Are Cowboy Boots Business Casual? Dress Sharp with Western Boots

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Every good ‘ol fashioned cowboy has a pair of trusty cowboy boots that protect their feet as they walk along the dusty trail we call life. 

After you slide them on, cowboy boots become an extension of yourself. You start to feel incomplete without them and wear them everywhere, from a trip to the grocery store to a formal wedding.

If cowboy boots are good enough for a wedding, they must be good enough for the office, right? Well, that topic brings up a bit of a debate. And I’m getting to the heart of the matter right now.

Are Cowboy Boots Business Casual? 

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While every organization has its own dress code, cowboy boots are generally considered acceptable as business casual attire.

Obviously, every workplace is different, so what’s acceptable in one office might be inappropriate in another. 

However, there are a few key rules you can follow that’ll ensure that your boots work in a business casual setting.

  1. The more pointed the toe, the better: square toe cowboy boots are the most informal.
  2. Leather soles are better than rubber (for formality, that is). 
  3. Smooth, full grain leathers are better than roughout, suede, exotic leathers, or goatskin. Keep them simple. 

How to Choose Business Casual Cowboy Boots

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Picking the right cowboy boots can play a role in how professional they look when you bring them into the workplace. 

There are numerous types of cowboy boots with various designs and purposes. Some cowboy boots are designed for working in rough terrain or horseback riding, while others are designed to be more professional and dressy. 

Cowboy boots with a pointed toe and a slight heel are the most appropriate choice for the office, though broad-toe boots aren’t completely out of the question. 

Spurs are out of the question, as you won’t be horseback riding at the office, and the spurs don’t contribute to a business casual outfit.

Another thing to consider is the material of the cowboy boots. Some materials provide strength and protection but don’t move as well as more flexible materials. Make yourself more comfortable at the office by selecting flexible material, such as cowhide leather or goat leather, over rigid material like snakeskin.

Finally, you want to pick the color of your boots carefully. Brown and black are the easiest colors to match and are the least “showy,” so they work the best in a business casual setting. 

Sizing Cowboy Boots 

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Cowboy boots have a unique fit. If not properly fitted, cowboy boots can cause pain and blisters. 

Cowboy boots are made to fit snug. However, you also want your heel to move about a half of an inch when you first get them. Listen for a reassuring “pop” noise when you put on your boots, which indicates a good fit

Just like other shoes, fits may vary slightly from brand to brand. Research a brand’s sizing before you buy online. If you have the opportunity, try shoes from a new brand first before buying them. 

Styling Business Casual Cowboy Boots For Men

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See some of the ways men can style cowboy boots with a business casual outfit:

  • Black suit with black dress boots
  • Brown or tan suit with brown dress boots
  • Jeans, boots, and a jacket 
  • Dress pants, dress shirt, tie, and boots that match the color of the tie

Most men wear cowboy boots under their pants. However, fashion risk-takers may opt to wear them above their pants on occasion. 

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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Do Jeans and Cowboy Boots Still Count as Business Casual? 

model wearing Tecovas Cartwright cowboy boots

Cowboy boots and jeans go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, does this aesthetically-pleasing marriage qualify as business casual attire?

The answer varies based on company policy. Some companies allow jeans in the workplace, while others prohibit denim or only allow denim on casual Friday. Always adhere to the company dress code. 

If you can wear jeans in the office, you can match them with cowboy boots as long as you ensure your jeans fit properly and don’t have holes in them. For the best look, stick with boot cut jeans with a slim fit.

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You may want to wear different cowboy boots when wearing jeans compared to when wearing dress pants. Cowboy boots with a natural outsole, white stitching, and broad toe work well with jeans, while synthetic materials, black stitching, and a pointed toe work well with dress pants.

Ariat Rebar M5 Durastretch Straight Leg Jeans

As genuine work pants, the Ariat Rebar M5 Durastretch Straight Leg Jeans pair perfectly with cowboy boots. They’re a tough pair of pants, with a slightly thinner fit making them a touch more stylish.

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3 Best Cowboy Boots for Business Casual Occasions

1. Tecovas Cartwright

jeans over Tecovas Cartwright boot shaft
Wearing my Tecovas Cartwright

The Tecovas Cartwright is the best value for money pick in my opinion for cowboy boots. The leather is fantastic, the construction is classic, and the design is iconic, slim, and classy. I think the Cartwright is the perfect business casual cowboy boot, and the price isn’t bad. 

2. Ariat Herdsman

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Ariat has long been known for their western wear, and while they got their start more in the rodeo circuit, desk jockeys can rock a pair of Ariat’s in the office, too. Ariat boots are generally on the affordable end of the spectrum.

Personally, I like Tecovas and Chisos for their quality over Ariat, but if you’re on a budget, Ariat Herdsman is my top choice. 

3. Chisos Boots

Chisos 5 boot close up

Chisos, like Tecovas, is based in Austin, TX. Where else would you go to get cowboy boots?

Chisos is a great brand to look into if you want something really unique for the office and you don’t mind spending a little extra. The stitching along the toe and vamp is one-of-a-kind and the sort of design that will make city-slickers do a double take and really learn to appreciate what western boots have to offer. 

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.

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

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Wearing Cowboy Boots as Business Casual Attire

Mistake #1: Wearing Dirty or Busted Up Boots

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Boots fail to adhere to the business casual dress code when they look sloppy. 

Don’t wear the same cowboy boots to work that you wear when doing yard work. You should also clean your boots regularly.   

When you’ve gotten your worth of use out of your boots, and they start to show significant wear and tear, it’s time to restore them or replace them with new dress boots.

Mistake #2: Clashing Colors

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Cowboy boots go with everything. However, not all colored cowboy boots go with all outfits. For example, you shouldn’t wear black cowboy boots with a blue suit. 

Consider buying one pair of cowboy boots in tan or brown and one in black to expand your outfit options.

Mistake #3: Forgetting to Accessorize

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Complete your look by including accessories that match your cowboy boots, such as a leather belt or a Western-themed purse. 

Wrangler 13MWZ Cowboy Cut Original Fit Jeans

With their five pocket heavy-duty construction, the Wrangler 13MWZ Cowboy Cut Original Fit Jeans are true cowboy pants. They stack perfectly around your boots, and the fit is both comfortable and suits most body types. If you do actual cowboy work or if you’re looking for authentic Western pants to go with your authentic boots, go for these Wranglers.

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Mistake #4: Wearing Boots that Don’t Fit

How Should Cowboy Boots Fit Diagram

Cowboy boots are made to be comfortable. However, they won’t feel right if you don’t get the correct size. 

Verify your size before you buy your boots. If you do notice that they feel a little large or a little tight, return them for the right size instead of trying to make it work.

Mistake #5: Letting the Boots Dominate Your Style 

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You’re a lot more than your cowboy boots. Don’t let people in the office define you by your Western style. Wear different footwear from time to time to demonstrate diversity in your attire. You also want to work hard so that the first thing people think of when your name comes up at the office is your work and not your cowboy boots. 

Conclusion

When done properly, cowboy boots fit into most business professional dress codes. You’ll see cowboy boots in the office in cities in the South regularly. 

While less common in New York and Chicago, cowboy boots are a great statement up North, too. 

You should stick with western style boots that have a pointed toe rather than a square toe because the pointed toe is more formal. However, as long as you adhere to the dress code and keep yourself looking put together, you can walk into your next business meeting with confidence. 


FAQs

Can I wear cowboy boots with business casual?

Dress boots make a great option for business casual footwear, whether you wear crisp blue denim or dress trousers. Make sure your boots are clean when you wear them to the office.

Is it OK to wear cowboy boots with a suit?

You can absolutely wear dress cowboy boots with a suit. Wear the boots underneath your suit pants and ensure that the colors match.

Can you wear cowboy boots to a job interview?

While not necessarily inappropriate, you may want to reconsider wearing cowboy boots to a job interview as most interviews require formal attire as opposed to business casual attire. Opt instead for dress shoes until your first day on the job.