capitan boots also owns the factory these boots are made in (I know he owns a factory in Leon, but I can’t confirm Capitan boots are made there, though that would make sense). That’s one way the brand is able to create savings—they’re a true direct-to-consumer brand. 

Capitan Boots

Capitan boots are good quality and fairly priced. These boots are crafted with a Goodyear welt, butyl-leather sole, lemonwood pegs, and a whole lot of leather in the heel and insole. Personally, I like Tecovas better for a few reasons, but if you love the wide square toe, the quality is fair for the price with Capitan.

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Things to Consider Before Buying from Capitan Boots

Capitan lubbock boot

Capitan specialized in broad square toe boots, so if you don’t like that particular look, you’re not going to have many good options. 

However, if you specifically want a broad square toe, then you’ll have dozens of color combinations to choose from. 

Capitan boots have solid construction and I like that they have a removable high density foam (polyurethane) footbed. You can take out the PU insert and add your own insole or orthotic if needed—but you may want to adjust your sizing up if that’s the route you want to go. 

author wearing Capitan boots

I think Capitan boots are more flashy and at times feel like they’re “doing too much.” Personally, I prefer the simplicity and classic looks of Tecovas boots

I wouldn’t say the construction is better on Tecovas, but the finishing is neater on my Tecovas and the leather options and stitching isn’t so “in your face.” I like my cowboy boots to be understated, and Capitan aren’t. Lime green stitching? Intentionally distressed leather? The style may be right up your alley, but it’s a little complicated for my tastes. 

My Capitan Boot Reviews

I picked up two of Capitan’s most popular styles: the Lubbock and the Cheyenne. These boots are basically the same—they’re built on the same last with the same construction method and materials throughout the inside of the boot.

The big difference is the style, color, and upper leathers used. I’ll go into detail on the Lubbock, but know that what I say there also reflects my thoughts on the Cheyenne and other similar models from Capitan

Lubbock

model wearing Capitan lubbock boot

The Lubbock is a two-toned square-toe cowboy boot featuring sanded black bull-hide leather and a genuine leather shaft. There’s subtle red flame-like stitching running up the shaft, which I think looks great. 

I like the design a lot, and I think the added leather details on the pull-tabs is a nice touch. 

As for style overall, I have to admit that I don’t really like the wide square-toe look. I wanted to give it a try, but it just doesn’t work well for me. That said, I’m not docking Capitan any points here because it’s not like they’re hiding the fact that these are square. 

Capitan Lubbock Boots

The matte, sanded finish on this bull-hide boot, combined with the square toe means this boot is all about given 'em the business.

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Capitan bull hide leather detail

The sanded bull-hide leather has a unique texture to it. While the Cheyenne boot I have is intentionally distressed, bull hide is so rough and textured naturally, this has the look of distressed leather without any special treatment. 

Because the leather is lightly sanded, it has a matte appearance and a little bit of knap. 

There are some elements of the Lubbock that disappoint me. I’ll start with the biggest: I ordered a size 10.5D, and the box I got said 10.5D, but the boots are size 10D. 

Capitan lubbock profile

I thought maybe there was a misprint on the inside of the boot (it says 10D), but when I compare my Lubbock to my 10.5D Cheyenne, there’s definitely more room in the Cheyenne

So having the wrong size shipped is a bummer. And there were also some finishing issues with the Lubbock that I haven’t seen with other western boot brands. 

The heel ridge in the back looks like it was smashed a bit during the manufacturing process. And when I look at the “waist” of the boot where the Goodyear welt ends, I can see some areas where the craftsmen needed to do a quick run with an edge beveler to remove frayed leather but didn’t. 

Capitan smashed heel qc

When I compare the finishing on my Capitans to my Tecovas and Ariat boots, I can see that there wasn’t as much attention paid to the fine details at the very end. 

Capitan missed qc bevel leather midsole

That said, these are minor cosmetic issues and they won’t affect the performance of the boot at all. It’d be pretty easy to overlook these details, but since I’ve reviewed over 100 boots, I tend to notice small things.

Capitan uses classic western boot construction methods like a 180-degree Goodyear welt and hammered lemonwood pegs to secure the outsole along the arch. 

Capitan lubbock sole

The outsole is butyl-treated leather, which is standard on western boots. A lot of guys are used to rubber soles and may feel a bit “slippy” when wearing leather soles. When I know I like a boot with a leather sole, I usually go onto concrete and scuff the leather up a bit—that’ll help a lot with traction. 

I like the half-inch rubber toplift (or heel cap). There’s a good amount of material on the heel so you don’t have to worry about replacing it for a while. I tend to wear out the heel of my boots before anything else, so I appreciate having a decent amount of rubber there. 

The rest of the heel is stacked leather and the whole insole is also leather. Capitan adds a removable high density foam insert for shock absorption and comfort. If you want to take out the footbed and add your own custom orthotic, that’s an option, though I’d recommend sizing up a half size if that’s the route you want to go. 

Capitan Lubbock Boots

The matte, sanded finish on this bull-hide boot, combined with the square toe means this boot is all about given 'em the business.

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Capitan lubbock on white background

Speaking of sizing, I recommend getting your standard sneaker or dress shoe size—whatever the most common shoe size you have in your closet: get that. 

I’m a size 10.5D on the Brannock device and the 10.5D is my best size for Capitan boots

I did fit into the 10D, but it was a bit too snug for comfort. Capitan also offers an array of E widths, so if you have wide feet, you won’t have any trouble finding a fit

Cheyenne

author william barton wearing Capitan cheyenne cowboy boots

I also picked up the Cheyenne, which features an intentionally distressed cow-hide leather upper with neon green flame stitching up the shaft. 

I can’t lie: I think intentionally distressed leather is silly. I do enough “leather distressing” throughout the course of a year—I don’t need help with it. It’s like holes in jeans: I don’t mind the look, but if I’m going to wear it, it’s because I put the holes there over time. It should be earned

Capitan cheyenne distressed leather

Then again, a lot of guys like the style, so if you’re into it, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with it.

All Capitan boots are lined with a cream colored leather, and they also feature a genuine leather backstay in the inside, which makes getting the boot on your foot a lot easier. The leather rides up beyond your Achilles tendon, and it acts as a sort of slide for your heel so the leather shaft doesn’t fold up as you step into your boot. 

Capitan leather sole details

That’s one thing I really wish were on my Tecovas boots. That extra strip of leather seems minor, but it makes a pretty big difference in putting your boots on. 

Still, with all cowboy boots, life is just so much easier if you have a standing shoe horn and a boot jack. And if you have a bad back, don’t even mess around: consider a shoe horn and a boot jack as part of the cost of buying a new pair of cowboy boots. 

What do Other Reviewers Say About Capitan Boots?

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Capitan is a relatively new brand so there aren’t a ton of reviews—a lot of reviewers took a chance on the brand and seemed pleased. 

Several reviewers ordered a half-size smaller than their usual size and liked the fit better, which contradicts my opinion on sizing. It’s true that leather does stretch as you wear it, so even if your boots are fitting a bit snug at first, you can expect them to loosen slightly after about 10 miles of wear. 

Capitan Boots

Capitan boots are good quality and fairly priced. These boots are crafted with a Goodyear welt, butyl-leather sole, lemonwood pegs, and a whole lot of leather in the heel and insole. Personally, I like Tecovas better for a few reasons, but if you love the wide square toe, the quality is fair for the price with Capitan.

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Capitan Alternatives

Tecovas

I have three pairs of Tecovas boots and two pairs of Capitans. Overall, my experience with Tecovas has been better, and I prefer my cowboy boots from Tecovas much more than my Capitans.

Part of that is about the style, which is totally subjective: I like the almond toe cowboy boot shape more than the square toe. 

And I like full grain leathers more than stylized intentionally distressed leathers. 

From a style perspective, I think Capitan is over the top and trying too hard. Tecovas boots look simple, classic, and the quality is there to back them up. 

Construction quality is pretty similar between the two, and I wouldn’t put one brand over the other on that front. 

But there is a difference in attention to detail on the finishing—this is where Tecovas really takes the cake for me. You can see the differences in the finishing along the heel and around the waist of the boot:

Tecovas Cartwright cowboy heel detail
Finishing on the Tecovas Cartwright
Capitan missed qc bevel leather midsole
Finishing on the Capitan Lubbock

It’s not that these minor details make any difference in the performance of the boot, but when the boots are similarly priced, it’s hard not to get the feeling that Tecovas is a bit higher quality overall. 

Ariat

Ariat Groundbreaker fit demonstration
Wearing my Ariat Groundbreaker boots.

You already know about Ariat. They’re pretty hit-or-miss for me.

I like their work boots for their comfort. The only full western boot I tried from Ariat was their Midtown Rambler and I really didn’t like it—mainly because of the distressed leather they used. 

But my experience with their work boots has been solid, and they have a huge variety of color, shape, and size options. 

Take a look at Ariat if none of the color options at Capitan are speaking to you. But if I were to compare square toe cowboy boots from Capitan and Ariat against one another (price being similar), I’d say that Capitan has superior materials quality. For work boots, I’d choose Ariat. 

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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My Thoughts Overall On Capitan Boots

What I Like

  • Capitan crafts their boots in their own factory using traditional methods like Goodyear welt construction and hand-driven lemonwood pegs to attach the outsole

  • The leather backstay that runs above the Achilles is a fantastic addition that makes getting these boots on much easier. 

  • I like that underneath the removable high-density foam footbed is a leather insole—many brands would use a fiber-board, but leather will last longer. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The finishing details are sloppy, and while it’s only cosmetic, I can’t help but notice. 

  • I ordered a size 10.5D for one pair and was shipped a 10D instead.

  • I don’t like the look or feel of intentionally distressed leather, and because it’s difficult to condition, I think it poses long term durability issues. 

Who is Capitan for?

If you’re looking for a broad square toe cowboy boot with a unique style to it, Capitan is worth looking into.

The Verdict

If I was getting another cowboy boot in the $250-$300 range, I’d pick Tecovas over Capitan

On the positive side, Capitan uses solid materials and their construction is great. While I’m not crazy about the broad square toe and details like neon-green stitching, I know that style works for a lot of guys and they love it. I just prefer a simpler, more classic style. 

Really, the difference comes down to the finishing quality, which I think Tecovas does a much better job with. 

Plus, I think intentionally distressed leather is a lot like jeans that come with holes in them—I’m going to beat my boots up throughout the year anyway—I don’t need them to come looking beat up. The distressing makes it hard to care for the leather and recondition, which poses problems down the road for the long-term durability of the leather. 

If you really like the style of Capitan boots, you’ll be pleased with the construction quality. I think the price is fair for what you’re getting. But in the spirit of honesty, I think Tecovas has an edge at the same price. 

Capitan Boots

Capitan boots are good quality and fairly priced. These boots are crafted with a Goodyear welt, butyl-leather sole, lemonwood pegs, and a whole lot of leather in the heel and insole. Personally, I like Tecovas better for a few reasons, but if you love the wide square toe, the quality is fair for the price with Capitan.

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FAQs

Where are Capitan boots made?

Capitan boots are made in Leon, Mexico, which is where pretty much every cowboy boot is made. I believe they’re made in the La Puerta Turquesa factory, which is under the same ownership of Lane boots and Capitan.

Does Mexico make good cowboy boots?

Leon, Mexico is the cowboy boot capital of the world, and just about every major cowboy boot brand you’ve heard of has their boots made there, including Ariat, Tecovas, Capitan, Lane, and many, many others.

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