It's a fashion question that pops up year after year: whether or not to tuck pant legs into cowboy boots. If you're considering buying a pair of boots with fancy stitching, you might be wondering if you're really supposed to wear them under your trouser or jean legs because of the ornamental stitching -- isn't that meant to be shown off? Opinions surrounding the topic can be contentious and at odds. Here's a look at what the general rules seem to be.
This is one of the few fashion topics where women get a break and men have to deal with a constant barrage of opinions and criticism. For working ranch hands, horsewomen, and other women doing actual dirty work, tuck pant legs inside the boots to protect the pants. Otherwise, it's up to you. Show off the stitching, or wear the boots safely under boot-cut jeans. Younger women trying to appear anywhere from cute to sexy might wear cowgirl or cowboy boots with shorts, though this is definitely an informal look.
Buckaroos are a type of cowboy boot typically worn by rodeo hands and show riders -- people who need to protect their legs when riding a rather unhappy horse. The shaft of the boot is very tall at about 14 inches, and pant legs are worn tucked in when these are used at an actual rodeo or other riding event. Otherwise, you'd end up wearing through the cloth fairly quickly due to friction where your leg meets the horse. Buckaroo boots also protect your pant legs from high brush if you're riding through that.
Working Cowboys, Ranch Hands, Contractors, and Other in Similar Situations
In addition to buckaroos, there are a few other styles of cowboy boot, including work, stockman, roper, and the basic cowboy boot. These vary in shaft height, heel height, and other details, but if you're wearing them in the course of work on a farm, ranch, field, or any other situation where you're in mud, dirt, or brush, or you're surrounded by animals, tuck in those pant legs. You keep the cloth clean and prevent creepy crawlies from crawling under the pant leg.
The T Cross Ranch notes that some people claim the bugs, snakes, and other creatures can still crawl down the tops of the boots, but at least you'll stand a better chance of seeing them before they try to do that. If your pant legs are covering the boot shaft, you won't see them at all. You'll feel them after they've gotten in!
Here's where the fashion police take over: According to the Wall Street Journal, even cowboy boots with fancy stitching need to be covered by trouser legs. The one exception is if you have to walk through slush or mud and need to protect your trouser legs.
Of course, as with any fashion, there are people who will tell you to ignore it and do what you want. As the T Cross Ranch notes, Roy Rogers often wore his pant legs tucked into his cowboy boots, and no one criticized him for it.
If you want to find a good pair of cowboy boots, visit -- in person -- a specialized dealer. You need to have the boots fitted properly because the boots aren't always standardized. There's a lot of variation between manufacturers. You can definitely order online, but be sure you have some idea of how the boots fit your feet first. So visit a boot specialist today and get that snazzy pair of cowboy boots.