There are times in my line of work when I have to be on my feet all day long, and dressed in a suit as well. Since I don’t own a pair of shoes, having comfortable boots is a necessity. Over the next several days, I will be at a conference, running up and down hallways, standing at a table providing information, and spending much more time on my feet than I usually do.
Pictured here is a pair of Ariat cowboy boots that have a rubber tread, so they’ll work well as a motorcycle boot, too. They have a great built-in insole as well. The combination of the insole and the rubber tread, as well as being made of a very soft cowhide, make them quite comfortable. I wore them all day yesterday and I was on my feet or standing for many hours. My feet didn’t hurt a bit.
Of the cowboy boots in my collection, two manufacturers stand out above the crowd: Lucchese and Dan Post. Each of these bootmakers build their boots on quality lasts (forms) and install insoles that are comfortable. Nocona boots aren’t bad, either, but don’t quite have the comfort of Dan Post boots.
What manufacturers make boots that I find to be uncomfortable? Acme by far is the worst, followed by Cowtown and Code West. I’ve discarded any Laredo boots that I had because they’re very uncomfortable and were cheaply made. Unfortunately, I find that Tony Lama, once a premier boot maker, has fallen short in my boot comfort ratings. Justin can be good or not so good, depending on the boot. Justin comfort is inconsistent. Sendras look hot, but to be really fair, they’re not all that comfortable to stand in for a long time. Boots made in Mexico by independent boot makers can really vary. Mezcalero Boots are teriffic, but Rudel and Villano are not. Rios of Mercedes are fair, and Largato are a bit better. You just have to try them on and walk/stand in them a while to see how they feel to you.
Motorcycle boots aren’t ordinarily worn with dress clothes, but I have been spotted from time to time wearing H-D Police Enforcer Boots which by far are the most comfortable tall “bike cop” boots that I own. Far more comfortable that Dehners, IMHO.
Final words: you really have to try on the boots and walk in them. Walk around a store, up and down the aisles, and stand. Just stand in them. Often you can tell after 5 minutes of standing in a pair of boots if they are comfortable to you. Tell the sales guy why you’re doing that — to evaluate how the boots really feel to you. That’s the only way you can tell. If a sales guy doesn’t want you to spend the time doing that, then go somewhere else. And don’t buy the poppycock that “the boots will break in.” The break-in happens in the flex of the sole (for walking) and in the creases at the ankles. It has nothing to do with sole comfort while standing. Don’t let a sales guy tell you any different.
In closing, boot comfort for walking and standing is really measured in the quality of an insole. That makes all the difference. If you like a boot but the insole is not of good quality, you can always buy good quality insoles, like Dr. Sholl’s gel insoles, which are really quite good. (Don’t get the cheap thin foam insoles, which feel good for a few hours then flatten out and aren’t so good any more.)
Life is short. Wear your boots. Stand and be proud while booted.