Unless you are a boot maker, you probably can’t name the complete anatomy of a rain, snow, or cowboy boot. It’s often hard enough to decide what size and color you want. This handy list of key terms, however, will help you understand exactly what the experts mean when they talk about men’s and women’s boots.
Welt – A line that travels down the sides of many leather cowboy boots.
Spur shelf – If you were to put a spur on a cowboy boot, this is the place you would put it to give your horse a little jolt. Most of today’s designs, of course, don’t have spurs. But this area still carries the name.
Counter – The part of the boot right above the spur shelf.
Crampon connection - Many hiking boots for sale have been designed to coordinate with other types of hiking gear. The crampon connection provides a reliable place for you to attach a crampon to your boot.
Lining – Material that lines the inside of a shoe to offer more comfort or waterproofing.
Upper – The top part of the shoe above your toes.
Scree collar – Some boots for sale at outdoor adventure stores have padded areas that rise above the ankle and cling to your calf. This is called a scree collar. It can provide extra waterproofing and help protect ankles while you are hiking or walking in the rain and snow.
Eyelet – These are the holes that allow you to put laces through your shoes. Leather cowboy boots do not have them, but many other designs for women and men do.
Boots cover the ankle, calf, or knee. The heel may be high or they can have a flat sole. Fashion items can go as high as the thigh. Rubber items for fishing go up to the hip. Some manufacturers use synthetic materials that look and feel like the real thing. Winter or ski items have foam, fur or man-made materials that insulates the foot from snow and rain. Waterproof items protect from mud or water created by rain or snow. They keep your feet dry, even in bad weather. Find them for sale in sports stores and shoe retailers.
Throughout history, a variety of materials have been used to create this footwear. Ancient Greek sites revealed a pair of terracotta boots. Leather, suede, and rubber are commonly used due to their durability. Work footwear protects the toes and ankles from injury by incorporating steel coverings over the toes.
Hiking, hunting, and military footwear have thick tread that grips in mud, wet grass, or rocks. The extra height supports the ankle better. Cowboys use the heel when riding. The heel grips the stirrup while the leather shaft protects the men's or women's skin from shrubs and trees. Plus, the design of the boot allows the attachment of spurs. Women wear colorful vintage and modern items for fashion. Usually, these items have high heels and the taller shaft offers ankle support.
It's best to try shoes on before purchasing them. Distributors and manufacturers usually follow different size charts. Even the smallest difference can mean blisters and foot pain. Have the store measure your foot to get the accurate size and width. Before the cashier rings up the sale, try both shoes on. Walk the aisles for a few minutes to make sure the item fits your foot, ankle, and calf.