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Chisos Boots Review: A New Cowboy Boot Contender

William Barton
Expertise:

Boots, Leather, Heritage Fashion, Denim, Workwear

William founded BootSpy in 2020 with a simple mission: test and review popular men’s boots and give a real, honest opinion. Since then, we've welcomed over 5 million readers on our boot reviews and boot care guides. Reach out to him for your own personalized boot recommendation at william@bootspy.com. Or join 50,000+ subscribers on the BootSpy YouTube channel, or send him a message on the BootSpy Instagram. Read full bio.


Last Updated: Apr 3, 2024
13 min read

Sometimes you see a cowboy boot that looks too good to be true. While the style looks great, you know there’s more under the surface.

Well, I’ve been eyeing Chisos Boots for about a year now, and I picked up their No. 1 and No. 5 to see if this brand is the real deal.

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Chisos Boots
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Bottom line: Chisos Boots are my favorite high-end cowboy bootmaker. Their styles are unique and always draw a lot of complements when I wear them. Plus the quality is superb---from the hard-to-find upper leathers to the soft lining throughout. While I felt the sizing was small when considering the removable foam insole, they fit true to size without---which is fine, because I prefer wearing them without the removable footbed. The quality of Chisos matches that of other brands that cost 25% more.

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Pros:
  • Excellent quality leather and traditional craftsmanship
  • The styles are unique and balance modern and classic looks
  • Chisos have a beautiful soft leather lining and a thick high density foam footbed, so they’re really comfortable
Cons:
  • The No. 5 Snip Toe fits on the smaller side---in hindsight, I should’ve gotten a half-size larger than my sneaker size if I wanted to use the removable foam footbed

At some point, I must have eaten a Texas style brisket that was so good, I just decided it was time to start wearing cowboy boots. 

I can’t lie, the style hasn’t always been my jam. But in recent years—maybe in a bit of nostalgia for growing up in the southern Californian desert—I’ve started picking up more cowboy boots. 

And I’m loving them. 

When I saw the Chisos No. 5 snip toe boot, I literally made a noise at my computer. Something like, gaawoahh. 

I resisted the urge, but I knew it was only a matter of time. 

Anyway, I own them now, and they’re not exactly what I expected.

What Is Chisos Boots?

Chisos no5 profile view on steps

Chisos is a modern cowboy boot brand founded in 2019 by Will Roman. Unlike a lot of cowboy boot brands out there, they have a pretty pared back selection of styles. 

You got your standard cowboy boot (the No.1), your square toe (No. 2), snip toe (No. 5), and roper (No. 6). Plus, there are two styles—the No. 3 and No. 4 for ladies. 

And for those styles, they carry maximum three leathers—Magic Black, Brushed Brown, and Roughout. 

model wearing Chisos no5

Chisos has recently released their styles in ostrich leathers, and if you keep up with them, every once in a while they drop an exotic like gator boots (but those go quick). 

They’re a small, bootstrapped, Texas-loving, Texas-based company. And I must say, Chisos is easy to root for. 

Things to Consider Before Buying

Chisos no1 putting on

Sizing is always going to be the most difficult part of buying boots online. And the toe type you get is going to impact your sizing. 

I picked up the No. 1 and the No. 5

The No. 1 has an almond toe—it’s not too narrow, but it’s also not boxy or bulbous. 

The No. 5 has a snip toe, which has significantly more taper toward the toe box. 

I’m a 10.5D on the Brannock device, and that’s what I normally get for all my sneakers. I got the 10.5D for my Chisos as well, and while my No. 1’s fit perfectly, the snip toe on the No. 5 was a bit too snug. 

Chisos packaging

At least, it was too snug with the high density foam footbed. I actually just remove those footbeds and my No. 5 boots fit great. I still find them plenty comfortable and I enjoy wearing them a lot. 

So that’s the main consideration—usually, your sneaker size is going to get you the best fit, but if you’re getting that narrow snip toe style, maybe size up a half-step. 

Chisos No.1

The boot that started it all. The No. 1 is crafted from Chisos heritage cowhide, they’re super comfortable (great for the dance floor), and they’ll last a long time.

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My Hands-On Review: Chisos No 5

Style

Chisos no5 roughout boot on model

The style is what drew me to Chisos in the first place.

Chisos offers the No. 5 in two leathers: Magic Black and Roughout. I went with the lighter tan roughout because I was looking for an everyday boot that’s sharp and that I could basically wear with anything. This fit the bill. 

chisos no5 profile view in roughout leather

There’s a nice contrasting white stitched bug on the vamp, plus the cool stylized steer skull on the front part of the shaft and a sun and diamonds on the back. While most people won’t ever see the skull, it’s one of those details that I absolutely love—I feel like it elevates the boot from being a great looking boot to a truly one-of-a-kind boot. 

What I was most interested in though was the snip toe shape. I’ve owned a few pairs of square toes, and I’d say an almond toe is my favorite style for a cowboy boot. But the snip toe is undeniably cool. They’re not for everyone, especially because the sizing can be difficult. 

But man do these look good. 

Chisos No.5

This roughout leather boot pays tribute to the Texas Longhorn with its white decorative stitching in the shaft and is dang comfortable.

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Leather Quality

chisos no5 front view

This is a full grain roughout leather, which is typically more rugged and scratch resistant than having the flesh-side out. It’s basically the reverse side of a smooth leather, which comes with its own pros and cons. 

On the plus side, you really don’t need to do anything to care for roughout leather. And I love how roughout ages. I wouldn’t ever purposely scuff up my boots, but as they go through their paces, roughout gets a certain patina to it that’s truly remarkable. I’m excited to get to that stage already. 

On the negative side, if you do get some marks on your boots, it’s not quite as easy to remove as standard smooth full grain leather. You can use a suede eraser and suede brush to get stains out, but I’ve noticed with roughout, there’s nothing you can do to “polish it up” and restore the original look of the boots. 

Chisos no5 walking down steps

If you want a boot that you can still wear to a wedding two years from now, get the Magic Black leather. Even if you put those things through the wringer, you can polish them back up and they’ll look good as new years from now. 

But with roughout, it’s best to just enjoy the journey, age, and patina as you wear them. At least that’s what I think, and that’s how I’m treating my Chisos No. 5: let them wear their battle-scars. 

Also, these boots are lined with a soft, red leather lining. The lining runs through the entire boot, so they’re not skimping at the toes like a lot of brands do. That’s great news for comfort and durability. 

Sole Quality

chisos no5 sole view on concrete

So this bit gets technical, but there are some really important things to know about how Chisos are constructed—otherwise you might miss why they cost over $500 and why that’s a fantastic price. 

Vegetable-tanned leather is basically the gold standard—most leather is chrome-tanned, which can be soft and is certainly more cost-effective. But vegetable tanned leather has the richest depth of color, has greater durability, and offers the most support when it’s used in the construction of the boot. 

And Chisos has veg-tanned leather throughout the entire boot. 

Both the insole and outsole are veg-tanned leather. Plus—and this isn’t common—the heel counter is also veg-tanned leather. If you’ve ever had a heel cave in when taking your boots off with a jack and they never fit right again—that’s because the bootmaker was using a fiberboard heel counter. Fiberboard heels are more common than you’d expect. 

Chisos no5 sole detail

But the veg-tanned heel counter is going to stay firm while also breaking in slowly so you eventually get a boot heel that feels like it was specially designed for your foot.

The same goes for the insole. As you break that insole in, it only gets more and more comfortable. 

While Chisos ships their boots with a removable high density foam footbed, I take mine out. I’ve found the fit more comfortable that way, and I also like breaking in the leather insole and getting that custom-fit feeling.  

Chisos uses a Goodyear welt construction method, so these can be resoled if you ever need to add a new outsole. And the insole and outsole are also attached with lemonwood pegs and clinch nails.

And there’s also a steel shank, which is pretty common, but certainly necessary if you’re wearing a boot with such a high heel

Fit and Sizing

chisos no5 toe bug detail

The fit on the snip toe is tricky. There’s not a lot of toe room with a snip. I usually get a size 10.5 in my sneakers, so I picked up the 10.5 in my Chisos No. 5

With the removable inserts, I found the fit too tight. An 11 would’ve been better for me. 

Chisos no5 profile view closeup

But when I take the inserts out, the fit is perfect. And honestly, like I mentioned above, I prefer to break in the leather insole and have the reward of that custom-fit feeling you get once your feet press into that veg-tanned leather. 

Chisos No.5

This roughout leather boot pays tribute to the Texas Longhorn with its white decorative stitching in the shaft and is dang comfortable.

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My Hands-On Chisos No. 1 Review

Style

Chisos no1 brushed brown leather

So I know I said the No. 5 is what drew me to Chisos, but the No. 1 is probably my most worn boot of the past six months. 

I’m relatively new to cowboy boots, but these are truly exceptional—not just for cowboy boots, but in the broad scope of all boots I’ve worn (which is over 100, by the way…we’ve got lots of reviews here). 

Chisos No.1

The boot that started it all. The No. 1 is crafted from Chisos heritage cowhide, they’re super comfortable (great for the dance floor), and they’ll last a long time.

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Chisos no1 closeup on street

The Chisos No. 1 is more of a standard cowboy boot. It has an almond-shaped toe with the cowboy heel, and my favorite part is the “day and night” stitching around the shaft. 

Leather Quality

Chisos no1 vamp detail

I’m not sure exactly what kind of leather is on the Chisos No. 1, but I like the marbled effect on the Brushed Brown leather. 

My only regret is that I don’t also have a Magic Black pair—that’s a good looking boot, too. But sometimes you have to make the hard choices. Brushed Brown is a winner for me. 

Chisos no1 shaft stitching details

The leather is really high quality—it’s soft and supple and it’s been breaking in nicely. 

It’s decently thick and feels like a 4oz leather, which is a great balance between comfort and durability. 

model wearing Chisos no1

I haven’t conditioned my boots yet, but Chisos sent along a bottle of conditioner which I’ll use when the time comes. I like to give my boots about a year before conditioning to let them build up a bit of patina. 

If you want a new leather conditioner for your cowboy boots, I really like Venetian—that’s been my go to for years and it does well with every smooth leather cowboy boot I’ve ever tried it on.

Sole Quality

Chisos no1 sole while wearing

The sole is built the same way across all Chisos boots—leather insole with brass tacks and lemonwood pegs, and a Goodyear welt on the front half. 

It’s a solid construction, and traditional, too. I’m not a huge fan of rubber-soled cowboy boots. Not that there’s anything wrong with a rubber sole—in fact, it’s probably better for comfort and traction. But it’s not as cool. That’s just one man’s opinion, though. 

Just like with the No. 5, the insole gets more and more comfortable as you break it in, and at this point, mine are fully broken in

Fit and Sizing

wearing camel city mill lightweight socks with cowboy boots

For the No. 1, I also felt the fit was a bit snug for my comfort when I got my true size. However, I removed the foam insole and they fit perfectly

So it seems to me that if you want that high density foam footbed, size up a half-step. But if you want to wear your boots in the traditional manner (standing on the veg-tan insole), then your regular true size will do just fine. 

I didn’t have any issues with the break in at all, and my Chisos No. 1 have been comfortable since the moment I put them on. 

Chisos No.1

The boot that started it all. The No. 1 is crafted from Chisos heritage cowhide, they’re super comfortable (great for the dance floor), and they’ll last a long time.

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Chisos Boots Accessories

I also picked up a few accessories from Chisos to see how they compare.

Boot Jack

View this post on Instagram

I have this terrible looking orange plastic boot jack that my wife hates. And that means I never use it because it’s always thrown in some corner of the garage. 

So I’ve been on the lookout for a good looking boot jack I can actually leave by the door and use. 

I picked up the Chisos Redwood Boot Jack, and it’s been great. The forks of the boot jack are wrapped with leather, so you’re not scratching up the heels of your boots. And because redwood is relatively hard, I’m not worried about breaking the jack in half. 

As a 200lb guy, that can happen—but the redwood feels solid. 

Other than that, the boot jack works, which is all that really matters. 

Leather Balm

View this post on Instagram

I also gave the Chisos leather balm a try. I’m not using it on my No. 5 Roughout leather—this balm is for smooth leathers only. 

So I tried it on another pair of boots and it’s solid. It doesn’t change the color of the leather and it adds just a subtle shine. 

I don’t like products that add too much shine, and I’m always looking to avoid darkening the leather. This Chisos Leather Balm checked both boxes. 

What do Other Reviewers Say? 

View this post on Instagram

A lot of reviewers are impressed with Chisos customer service—there’s not a lot of companies where the founder will walk you through how to size your boots personally. 

Comfort, quality, and durability came up a lot in reviews. 

Usually complaints or downsides with Chisos are around their lack of a huge selection. A lot of cowboy boot wearers have their own style that they like, and because Chisos is a smaller company, they don’t have a style for everyone. 

Still, I think they’ve covered a lot of ground with their four men’s style. 

Chisos Alternatives

Tecovas

I’ve been testing several cowboy boot brands in the past year, and Chisos is one of my top-two. Tecovas is the other. But each fills a different role. 

Tecovas is more affordable—they’re a little over half the price of Chisos. 

So if you’re just looking to get into your first pair of cowboy boots, then Tecovas might be a safer bet. Plus they have some more leather colors and styles available. 

That said—trust me on this—you’ll eventually want a really nice pair of cowboy boots. So you’ll come back around the high-end anyway. 

And I really don’t think there’s a better value on the high-end than Chisos. Not that I’ve seen, anyway.

A lot of people compare their Chisos to Lucchese. Style and quality-wise, I agree. But the price is much lower than Lucchese, so your value for money is exceptional. 

Tecovas makes a great boot, and I’m glad I have mine. But now that I have a pair of Chisos, that’s what I’m reaching for most days. 

My Thoughts Overall

What I Like

  • Chisos uses excellent quality leather and traditional craftsmanship (with subtle details like lemonwood pegs and brass clinch nails).

  • Their models are stylish and modern, but still have that classic look you want from cowboy boots. They remind me of 60s Clint Eastwood.

  • Chisos have a full soft leather lining and a thick high density foam footbed, so they’re really comfortable.

What I Don’t Like

  • I felt the sizing was a half-size too small for the No. 5 with the foam footbed. Without the footbed, the boots fit great.

Who is Chisos for?

If you want to step into the high end of cowboy boot makers but still want exceptional value for your money, Chisos is the brand for you.

The Verdict

Chisos offers the best value for high end cowboy boots. 

The amount of vegetable tanned leather they pack into their boots is something you normally only see in cowboy boots that cost 20-30% more. 

Chisos are comfortable, durable, and I love the traditional craftsmanship behind them. 

While there’s a limited number of leather colors and styles available right now, Chisos has done a good job of hitting the spread and offering a little something for everyone. 

If you’re ready to get a great pair of cowboy boots, I highly recommend Chisos.

Chisos

Designed in Austin, this boot brand is Texas through and through. With inspiration from Big Bend National Park and a commitment to quality, Chisos is a young brand that's worth following.

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FAQs

Are Chisos boots true to size?

Yes, Chisos boots fit true to size. However, if they feel too snug, you can remove the high density foam insert to give your foot more room. 

Who is the founder of Chisos boots?

Will Roman founded Chisos in 2019. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and the boots are made in Guanajato, Mexico, which is basically the cowboy boot-making capital of the world. 

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