Growing up in the California desert, the draw of western boots was always strong.
But back when I lived there, my budget pretty much topped out at forty dollars, so it was canvas Vans for me.
Now I live in North Carolina and the nostalgia of a good-looking cowboy boot is strong—being in the south makes me appreciate my western roots all the more.
So when I saw the Tecovas Cartwright, I decided it was time to dive in and pick up a pair.
While they’re my only pair of cowboy boots, I have dozens of other pairs of boots to compare them to. After wearing them for a few months, my verdict is in.
Tecovas Cartwright Overview
He started to burn out and was itching to start his own company. He was looking for a high quality pair of boots but wasn’t willing to spend the $500-$600 most high quality western boots normally cost.
At the same time, he was looking for an excuse to ditch New York and come back home to Texas. And that’s when the idea for Tecovas struck: western boots designed in Texas that are sold directly to the consumer—no retailers or middle-men. In 2015, Hendrick started Tecovas and they’ve exploded in popularity since.
The Cartwright is one of Tecovas’ original boots: they launched with two men’s and two women’s boots.
It’s a standard 12” cowboy boot with decorative stitching in the toe and leather piping in the shaft. The Cartwright uses traditional boot-making methods and materials, so it has a half Goodyear welt and a leather sole.
The Cartwright is available in calfskin leather (which is the one I’m reviewing), goat leather, and they recently released in early 2022 a bovine leather version.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Cartwright
The biggest consideration to make before buying the Tecovas Cartwright is whether the leather sole is going to work for you.
A lot of guys ask the question of whether Tecovas boots are good for work, and a leather sole doesn’t have the same rugged versatility as a rubber sole.
Tecovas does have some rubber soled cowboy boots: they’re not called the Cartwright, but the shape and style is nearly identical. If you like the style of the Cartwright but want a more work-friendly boot, check out the Tecovas Bandera.
But in my opinion, Tecovas boots are best for styling. You could work in the Cartwright—it’s a solid and durable boot, but I’d rather put on a moc toe I won’t worry about destroying.
I put on the Cartwright when I’m hitting the town, and for that, the leather sole is perfect: it’s traditional and has that pure cowboy boot spirit.
Tecovas Cartwright Review
The style of the Cartwright is what drew me into Tecovas in the first place. The Cartwright blends traditional and modern: it’s a 12-inch cowboy boot with decorative piping through the shaft and decorative stitching in the toe.
But compared to other western boots I’ve tried in the past, it’s more narrow and stylish through the toe. Plus, the shaft is relatively snug so you can actually wear these boots with a pair of slim fit jeans if that’s your style.
Because the shape is a bit more modern, the Cartwright feels right at home with a pair of jeans or paired with a suit.
I opted for the Bourbon Calf color, which is a medium brown with some extra burnishing and depth in the toe and the heel. At the time I was buying, Tecovas also had a Midnight Calf black leather and a Scotch Goat leather option.
Goat leather is inherently more rugged and casual—I stuck with the calfskin leather, which is more versatile.
Tecovas released a dark brown bovine leather option for the Cartwright in early 2022, and it looks incredible.
Overall, I think the style of the Cartwright is classy and modern enough to balance the casual nature of a cowboy boot and it’s the best looking western boot I’ve tried on to date.
Leather Quality and Care
In this review, I’m talking specifically about the calfskin leather since I don’t have experience with the bovine or goat leather.
The calfskin leather is super soft and supple, so it’s been creasing gently and is comfortable. I love that the Cartwright is fully leather lined (the lining is even softer than the upper leather). The lining adds extra comfort and durability to the boot.
The upper is 2mm thick, which is pretty standard on most good boots. The lining appears to be about 0.75mm, so the boot leather is 2.75mm thick overall.
Most boots I’ve tried in the $200-$300 range are 3mm thick, so the Cartwright is close enough on that front. More importantly, the leather looks rich. If I was using this boot specifically for work, maybe the slightly thinner leather would bother me, but because it’s mostly for style, I like the leather as is.
The leather is easy to care for—it arrived richly packed with oils and waxes, so you don’t need to condition the Cartwright right away. But when I do condition mine for the first time, I’ll use Venetian Leather Balm, which won’t darken the leather.
The sole of the Tecovas Cartwright is all leather—a leather footbed and a traditional leather sole.
The Cartwright features a stacked leather Cuban heel with a hefty 1 cm toplift (or heel cap). I love the thick heel cap as that’s usually the first place to wear out on my boots. Plus, when the rubber wears out, it’s easy and fairly cheap to get the heel replaced.
Just make sure you replace the rubber toplift before you wear into the leather heel. Once you hit the leather, repairing your boots becomes more expensive and difficult.
The leather sole might be an issue—they don’t perform too well in wet weather. Excessive rain can cause the leather on the soles to swell up, become soft, and the leather deteriorates quickly on concrete.
For this reason, I’d choose the Bandera for working—if you’re walking through puddles or spray down your equipment with a hose, you’ll get more longevity from your boots if they have a rubber sole.
That said, I prefer the leather sole as it has a lower profile and more traditional look.
The Cartwright has a steel shank, which is critical with the height of the heel. The shank adds arch support and an overall sturdy feel to the boot.
Fit and Sizing
I ordered the same size as my sneakers and dress shoes, and Tecovas recommends you do the same.
For example, I’m a size 10.5 in Nike shoes and all of my dress shoes. I ordered the 10.5 D from Tecovas and my boots fit perfectly.
Tecovas fits a little different than other heritage boot brands—if you’ve ever shopped with Red Wing, Wolverine, or Timberland, you know those boots tend to run large. I wear a size 10 in my Red Wings, but a size 10 Tecovas would be too small for me.
Tecovas also offers EE widths in every leather option of the Cartwright. If you have wide feet, that’s music to your ears.
The variety of sizing options is a big reason to shop Tecovas over other cowboy boot brands in my opinion—there are few other brands that have the same variety of widths.
You can read my full Tecovas sizing guide here if you want more information before you buy.
There was hardly any break-in period with the Cartwright. The upper leather is quite soft so I didn’t have any rubbing in the sides of my feet.
You may experience some discomfort if you’re not used to cowboy boots because the higher heel and firm arch are far different than a regular pair of sneakers. You get more support for sure, but if you’re used to flat sneakers, that transition can leave you with sore feet for a few days.
I wouldn’t worry too much if your boots are feeling a little snug at first—the leather will stretch out within the first few wears and give you a more custom feel. The same is true for the leather sole.
Because the Cartwright is more traditional, it doesn’t have a lot of shock absorption. But the leather interior will mould to the shape of your foot and almost feel like a custom-made boot.
You can read my full guide on how to break in cowboy boots here, but honestly, I don’t think you’ll need any special tricks with the Cartwright. It’s a comfortable boot right out of the box.
What do Other Reviewers Say?
There are nearly 10,000 reviews on the Tecovas site for the Cartwright at the time of writing, so there’s no shortage of folks willing to give their opinion on this boot.
Those reviews average a 4.8 out of 5 stars, which is pretty incredible. Many of the positive comments focus on the comfort out of the box and the softness of the leather.
Many of the negative reviews said that the shaft was too narrow and that made the boot difficult to put on. I didn’t have that issue, but that’s because I know you have to stand when putting on a pair of cowboy boots. Don’t try to pull your cowboy boots on. You slip your foot in and use your weight to press down on the heel and get a nice, snug fit.
Tecovas Cartwright Alternatives
This makes the Bandera a better option if you plan on working in your Tecovas boots. Rubber holds up better than leather soles when repeatedly exposed to moisture.
If you really wanted to, I think you could still do tough labor in the Cartwright, but I see it more as a stylish boot. If you’re planning on wearing your boots four or five times a week for outdoor labor, then the Bandera is better suited for you.
Ranch Road Maverick
If you want a really nice pair of cowboy boots, Tecovas is the first stop in my opinion. The quality is excellent and the price is great. Tecovas boots compare well with other $300-$400 boots.
However, Ranch Road boots is the next step up, both in quality and price.
While the Maverick is nearly double the cost of the Cartwright, it still offers phenomenal value for money. I’d say Ranch Road compares more to $600-$700 boots.
If you have a higher budget (the Ranch Road Maverick sits just under $500 when you add taxes), it may be worth looking into Ranch Road.
Either way, you can’t go wrong: I love Tecovas and Ranch Road because they’re offering the best value for money in their respective categories.
My Thoughts Overall On the Tecovas Cartwright
What I Like
The calfskin leather is soft and rich which makes for a great looking boot. Plus I like the western details on the shaft and toe box.
The Goodyear welt in the front half of the boot shows these are made with traditional high quality construction methods.
The full leather lining and steel shank in the arch make this a comfortable and supportive boot.
Shipping is free and Tecovas makes returns and exchanges incredibly easy.
What I Don’t Like
Because the Cartwright has a leather sole, avoid water and rain as much as possible. Excessive moisture will degrade the leather sole quickly. If you want a more work-friendly boot, check out the Tecovas Bandera.
Who is the Tecovas Cartwright for?
The Tecovas Cartwright is an excellent boot if you want a high quality cowboy boot that’s not flashy or trendy—something that has a heritage build with more modern style sensibilities.
Tecovas is one of my new favorite boot brands because of my experience buying the Cartwright.
I have a pretty huge collection of boots from other brands, but I’ve never dabbled in cowboy boots. But the Cartwright had an intriguing balance of slimmer modern style and classic western details.
After trying them for myself, I can see that Tecovas has really dedicated themselves to making a quality product. It’s rare to see a hand-stitched boot with lemonwood pegs in the bottom, a full leather stacked heel, and 2mm of calfskin leather for under $300 (especially considering the Cartwright is a 12” boot).
While you may be attracted to the Cartwright for its style like I was, I think the quality of the materials and construction will impress you more.
Free shipping and a prepaid return label in the box make shopping with Tecovas a total breeze.
The Cartwright is my first pick up from Tecovas, but I doubt it’ll be my last.
Are Tecovas good work boots?
Most Tecovas boots are mainly for style, but they do offer a few “rancher” styles that are solid work boots. If you want a Tecovas boot specifically for work, check out the Bandera, which has a Vibram rubber sole.
Is Tecovas made in the USA?
Tecovas boots are made in Leon, Mexico. Leon has several boot making factories and is crawling with leather and boot-making artisans. Tecovas wouldn’t be able to make the same quantity of boots here in the USA because there aren’t as many skilled artisans in the USA for western boots.
Are Tecovas durable?
Yes, Tecovas boots are quite durable. The leather sole may break down if its repeatedly exposed to water, so if that’s something you’re worried about, pick up one of their “rancher” styles with a rubber sole. But the leather and build quality are excellent.