Will the boot fit?
August 17, 2010 1:16 PM   Subscribe

I bought myself a pair of Real Cowboy Boots the other day, and I can't quite figure out if they fit me right. Should I return them and find another pair?

The boots are (nice?) Ariat boots, I got them on sale. The 10.5s I tried on were definitely too big, so the salesman found me a pair of 9.5 EE, which were probably the best I tried on. (I wear a 10.5 or 11 in shoes, but I don't know if that's applicable.)

They're the right style and the right color and mostly the right size. My toes are in the right place and the ball of my foot is in the right place. But there's a bit of looseness on the top of my foot, in the "lace" area, and that makes my heel come up a bit when I walk around. The boots rock back and forth slightly when I do things.

I know the soles should get more flexible as the boots get broken in, right? And I understand maybe I can shrink the leather by getting it wet and wearing them, or by wearing them with wet socks? I just want to be sure they will eventually fit before I tear the tags off and shrink them. Or maybe I should return them and go for a non-wide pair?
posted by aaronbeekay to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was told when I got my boots (Jesus, fifteen years ago!) that a little looseness in the heel was a good thing.
posted by notsnot at 1:23 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't wear cowboy boots, but some of my friends do, and I always heard they are supposed to be tight all around. I would say go back and get a non-wide pair. Also, my experience with other boots - if your heel slides up and down when you walk, you get blisters on the back of your ankle. Especially when its hot and humid outside.
posted by cavs33 at 1:25 PM on August 17, 2010

I wouldn't settle for the EE's until I tried on a 10 regular width. Yours sound like they may be a little wide.

In a new pair of boots, your heel will lift up some - that's normal because the shank is still stiff.
After a while, the bottom of the boot will bend more and your heel won't puull up like that.

You also don't want them so tight across the top of your foot that they bend when you walk. It sounds like yours may be a touch looser than you want, and I'd bet it's the width doing it.

Properly fitted cowboy boots are actually quite comfortable. I'd check out all the options before commiting.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:25 PM on August 17, 2010

I'd definitely try to find a pair of straight 10's - I ended up ordering a pair on the internet from a site with free return shipping.

Over time, the "lace" area of the boot should actually tighten up a bit - I don't know by what boot magic this occurs, but it does.
posted by muddgirl at 1:34 PM on August 17, 2010

Best answer: I think the area you're referring to as "lace" is called the instep.
posted by goblinbox at 1:39 PM on August 17, 2010

Rather than trying some potentially-leather-damaging shrinking process, perhaps a set of insoles could help you achieve a better fit.
posted by dersins at 1:42 PM on August 17, 2010

Probably they're fine. Be patient. I'm a connoisseur of boots and I don't think I've ever bought a pair when the salesperson didn't assure me they were supposed to be loose in the heels at first. Boots take a while to break in, but when they do, they will be SO comfortable.
posted by scratch at 2:01 PM on August 17, 2010

Get a Dr. Scholl's heel pad in your local drugstore. Those things are fantastic and removable and reusable without sticky residue (it's that adhesive surface that regains stickiness when washed under running water). By heel pad I meant the soft strip pad that goes behind your Achilles tendon, but they have other supports available, too. This one in particular is perfect for just slightly too-loose shoes.
posted by halogen at 3:11 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I know nothing about cowboy boots but the Wikipedia article, in the fitting section, says:

"... some individuals also are unaccustomed to the slight slippage of the heel in a new, non-laced cowboy boot, particularly with a cowboy heel, and buy a too-small boot in an attempt to stop this slippage. But a small amount of slippage is also normal at first. As the boot breaks in, the slippage will stop."
posted by BeerFilter at 3:34 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: "But there's a bit of looseness on the top of my foot, in the 'lace' area, and that makes my heel come up a bit when I walk around."

This is correct.

"The boots rock back and forth slightly when I do things."

This is probably wrong. Sounds like your boot is too wide.

But the best way to tell is go to a decent western wear shop (or any boot store really) and have your foot measured.
posted by Mitheral at 4:17 PM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: This is probably wrong. Sounds like your boot is too wide.

I should clarify- when I say "rock back and forth", I mean along the long axis of my foot- the boot stays flat on the ground, my heel comes up, and my calf moves forward in the tall part of the boot before the heel of the boot leaves the ground.

Mitheral, you said the looseness in the instep is correct, but the link you posted says this:

The boot should be snug over the instep (top of the foot) since there are no laces, buckles, etc.

I think I'll call the store (they're a local establishment and seemed like nice folks) and see if they can find me a 10 to try on.
posted by aaronbeekay at 5:48 PM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: Oh, and I have a pair of 3/4 length prescription orthotics that I put in the boots to see if that helped things. If anything, it made me think that maybe the looseness is in the tall part of the boot (like my calf is too small for it?- it didn't really make the boots snug. I'll ask them at the store, maybe.
posted by aaronbeekay at 5:50 PM on August 17, 2010

It can and should be loose on your calf. It's not like a riding boot or a laced-up boot. Are you thinking that it's loose on your ankle?
posted by muddgirl at 7:57 PM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: Right, sorry- I know the boot isn't supposed to be tight on my calf. I mean that the looseness is in my ankle, so that it's more "the back half of my foot comes up in the boot" than "my heel slips". At least that's what it feels like.

Sorry about the atrociously inaccurate descriptions. I'll see what the store says.
posted by aaronbeekay at 10:26 PM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: Update: I went to the store, they agreed that the boots were a little bit loose, I tried on a pair of 9.5Ds, they fit better, I took them home, I like them. Thanks, everybody!
posted by aaronbeekay at 9:49 AM on August 19, 2010

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