Fall Edit: Western Style Boots

Western style boots are one of Fall's footwear trends. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

My friend Karen has been in Paris this week, and I’ve been pestering her for style reports. She says that the popularity of sneakers shows no signs of waning. But she’s also seen a notable number of Western style ankle boots. Here too, I’ve noticed that many brands are including some version of a Western boot in their fall footwear collections.

As with any “inspired by” look, options range from literal to quite subtle. So what makes a boot “western?” First, a pointed, tapered or almond-shaped toe, often turned up slightly. Second, a stacked (often angled) heel. Stitching details can add to the “western” feel, but not all styles have them. Suede finishes will generally skew more casual, while smooth leather styles will have a more sleek and refined appearance.

Western Style Boots, Casual To Refined

I’m a big fan of ankle boots. I find them comfortable, easy to style, and great for travel. For this roundup, I’ve kept to options on the less literal end of the spectrum (which I think will be more versatile) and to styles with a heel of 2 inches or less.

Isabel Marant Dacken boot in burgundy suede. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Of course, Isabel Marant was out ahead of this a few seasons back with her “Dacken” boot, an update to her iconic “Dicker” boot that was de rigueur for the fashion set a few years back. (I succumbed to a pair too; they were incredibly comfortable.) This style seems a little less rugged than the Dicker, especially in this burgundy suede. (Her “Dewina” style is on the more literal end of the scale.)

Sam Edelman Winona western style bootie taupe suede. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Here’s one on the more budget-friendly end of the spectrum.

Band of Gypsies Creed bootie in brown suede. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

A slimmer shaft on this style (also available in beige and grey) means it can be layered more easily underneath longer pants.

Lucchese Erika western style boots in burgundy. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If your style leans more Bohemian, these might be a nice choice. That little notch in the front of the shaft is not only a nice detail, but should make them more comfortable to walk in. Also available in black and a distressed grey.

Marc Fisher Obarra leather booties. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Moving up the refinement scale, here’s a simple style with an easy lower heel. This is available in both leather and suede finishes, and in other colors.

For The Urban Cowgirls

Paul Green Bianca western boot in snakeprint. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Above, these are from Paul Green, a brand I’ve always found to be comfortable. Reptile prints are another big fall trend, but they never really go “out.” A fun way to perk up a simple outfit!

Everlane Western boots in black. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Sleek and modern! I haven’t tried these yet, but I like the elastic vent which allows some “give” in the shaft. Also available in Bone and Russet Suede.

Vagabond Emily Western style boots in black leather. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I had a pair very similar to these in the early 90’s that I absolutely Wore. To. Death. I love that just-below-the-ankle height, which makes them versatile and extremely comfortable. (I’m on the lookout for a similar pair in chocolate or russet leather.)

Sigerson Morrison Tabatha leopard print Western boots. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

And of course, something in leopard. Don’t be afraid to let a little coordinating hosiery peek out, especially once the weather turns cooler.

Knee boots seem to be making a comeback, at least from what I’m seeing online and IRL.

Marc Fisher croc western boots dark brown. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This style keeps details simple and lets the croc-embossed leather take the spotlight. Also available in Black.

Wonders knee high western boot. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This is a new-to-me brand from Spain (Wonders, h/t to Nancy). I haven’t tried these boots yet, but have tried some of their shoes and have found them quite comfortable. At any rate, I think they’re very good-looking!

The styles I’ve been able to find in wide calf boots have been more “riding boot” than “western boot,” but I’m keeping my eyes open and will update with anything promising.

More options…

This Week’s Sales

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Lands’ End30% off full-price styles, code JACKET, pin 1030

Loft30% off full-priced tops

Talbot’s25% off wear-now styles

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  1. Oh big western boot lover here,!I’ve been wearing them since the 80’s and have never abandoned them even as they move in and out of fashion. All of the traditional western boot brands make western short booties these days. A boot from a traditional western brand (Luchesse, Frye, Tony Lama etc) priced over $300 a pair is more likely to have genuine stacked leather heel as opposed to the composite or leather wrapped heels shown above. Sytle wise even the traditional brands now make fashion forward boots that have western profiles and heels but without the stitching and showy details of a traditional boot. The advantage of a genuine stacked leather heel is that boot and be re-soled and re-heeled. I have a pair of black Tony Lama western boots that I’ve been wearing for 30 years now and the soles and heels have been rebuilt twice.

  2. Aaahhh … western-inspired boots. I have them (and love them) in grey, black, brown by Coach, Brighton, JCPenney. And for those days and those outfits when I don’t want to be the least bit subtle, I wear the real deal.

    And while we’re talking western, may I recommend snap-front shirts. Several years ago I finally appreciated the utility of my husband’s double denim daily uniform. On those days when I copy it, I realize (yet again) what a smart cookie he was. 🙂

  3. I am attracted to the Luchesse boots! I have several pairs of mules from Luchesse that, like Phyllis notes, have been re-soled and re-heeled. They will last a lifetime. But, because of the genuine leather stacked heel and the overall quality that allows them to last forever, they can be a bit heavy. Zappos shows each Luchesse boot weighs 18 oz. compared to the Paul Green which weighs 13 oz. It is something to keep in mind.

  4. I bought a pair of Frye boots in a lovely cognac color years ago. In the 70’s probably. I don’t go for a western style but they always looked good. They were lovely boots in a timeless style. For some reason, a few years ago I gave them away! Why did I do that?! I have no idea. Oh well.

  5. Never wore western style boots but my daughter started wearing Frye boots with the harness on them ad loves them so much she’s had them resoled twice.
    Can you recommend a white stylish sneaker for comfort and walking. I have purchased the New Balance Fresh Foam in the past which I love but with my last pair my toe wore through the top! I have a wider foot and very high arch. I’ve ordered numerous pairs from Zappos but have had no luck. The latest pair from Asics were very comfortable in the toe box but rubbed the back of my heel. I’m leaving for Rome soon and would appreciate and help.
    Thank you!

    1. I go to a local specialty running shoe store, even though I’m a walker, and tell them my requirements. They are very helpful, even videotaping my stride on a treadmill to see what style/features will work best for me. They are very good about finding exactly what I need in the color I want and fitting my also difficult feet. The cost is no more than what I’ve seen online for the shoes I’ve bought from them.

    2. The cobblestones of Rome are rough on the feet! I’ve found from numerous trips that it’s better to have a firm sole than a soft one.

      The idea to go to a dedicate store is a good one. Do you have a Walking Store near you? They have a proprietary brand called Abeo which are the best walkers I’ve had (on my third pair in about five years…). Look for a pair that has the Vibram sole.

      Also, re: rubbing heels or other blisters. Look at Wrightsock brand, They have a two-layer (thin) construction that does a great job of stopping blisters and hot spots.

      Enjoy Bella Roma. I’ll be there in November!

  6. As a Texas native, I am well acquainted with western boots, but do not wear them. On the other hand, my husband has three wonderful pairs of Luchesse’s that he wears all the time. For us, they are not fashion or costume, but part of our state’s heritage. I see the current trend as something like the Southwestern style of some years ago.

  7. In France, they are often called Santiags. (from Santiago). I love the riding heel for cycling, but alas my feet are wide in front (duck feet) so I can’t wear such pointy toes.

  8. I admire the look, but cowboy-style boots (or Santiags, my new favorite term) are absolutely contraindicated for those of use with high insteps. I learned this the hard way.