The western boot is the peak of the boot maker's art and has the unique distinction of being endorsed by the American Podiatric Medical Association. When properly fit, western boots provide the ultimate in arch support and all day comfort. To be sure that the boot fits properly, check these areas:
The Ball and Toe of the Boot:
The ball of the foot (which is the widest part of your foot) should fit right over the ball of the boot (which is the widest part of the boot). The internal construction of the boot has a rigid shank between the insole and the outsole that supports your foot from the heel to the ball of the boot. If the boot is too short, the ball of the foot sits forward of the shank which results in poor arch support and may jam your toes. Sooner or later, this will spell discomfort for you and distortion for your boot. You will also need ample toe space. After wearing boots for a time the leather instep relaxes and your toes will settle forward.
The Instep of the Boot:
Unlike a laced boot, a slip-on boot only has the instep (throat of the boot) to hold your foot securely. Therefore, the instep must fit just right. Neither too loose nor too snug. Grasp the instep between the thumb and forefinger and run your thumb over the leather. It should slide across the leather with only a slight ripple. If the leather bunches, the fit is too loose. If the leather doesn't move under your thumb, the boot is too tight. When the ball of your foot matches the ball of the boot for proper length then the instep adjustment is accomplished by fitting a narrow width to tighten a loose instep and a wider width to loosen a tight instep.
The Heel of the Boot:
A boot must slip slightly in the heel. As the foot moves and boot flexes, the heel must have room to ride up a bit. When the boot is new, the heel slipping may feel excessive because of the stiffness of the new sole. As you wear the boot the sole is flexed. The flexing softens the sole and most of the heel slippage will shortly disappear. A quality western boot sock will significantly increase your comfort and reduce heel slippage.