You don’t have to be a cowboy to want a pair of cowboy boots.
A lot of us, myself included, just want to look like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, not necessarily be them (very few of us can be them, anyway).
Regardless of why you want a pair, the Laredo Lodi’s authentic look has likely caught your attention because of its comparatively low price.
I picked up a pair. From ranching to square-dancing to running around town, I’ve done enough in the Lodis to confidently tell who should and shouldn’t buy them. Read on for the full in-depth review.
Laredo Lodi Overview
Laredo is a popular brand for affordable and authentic-looking Western footwear. The Lodi is a cowboy style boot built with a leather foot and a non-leather shaft. Some descriptions indicate that this 11-inch shaft is “leather-like denim” while others simply describe it as “leather-like.” The pair I have is the latter, and it’s clearly vinyl.
It’s a square-toe boot with decorative stitching throughout, including an abstracted phoenix wing motif on the shaft, and medallion toe bugs on the foot. This boot also features a composition Stockman heel built with rubber and a cushion insole.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Laredo Lodi
The main thing to consider is whether or not you’re looking for a real cowboy work boot. If so, the Lodi isn’t the shoe for you. A lot of the Lodi’s product descriptions require you to read between the lines to figure this out though.
For example, several Amazon listings use the phrase, “authentic cowboy” immediately followed by the qualifier “-style.” As mentioned, Laredo even describes the shaft as “leather-like” instead of straight-up using the words “vinyl” or “pleather.”
However, I give the Lodi more credit than I would a cheap fashion boot. You can get costumey footwear in the sub-50 range. This is where the nuances come in though, all of which I cover in this review.
Laredo Lodi Review
To be honest, “cute” is the first word that came to mind when I took this boot out of the box.
The Laredo Lodi is stylish, with an interesting stitching on the shaft. The detailed pattern is made up of four different colored threads, adding a lively but not corny pop of color. In general, the overall stitching throughout the shoe is solid for such an affordable boot.
The foot is a slightly napped suede-ish leather, while the shaft is a leather-like plastic. I thought the vinyl portion was real leather for about five seconds. It looks fine and it smells like real leather, and I’m still not sure how they did that.
Once you look inside though, you can see how thin the material is. Give it a pinch, and its non-stretchy flimsy feel will fully confirm that it’s fake.
Each shoe is so dainty, I could juggle them. It’s definitely not a substantial boot.
When I first walked around the house in it for a good 30 minutes, it felt lightweight and comfortable.
Leather Quality and Care
I’ve had this boot for a month. I even wore it everyday for a week straight and it’s survived so far. But my experience with pleather is that it will definitely crack, and it’ll do this even sooner than the lowest grade genuine leathers.
Meanwhile, the real leather part is definitely low-grade. It scuffs and scratches easily, and I’ve not found a great way to mask the scratches. I tried using leather oil on it, and it does absolutely nothing to heal the imperfections.
As far as cleaning goes, the standard cloth with soapy water works just fine, especially on the plastic shaft. Just don’t get water inside it.
As you could probably tell from my first impressions, I already knew that the Lodi wouldn’t survive on the field. To ensure a full assessment of the boot though, I did take it out on the farm.
It lasted approximately thirty minutes. After some moderate splashback while I was filling up the horse trough, the left boot got soaked on the inside. This shoe wouldn’t fare well in the rain. Truthfully, they offer no more water-resistance than cheap tennis shoes do.
Even though the Lodi is more affordable than a lot of cowboy-style boots on the market, I’d say it’s just a tad expensive when it comes to the materials. While they aren’t as low-quality as the materials used to build a plain-to-see costume boot, you’re definitely paying for the aesthetic and the convincing illusion of authenticity.
The outsole is a light and flexible rubber material. It’s easy to walk in for hours at a time. I was able to walk a good four hours in this boot the first day I wore it.
The stacked heel is a nice visual touch, though it’s obviously glued on, not nailed on. This doesn’t bother me that much since it’s so comfortable to walk in.
Plus, nail heads don’t always help when it comes to rubber heels, and the area around the nails tend to hollow out as the heel inevitably wears out.
As is consistent throughout the Lodi, the stitching on the sole is pretty solid. The cheap outsole rubber will definitely wear out before that stitching does.
Fit and Sizing
Its lightness in weight and bendable outsole make the Lodi immediately comfortable. This tricked me into thinking that the fit was normal.
After I wore this boot a few days in a row though, I noticed that the fit is actually a bit awkward. Laredo touts the Lodi as being wide-foot friendly, but it’s really only wide beyond the toe area. Despite the square shape, the toe feels cramped.
It takes a few days to notice this, but once you get there, it’s hard to ignore. I took a break for a few days from wearing this boot after I became aware of the weird fit.
Strangely, after the break, they were comfortable all over again. It seems as if the pressure from the awkward fit needs to build up before becoming consequential.
As a light and unsubstantial piece of footwear, the Lodi doesn’t need to be broken in.
I hoped that the fit issue was part of the breaking in process, but over a month in, and it persists. To the Lodi’s credit, it’s a comfortable all-day casual boot before the soreness builds up, and all it takes is a few days of not wearing it before it’s ready for you again.
What Do Other Reviewers Say?
Most of the long-term positive reviews come from those who know exactly what they’re getting: They don’t want work boots, they aren’t ranchers, and they want something more than the shoes that come with the $50 cowboy costume at the Halloween store.
There are a small number of positive reports from people using them on the field. However, most of these reviews claim they’ve been using them for a short period of time. I can see how the lightness in weight and cool style is attractive in this situation, but I’m willing to bet that they’ll change their tune when they realize the fake leather and lack of water resistance makes this a weak utility boot.
There’s one exception to this though: If your job requires you to be on your feet, but static, then the Lodi is an adequate option.
That aside, if you’re looking for a true cowboy work boot, one reviewer said it best: “They look good from afar, but they’re far from good.”
Laredo Lodi Alternatives
Unlike the Lodi, this Ariat is constructed with full-grain leather on the foot and the upper. This means that it’ll last longer and age better, since you can actually condition it. It also has a proper synthetic mesh lining for moisture management.
Ariat is known for its 4LR technology which includes an effective shank for support that’s lighter and more comfortable than most shanks.
So why would you go for the Lodi at all, if both boots are similar looking and similarly priced?
Well, if you’re really just going for the style and if you’re only planning to wear it a few times a year, the Lodi is generally much easier to walk around in. As light as the Ariat is for a work shoe, a full-grain leather boot with a shank will never be as lightweight as a thin pleather shoe with basically no lining.
That they’re the same price does make you think that the Laredo should be cheaper though.
If you really want to level up, the Tecovas Cartwright offers far more function and performance than the Lodi. Of course, it’s also a lot pricier.
Its smooth cowhide leather is soft with a slight waxiness, making the shoe comfortable but protective, boasting high tensile strength (it won’t break under pressure) and abrasion resistance. It’s also super easy to maintain, only needing conditioning every three to six months.
If you’re looking for a boot that you can wear on long days on the ranch, or something that will look fantastic at the bar, then you definitely should choose the Tecovas Cartwright over the Laredo.
My Overall Thoughts on the Laredo Lodi
What I Like
Its detailed and colorful decorative stitching on the foot and shaft, as well as its stacked heel, gives the boot a fun, modern, but authentic take on the cowboy boot.
Light and flexible, this boot is easy to walk in for hours on end.
The overall stitching throughout the boot is solid and sturdy.
If it’s kept clean and unscuffed, this boot looks like it’s a higher quality than it actually is.
What I Don’t Like
The low-grade leather scrapes easily and the pleather shaft doesn’t take to boot conditioners and oils.
After days of wear, my toes start to feel squished while the rest of the boot is too wide.
Since its upper isn’t waterproof, these are ineffective rain boots.
Who is the Laredo Lodi for?
The Laredo Lodi is an excellent option for those who want to pay for the style and nothing else.
If you’re going to a cowboy themed wedding or a square dance and want something affordable and doesn’t need breaking in, go for the Lodi. This is especially true for you if you know you’ll only wear it once or twice, maybe three times a year.
It’s also a good starter shoe if you aren’t sure that you want to wear cowboy boots regularly.
If you know what you’re getting, the Laredo Lodi can offer a unique value. It’s more likely to trick the naked eye into thinking it’s authentic than a cheap costume boot, but it doesn’t have the heft and necessary breaking-in process of genuine cowboy boots. Make no mistake about it though, this boot is built with low quality leather, isn’t waterproof, and won’t last you a few months of daily use.
You’re paying for the look, and though the toe is cramped and the rest of the boot is wide, you can definitely put up with this boot for a whole day. It’s good for square-dancing, not for the ranch, and if you aren’t going to wear western boots all the time, there’s no point in spending $300 on a pair.
How slim is the shaft of the boots of the Laredo Lodi?
The opening measures 14 inches around.
Are the Laredo Lodi waterproof?
No, the Laredo Lodi isn’t waterproof.
How slippery is the outsole of the Laredo Lodi?
It grips dry even floors just fine, but isn’t meant to provide traction on slick wet floors or ice.