What Socks to Wear with Cowboy Boots
Whether you're riding, working or dressing for a night on the town, your socks can make or break your overall comfort and health. From fun to functional, we have the rundown on the best cowboy boot socks to keep your feet dry, prevent rubs or irritation and keep your toes warm.
What are the best socks for cowboy boots?
Anyone who’s ever put a foot in their boot sans sock knows what a terrible combination bare skin and leather can be. Always wear a quality pair of socks with your cowboy boots—but not just any sock will do!
You want a sock that will work as hard as you do, providing comfort and support no matter how many hours you’re on your feet. Wearing your cowboy boots with ill-fitting socks can lead to an uncomfortable experience. Too loose or too short and you’ll find them slipping off as you walk—or worse, causing nasty ankle rubs.
Consider the following factors carefully before fitting your foot with new socks to wear with boots.
There’s no question about it: the best socks to wear with cowboy boots are tall, over-the-calf socks. Also called knee-high socks, these are the perfect height to keep you covered and comfortable in your boots.
Over-the-calf socks for cowboy boots prevent the aggravating sock-bunching that happens when your socks slip down in your boots. The most common reason why your socks slip and slide is because they’re too short for your boot and not elasticated enough. By investing in a pair of calf height or higher performance socks with elastication, you can keep your socks up and avoid this annoying, and often painful, experience.
Depending on the type of cowboy boots you wear and the height of your boot shaft, you may be able to choose a slightly shorter sock. For boots that hit mid-calf, like Ariat Fatbaby cowgirl boots, you can go with a mid-calf or crew sock. If you’re wearing something even shorter, like women’s fashion booties, Ariat makes a sock specifically designed for optimal fit. The Western Bootie Sock is tall enough to prevent rubs, but still stylishly discreet.
English riders wearing paddock boots typically wear socks that are at least shin length. With tall boots, an English rider wears socks that fall just below the knee or halfway up the leg.
We don’t recommend an ankle-cut or no-show sock with boots of any kind as they don’t provide enough protection for the foot or ankle.
Since leather cowboy boots trap moisture and sweat, wearing a breathable sock is key. Classic staples like cotton and wool socks will work, but there are many modern materials with built-in benefits for breathability and ventilation. Fiber blends with moisture-wicking technology, like the Ariat VentTEK Mid-Calf Performance Sock offer max breathability to keep your feet dry and happy all day long.
If you sweat a lot, like most performance athletes, moisture management should be a top consideration in your sock choice. Ribbed or vented socks can help reduce sweating by increasing airflow, which also keeps odors at bay.
If you’re wearing waterproof cowboy boots or any leather boot, breathability isn’t typically a consideration in the design, so having a breathable sock is especially important. A polyester blend like you’ll find in Ariat Performance Socks will keep your sweat at bay with Moisture Movement technology for max breathability so you can stay dry and on your game.
Thicker is not always better when it comes to boot socks. The thickness of your sock is largely a matter of preference and season. Many riders and cowboys opt to wear thick socks with their boots for the additional cushion and padding they provide. Extra padding can alleviate some of the stress your foot absorbs when you’re standing, working or riding all day. Besides relieving foot fatigue, thick socks can also protect the ankle and foot from rubs and will withstand friction and last longer than a thinner sock.
In cold weather, the best socks to wear with cowboy boots and the best work boot socks are thicker socks that can keep your foot warm and dry. Since many traditional styles of cowboy boots are not insulated for winter weather, something heavier like a Merino Wool sock can keep you comfortable no matter the weather.
However, thinner socks can allow for more breathability and tend to be a better choice in the hot summer months. Some horseback riders especially like the feel of a thin sock for maximum ankle flexion while they’re in the stirrups. English riders often wear hyper-thin, hyper-breathable over-the-calf socks with their fitted tall leather riding boots. Try out AriatTEK’s Ultrathin Boot Socks for thin cowboy boot socks that feel almost like a second skin, and they come in lots of fun patterns and colors!
No matter the height, material or durability, the fit of your socks should be snug when worn with a cowboy boot. Go for a tight knit to prevent chafing and that won’t feel bulky in your boots. Be sure you check your cowboy boot fit as well in case improperly sized boots are causing discomfort rather than your sock selection.
A seamless fit, especially in the toe of the sock, is a great option for western boot socks. They’re designed to eliminate any potential irritation in the toe box. Since cowboy boots feature different style toe shapes (everything from square to pointed), this is a valuable feature in any sock you choose.
For cowboys who favor steel-toed boots, protection and performance matter. A sock with a seamless toe is critical to avoid compression. For this kind of boot, look for a sock that’s durable and reinforced, like the Ariat Heavyweight Merino Wool Steel Toe Performance Sock. This heavyweight fitted sock is ideal for cold weather but is also available in a lighter weight so you can wear them in any season. Thoughtful inclusions like built-in arch support will keep you comfortable all day.
English riders in tall boots typically wear thin, form-fitting socks that help prevent a bunched-up sock from getting stuck in a zipper. Sock thickness depends on a rider’s preference of how they want their boots to fit.
Now that you have a better sense of the kind of socks you should wear with your boots, browse our online selection to pick out the perfect pair. Ensure the right fit for your unique foot by shopping for men's socks and women’s socks.