Are Cowboy Boots Good for Winter?

Are Cowboy Boots Good for the Winter?

Cowboy boots are among the most versatile footwear on the planet. From working around the barn to line dancing downtown, you can wear your cowboy boots for all occasions and in all weather.

The perfect cowboy boots match style with comfort and functionality. During winter, that means finding the right combination of insulation and waterproofing to keep you moving all day long. Start by learning how to properly care for your cowboy boots and winterize your boot setup for cold weather.

What to Look for in the Best Cowboy Boots for Winter

Durable, hand-made traditional cowboy boots will last a lifetime and are indispensable footwear on and off the ranch during the warm seasons. But are cowboy boots good for winter? Better yet, are cowboy boots waterproof?

Waterproofing Cowboy Boots

Trudging through winter snow, ice and rain is hard on leather cowboy boots, and not all boots are alike when it comes to waterproofing power. Modern boots equipped with Waterproofing PRO™ technology, like Ariat’s Hybrid Rancher Waterproof Western Boot, are your best bet to battle cold and wet weather. When properly cared for, full-grain leather boots can also be a suitable choice for traversing through winter weather.

Water can cause damage to a leather cowboy boot, but the key to waterproofing is to keep your boots cleaned and conditioned. As cowboys know, when leather is damaged from too much moisture, it dries out and cracks. This allows water inside the boot and makes for a miserable, soggy experience. The high salt content absorbed in some snow can also cause staining that will dry out the leather on your cowboy boots, causing wet feet and a fashion faux pas.

Tips for Winter Cowboy Boot Care:

  • Brush your boots regularly and store them away from direct heat.
  • Use a waterproofer like mink oil or beeswax to enhance your boots’ water resistance, prevent staining in the winter, and keep the leather soft and flexible.
  • Make sure your boots are dry, then apply a light coat of oil or balm to the leather and heel of the boot, being cautious not to oversaturate any stitching or seams. Buff it in and let it absorb, then repeat the ritual as often as needed, or at least once a week for good effect.


Looking for warm cowboy boots? In general, common farm boots like rubber muck boots or traditional leather cowboy or cowgirl boots are not known for being especially warm in cold weather. However, other kinds of cowboy boots will offer differing levels of protection and warmth against the elements. There are now insulated boots that use technology like 3M Thinsulate insulation to trap in heat without sacrificing breathability, so your feet stay warm and dry, even in cold, snowy conditions. Ariat’s WorkHog line of waterproof work boots have options that are fully equipped with this technology, making them a great winter cowboy boot selection.


Many modern cowboy boots are equipped with the latest technology for superior comfort. This tech makes it possible to put a foot in the stirrup and in the field without changing from riding boots to work boots in the winter.

For cold weather, cowboy boots that feature outsoles with Duratread or full rubber for traction will help keep you safe and stable on your feet. The additional tread offers extra grip so you can avoid slipping. Leather and suede outsoles are not safe for slick surfaces and should not be worn in the snow or on ice. Besides being susceptible to water damage, these types of cowboy boots won’t give you the traction you need to keep you safe and dry this winter.

Warmth and Layering

If you’re the kind of person who is always cold, or you live in an especially chilly climate (looking at you, Montana friends) cowboy boots may not be the best choice for extreme cold. However, you can invest in layers that provide additional warmth so you can be cozy and comfortable from heel to toe in your cowboy boots.

Thermal boot socks are a great way to add a bit more warmth to your boot during winter. Look for liners or calf-height or taller socks made of wool. Try a medium-weight sock with padding on the bottom of the foot to keep your toes toasty without adding bulk.


Cowboy boots have come a long way in terms of performance and design, and there are many boots that have been developed for winter wear. Some boots include nylon on the outside for additional protection and waterproofing, and others feature the latest tech to keep you warm and dry.

When deciding on the best winter cowboy boots, or if cowboy boots are the right fit for you, keep these tips in mind to stay comfortable all season long. Shop our collection of Western cowboy boots to find the perfect pair or browse our insulated work boots for men and women.