Made For Walking: Where to Buy Western Boots for All the Family in San Antonio

As the song goes “blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots / and ruined your black tie affair” – well, here in San Antonio, we know that boots are welcome everywhere, from black tie events to rodeo grounds. Wherever you’re going to wear them, boots are big business.

The Rodeo comes to town every February, bringing with it a full two weeks of excuses to don your boots and unleash your inner cowboy or girl. But western boots are for life, not just for the rodeo, and are a closet staple in pretty much every Texas guy or gal’s wardrobe.

I bought my first pair of boots – Lucchese, size 8, calf leather, in chestnut – on my first visit to San Antonio, almost a decade ago. They remain one of my favorite pairs, though my collection has grown quite a bit since then. As a non-Texan I appreciate the versatility and personality they lend to my closet, though I’ll admit that comfort (at least, for walking long distances) doesn’t always seem to be the priority for boot makers. My son was only taking his tentative first steps when his Gege, my father-in-law, stepped in ready to buy him his first pair. He’s since worn and sized out of several pairs, but we are always ready for pre-school Rodeo day and day-to-day life in boots.

Whether it’s your first pair or your fiftieth (my husband is definitely getting there) there are lots of places to find western boots in San Antonio. I’ve made a list of places that sell boots for all the family – so whether you’re local and want something to don for the rodeo, or coming from out of town and looking for the ultimate souvenir – you’ll find something that suits your style.

A Few Words to the Wise…

  • Trying on western boots is vital! You can’t assume that your regular size will fit (I often size up 1), or know whether you’ll need a wide fit in some styles, like snip toe.
  • There is huge variety in sizing and style between one brand and another – only when you’re confident in your size from a certain brand should you ever attempt buying online.
  • Buying boots is fun! Go with an open mind and never discount a style (whether because of the fabric, toe, or any decorative elements) without trying it on. You may surprise yourself.
  • Boots may or may not be comfortable straight out of the box – I’ve had a couple of pairs that have been, but the vast majority take some time to break-in.
  • Western boots offer very little – if any – arch support, which is why they can be uncomfortable to begin with. Bear that in mind when buying kids boots, as their growing feet need more support than ours (especially if walking long distances).
  • Boots don’t have tread, because they are designed to fit easily into a stirrup. For that reason, they aren’t great in wet weather, snow and ice (not something we have to worry about too much in San Antonio)…

 

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1. Lucchese

255 E Basse Rd #800, San Antonio 78209 (Quarry Market) – new store planned for La Cantera, expected May 2024

Let’s start with my first boot buying experience, Lucchese – a bootmaker with its roots right here in San Antonio. Founded in 1883 by Salvatore (Sam) Lucchese and his brothers, their first customers were military officers stationed at Fort Sam Houston. The business was handed down between members of the same family, counting among its distinguished clients President Lyndon B. Johnson, former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe, Bing Crosby, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. The company transferred its headquarters from the Alamo City to El Paso in the mid ‘80s, but continues to produce its signature styles with high quality materials and careful craftsmanship.

Lucchese make boots for both men and women, and prices vary considerably from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars. These are the masters of bootmaking, with a wide range of leathers, exotic materials (crocodile, ostrich and more) and highly decorative styles available. Did you know that the ornate stitching you see on Western boot shafts originally served two purposes? Firstly, to help keep the boot from sliding down the leg, and secondly, because the women sewing the boots got paid based on the number of stitches they made – so they made a lot!

For me, the best Lucchese boots are their classic styles, in leather and suede, without too much detailing. They will outlast pretty much any boot, and are a refined and sophisticated expression of Western style. Looking for a very special gift for a graduate? Check out their line of collegiate boots, including UT and A&M.

 

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2. Tecovas

15900 La Cantera Pkwy, #5520, San Antonio 78256

From one veteran maker to the new kid on the block, Tecovas has rapidly made a name for itself, becoming the fastest-growing Western wear brand in the world. Founded in Austin in 2015, their boots are handmade in León, Mexico, borrowing from the rich history of boot making but adding some modern flair (and wearability).

Putting my cards on the table, Tecovas rank among some of my favorite boots – Western or not. The quality is great, the boots are comfortable right out of the box, they are stylish without being too flashy, and occupy a reasonable price point (from $250+). They offer a variety of styles, with ropers, cowboy boots, and horse boots for men; cowgirl boots, taller boots, and short booties for women. There’s a good range of materials, too, including exotics like crocodile, and ostrich; and they bring out limited edition boots a couple of times a year.

The Tecovas store at La Cantera is a lesson in Texas hospitality, with drinks to sip on while you try on boots, and a free boot conditioning/polishing service. As the business has grown, they’ve expanded into other leather goods and clothing, but wearable Western boots remain deep in their heart. When my family came to visit last year, I took my mom and sister to Tecovas and they both found a pair of boots they loved.

 

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3. Cavender’s Boot City

3 locations across San Antonio

Far west side: 10673 Culebra, San Antonio 78251
The Village at The Summit: 5075 NW Loop 410, San Antonio 78229
San Pedro Crossing, across from North Star Mall: 303 NW Loop 410, San Antonio 78216

For a store with “boot city” in the name, Cavender’s sure lives up to its reputation. They have literally thousands of pairs of boots for sale – for men, women, and kids of all ages – as well as Western wear.

Founded in 1965 in the small east Texas town of Pittsburg by brothers James and Pat Cavender, Cavender’s has become the premier Western store for the American south and southwest. Still a family company, Cavender’s is a one-stop-shop for some of the most prestigious boot companies like Lucchese, Tony Lama, Justin, Laredo and Nocona.

Whether you live in San Antonio, have friends or family visiting, or are vacationing from out of town, everyone should go to a Cavender’s Boot City (at least) once! If you’re looking for boots for kids, Cavender’s is a great option. They have a really good selection of sizes and styles for kids – from little western booties for the tiniest cowboys and cowgirls, toddlers, and beyond – so you’ll be able to find something for the rodeo, camping trip, or everyday. Kids boots typically cost anywhere from $40-65, and make a great gift, too.

4. Outlaws Western Wear

7055 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio 78216

Family owned and operated, Outlaws has been open since 2015. They have a large selection of boots, cowboy hats, and Western clothing for men and women, and an excellent reputation for providing great customer service.

Conveniently located near both the airport and downtown, this is a great option for out of town visitors who might need a little more guidance when buying boots! Though they have an online store, the vast majority of their inventory is for in-store purchase only. This is a great spot if you’re looking for the full Western experience – both the hat and the cattle, if you will. They have a fantastic selection of hats, as well as accessories that make a great gift or souvenir with a distinctly Texas flavor.

5. Wandering Cowboys

849 E Commerce #377, San Antonio 78205
With another location at Base Exchange at Lackland Airforce Base, 2180 Reese St, Building 1385, San Antonio 78236

Another small business offering great service, Wandering Cowboys is ideally located for those visiting the Alamo City – right in the heart of downtown at Rivercenter Mall. They also have a stand selling boots, hats, belt buckles, and Western clothing at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

A great option for kids boots and hats, Wandering Cowboys sells a great range of classic, tried and tested Western brands including Justin, Stetson, Ariat, Tony Lama and more. Given its downtown location, you can expect great customer service – perfect if you’re visiting San Antonio and need a little extra help when it comes to fit and style. As well as serving military personnel from their store at Lackland AFB, you’ll find them at rodeos and events across Texas throughout the year.

 

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6. Cowtown Boots

In Wonderland of the Americas, 4522 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio 78201

Don’t let its mall location put you off, Cowtown Boots is a great (and relatively centrally located) option for a good selection of Western boots for men, women, and kids at affordable prices.

Their wooden racks are laden with boots, conveniently arranged by size so that you can try on a variety of styles and shapes. With great reviews, you know you’ll be able to get expert care and assistance when you’re buying boots, whether they are your first pair, for a specific purpose, or made from exotic hide.

7. Gil’s Boots & Western Wear

4803 Rigsby Ave, San Antonio 78222

A local favorite located on the East Side of San Antonio, Gil’s is a spacious (10,000 sq ft!) store packed with Western boots, hats, jeans, and small leather goods. You’ll find boots for men, women, and kids here, from all the major brands including Ariat, Justin, Tony Lama, and more.

Another family owned store, Gil’s is big on customer service – staff are friendly and helpful, whether you’re looking for work boots or something a little more fancy.

 

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8. Boot Barn

The Rim: 17815 La Cantera Pkwy #104, San Antonio 78257
Near Ingram Park Mall: 6201 NW Loop 410, San Antonio 78238
San Pedro Square: 13415 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio 78216
Brooks Corner: 3127 SE Military #121, San Antonio 78223
120 Empresario Dr, San Antonio 78245

With 5 locations across San Antonio (plus one in Selma and one near the outlets in San Marcos) Boot Barn was a mom-favorite when I polled ACM readers on their favorite Western boot outlet! It’s easy to see why: they have a fantastic selection of boots for men, women, and kids; as well as an impressive number of cowboy hats, belts, jeans, and accessories. They carry lots of brands, from Ariat to Lucchese, as well as their own brands – Cody James, Shyanne, Idyllwind and Moonshine Spirit – which are built and sold exclusively by Boot Barn, at lower prices.

You can expect great customer service at each location, with helpful associates who can help you find the perfect boot. This is probably your best option for kids boots: they have a large selection for boys and girls, from infants to teens, and their own brand boots come in at about 50% of the cost of Ariat, Durango, and Old West.

What’s more, because Boot Barn is a chain, their online store is impressive and you can have them ship to store for free. This is perfect for those times when they are out of your size in a specific style, or so you can try a new style in store with the facility to return or exchange them instantly.

9. Billy’s Western Wear

1490 S Main St, Boerne 78006
1731 Sidney Baker, Kerrville 78028

Billy’s has been outfitting the Hill Country since 1980, and this Western store – with outposts on Boerne’s main street and in nearby Kerrville – has become a destination for those looking for timeless classics and more modern Western wear options.

With a huge selection of hats, jeans, shirts, bags, bandanas and more, Billy’s continues to specialize in Western boots. With cowboy boots in standard and exotic leathers, work boots, and boot care and accessories; their unparalleled selection caters to men, women, and kids. Despite having a few closer options, I will happily make the journey to Boerne to find new boots for my son, as their selection of kids boots is broad and has some really unique options.

If you can’t find boots at Billy’s, it’s pretty safe to say that you probably can’t find any.

Last but by no means least, the ultimate location for buying Western boots in the Alamo City is from a booth at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. Keep my wise words in mind – always try before you buy, be willing to size up, and never judge a style before you give it a go – and you could just find yourself the ultimate Rodeo souvenir this year.

“If I can’t wear my cowboy boots, I ain’t going.” – Melinda Lubbers
Natalie
Natalie is a proud Brit, but moved to Texas at the end of 2017 to be with her husband, a native San Antonian. Their son was born in late October 2020, so her entire experience of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum has been under the cloud of Covid-19. She spent the frivolous years of her early 20s pursuing a PhD in Renaissance history, living in Venice, Italy, and teaching students. She pivoted into editing when she moved to the US, but currently has her academic pursuits on hold while she focuses on her son. Despite being in San Antonio for a few years now, she still considers herself a newbie. She loves to find out more about the history and culture of the city, explore new places, and find local businesses to support. A fastidious researcher and lover of lists, she’s always excited to share her finds and experiences with others. Favorite Restaurant: Dough Favorite Landmark: World’s Largest Cowboy Boots Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Riverwalk Christmas Lights