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?
And for those styles, they carry maximum three leathers—Magic Black, Brushed Brown, and Roughout.
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
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.
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.
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.
My Hands-On Review: Chisos No 5
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fit and Sizing
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.
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.
My Hands-On Chisos No. 1 Review
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fit and Sizing
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 Boots Accessories
I also picked up a few accessories from Chisos to see how they compare.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.