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Western, How-Tos

Cowboy Boots: Square Toe Vs. Pointed Toe

One big question our customers have is whether to go with a square toe vs. pointed toe cowboy boot. Don’t worry, we’ll help you find the right toe shape!

Cowboy boots have been around for more than a century, and the boot has evolved as styles have changed. Back in the day, cowboy boots came in just a few different styles that were all purpose-built. Today there are more boot styles than ever before—and more occasions to wear your cowboy boots. With over 600 cowboy boot styles for both men and women at Ariat, there’s a boot for every foot. One big question our customers have is whether to go with a square toe vs. pointed toe cowboy boot. Don’t worry, we’ll help you find the right toe shape!

What’s the Difference Between Square Toe and Pointed Toe Cowboy Boots?

The difference between square toe and pointed toe cowboy boots is the recommended purpose for each toe shape. Pointed toes are more commonly used for horseback riding and formal events, whereas square toe boots are used for more “on-the-feet” work (though they can also be used as dress cowboy boots).

The traditional cowboy boot comes to a slight, rounded point, albeit one that’s more pointed and tapered than a round toe cowboy boot. The toe is narrow, making it easy to insert your foot into stirrups. While great for riding, regular toe cowboy boots can be a bit less comfortable to walk in due to the narrower toe box.

Square toe boots come in a few different shapes, and there are both square toe cowboy boots for men and square toe cowboy boots for women. There’s the cutter toe boot, which has slightly more toe room than a pointed toe boot, and then there’s the regular square, which has slightly more room than the cutter. Because cutter toe boots have a narrower tip and are similar to pointed toe boots, they are also well-suited for horseback riding. However, square toe boots can still be used for riding and can be more comfortable for a long day on your feet.

Conversely, pointed, snip cut boots are almost exclusively used for dressier occasions. With snip toe cowboy boots, the toe comes to a sharp point, making them more fashion-forward.

As you can see, the choice between square toe vs. pointed toe cowboy boots often comes down to function (horseback riding versus being on your feet) and style preferences.

Women's Dixon Aztec Western Boot

Why Do Cowboy Boots Have Pointed Toes?

Traditional cowboy boots have pointed toes because it makes them easier to put your feet into the stirrups while riding a horse. The narrow shape, slightly rounded tip, and angle around the ball of your foot help your boots slide effortlessly into the stirrups and lock your heel in place.

The other type of pointed toe, the snip toe, has little utility. While you can ride horses with snip toe boots, they’re really meant to make an impression more than anything. If regular cowboy boots are the sneakers of the boot world, the snip toe boot is the oxford. Coming in an array of colors, styles, and materials, snip toe cowboy boots are a must-have for a dress wardrobe.

Men's Heritage Roughstock Western Boot

What Are Square Toe Boots Used For?

Square toe boots are most commonly used for ranch work— or any situation where you have to be on your feet all day. The reason? For one, they give your toes more room in the boot than traditional or pointed toe shapes. Feet don’t all come in the same size and shape, so why should boots? If your feet are a bit wider at the toe, consider buying square toe boots instead of pointed toe boots.

Square toe boots are also made to be more comfortable for walking than traditional cowboy boots. Traditional cowboy boots fit snug against your feet and can put pressure on your midsole and the ball of your foot if you walk around in them for extended periods of time. Since square toed boots offer a bit more room, it allows them to expand more as your feet swell throughout the day.

Which Toe Shape Should I Get?

The type of toe shape you should get depends on a few factors, including whether you do a lot of horseback riding, whether you’ll be on your feet a lot while wearing the boots, and whether you plan to wear them to formal occasions. Below are a few tips for deciding on square toe vs. pointed toe cowboy boots.

If you have wide feet, you may want to try a cowboy boot that is square toe vs. pointed toe in order to have a bit more room in the toe box. Or, if you prefer the pointed look, try a cutter toe boot in a wide size.

If you ride horses daily, a round or pointed toe boot will probably work best. Planning to be on your feet a lot? A square toe may be much more comfortable for you.

But if you plan to wear your boots in more formal scenarios, go with a pointed toe (or even cutter toe, with its more narrow square toe).

27 Years and Counting

Ariat has been in the cowboy boot game for 27 years and is committed to making a quality boot that lasts as long as you do. Inspired by Secretariat, (widely considered the greatest racehorse of all time), we’ve innovated and added new technologies throughout the years to bring you the very best cowboy boot.