Choosing the shape of the toe on a pair of new boots is a challenge for many buyers. The shape names assigned for the toe styles can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. A “J toe” in one brand could be an “X toe” in another brand. This lack of codification can be very confusing!
While I can’t give the complete toe-shape charts of every major cowboy boot brand on this blog post (as many brands lack this kind of diagram), I can give a little insight into the most popular shapes of toes available. We’ll go with generic names like “round toe” or “extra pointy toe” rather than the brand-specific names that cowboy boot manufacturers create.
CLASSIC: The true shape of a classic cowboy boot toe is a subject that gets cowboy boot enthusiasts fired up. Some people swear that the boots with the extra pointy toes we’ve been seeing for several years are the most authentic. Others say rounded toes make the most sense. To clear things up, both parties are right (kind of). Real, classic cowboy boots feature a toe that is tapered (i.e. smaller towards the tip), but also rounded. The shape of this toe let the cowboy of the old west easily slip his foot in and out of the stirrups. The rounded toe was just a little more practical than the extreme point.
POINTED: Pointed toe cowboy boots have been popular since at least the 1950s, but have been particularly prominent in modern fashion since the early 2000s. Pointed toes can be “needle pointed” (come to a sharp point), or can be slightly blunted (snipped) at the end of the toe. When you order a pointed toe cowboy boot, there is no need to change your boot size since the brand takes the room requirements for the pointed toe into account. There is, in most cases, no reason to order up a size.
ROUND TOE: Round toe boots are very comfortable, as they allow the toes a little more room to spread out. Many western work boots come with round toes, as do “ropers,” the popular boot for rodeo calf-ropers. This toe shape is generally not ideal for riding long distances, but is a great choice for a walking boot or casual boot.
SQUARE TOE: A square toe is generally a fashion statement. This fresh, young take on the classic cowboy boot has surged in popularity over the past few years. A Square toe can be found on riding boots and walking boots and is a great alternative to the more traditional styles.
BROAD SQUARE TOE: Broad square toes are shown on some of the best-selling boots on the market today. A broad square toe gives the toes the most room to spread out, making boots with this shape an excellent footwear choice for people who are on their feet all day. Ariat Ramblers and several models of Ariat Fatbaby Boots both feature a broad square toe.