Apparel Gear

Lone Star Exemplar: Chisos Handmade Cowboy Boot Review

chisos cowboy boot review
Written by Horse Rookie

Durability & Design Done Right

When it comes to the percentage of the population wearing cowboy boots, Texas probably ranks #1 in the U.S. But Montana, where I live, has got to be in the top 5. These iconic fashion staples are a way of life here, whether you’re working on a ranch or dressing up for dinner downtown.

Boots are part of our culture, Western aesthetic, and daily life of equestrians and non-riders, alike.

That’s why I was eager to experience a new boot brand that’s doing things differently—Chisos.

chisos

Do Right, Love Texas®

If you’re new to Chisos, as I was, let me provide a little back story. The brand was created in 2019 by Will Roman, deep in the heart of Texas (sung).

Along with three friends, and fellow footwear fanatics, Will set out to make some ‘damn comfortable cowboy boots.’

But he didn’t do it the typical way. He didn’t raise a bunch of cash, hire a huge team, and mass produce boots that would appear to be handcrafted. 

Instead, he headed south to Guanajuato, Mexico to learn about the art of bootmaking for himself. 

Fast forward a few years, and Chisos boasts a dozen different styles—all made in small batches in the same family-run shop in Mexico where Will learned everything he knows about high-end, handcrafted cowboy kicks.

The moment you pull on a pair of Chisos, you can feel the difference. – Will, CEO of Chisos

chisos quoteCheck out this video about the company’s humble beginnings:

As a consumer, I want to support companies doing good work in responsible and ethical ways. 

From everything I’ve learned about Chisos, they’re certainly a brand worth supporting.

Here are a few reasons:

  • They take care of their team. All Chisos boots are made in the same family-run shop in Mexico, where safe working conditions and fair compensation are top priorities. In fact, apprentice pay is more than twice the region’s living wage, and all team members receive state pension contributions and health care benefits.
  • They’re good stewards. As an equestrian, who is also an animal-loving vegetarian, I want to lift up companies who procure and utilize leather in the most efficient and humane ways. Chisos’ heritage leathers come from regionally-sourced, retired adult dairy cows (vs. calfskin), and that’s something I really appreciate.  
  • They put quality over quantity. In an industry dominated by mass-production and shoddy (ahem) “craftsmanship,” Chisos exists to build small-batch cowboy boots that last decades—not seasons.
     

chisos quote

Chisos Boots Unboxing

From the moment I saw the bold box design, I got a good feeling about what was inside. I’m a marketer by trade, so I really appreciate attention to detail when it comes to branding and packaging.

These are far from bargain basement boots, and the entire experience supports the higher price tag.

chisos

First impressions matter!

The box is durable enough to store your boots when not in use. (Though, really, why ever put them away?!) The side panel slides out like a drawer with western-style rivet tug—cool detail.

chisos box

Denali kindly tried the open the box for me… pardon the bite marks.

Inside, you’ll find two thick drawstring cotton boot bags. These keep your boots from getting dusty or scuffed. 

chisos boot bags

Chisos boot bags

I also appreciated all the little touches that came with my cowboy boots. A handwritten note, branded gear, letter from Will, and jar of Chisos leather balm went above and beyond. 

chisos boot box

This brand goes the extra mile – they even gave me some leather balm to try!

But I know what you really want to see. Here are the Chisos No. 3 boots!

Everyone loves the smell of quality leather! 

Let’s Talk Sizing

Before you order, think about whether you like a snugger or looser fit.  For men, generally boots should match the size you wear in dress shoes. For ladies, a half size smaller than your athletic shoes will do the job.

I wear a size 8 for boots normally, and the size 8 boots did fit—though they are a tad roomy. I could’ve gone down to 7.5, but I’ll just wear thicker socks.

Note: Exchanges are free in case you end up wanting to try a different size.

boot fit

Follow these boot fit tips.

test boots

Always test your boots on a soft surface.

Chisos No. 3 (Ladies Boot)

This bestselling ladies cowboy boot features an intricate stitched design that’s inspired by petroglyphs in Big Bend National Park.

Crafted from Chisos heritage leather, with a double-take-worthy patina, the No. 3 is an objectively beautiful boot.

What’s to love:

  • Full-grain leather (cowhide)
  • 10″ shaft
  • 1.5″ heel
  • Pointed toe (but not insanely so)
  • Gorgeous stitching
  • Impeccable craftsmanship
  • Lovely antique brown color
  • Comfy footbed
chisos boots

Lovely right out of the box

Here they are with skinny jeans tucked in. Again, I could have sized down to a 7.5 and had less movement inside the boot, but the leather should confirm to my foot and ankle with time.

chisos

These boots hold up to Montana dirt, no problem.

You can see the roomy openings in this shot. I’m used to a bit snugger fit up top.

chisos boot

Boots from above

Here you can see the Chisos No. 3 with bootcut jeans. This is how I’ll likely wear them out and about.

bootcuts and boots

It’s Montana. We wear a lot of bootcuts. 

Check out the gorgeous detailing on the toes!

boot detailing

Boot detailing

Shop Chisos Ladies Boots

Shop Chisos Mens Boots

Room for Improvement

Everyone’s idea of the “perfect cowboy boot” is different, and that’s OK. Chisos gets top marks for everything from branding to craftsmanship, design to durability. That said, there are a few things I didn’t expect.

As shown in earlier photos, the calf opening is pretty generous—at least for the ladies boots. It’s invisible under bootcut jeans, obviously, but I would prefer a more fitted boot top for skinny jeans.

The bigger issue was an interior seam across the back of my heel. I’m not used to having an inside seam there, and it was pretty ouchy when I walked. Luckily, when I reached out to Will about it, he kindly replaced the original pair.

He explained that seam is typically more smoothed out during their QA process, and the replacements were definitely improved. His team also suggested rolling a baseball bat along that inner seam (gently) if it still bugs me. I may give that a try and see if I can make that seam less noticeable. 

Would I prefer no heel seam at all? Yes, please, Chisos! I’m concerned it’ll rub unless I wear really thick socks. I’ll see if Google has some extra tips for breaking in boots more quickly.

But, I was impressed by the team’s response and commitment to making sure I had a pair that worked better for me. I also think sizing down to 7.5 would have helped my foot move less and probably have made that seam less prominent. 

boot box

Autumn gives Chisos 5-stars for sun protection 😉

chisos quote

Caring for Your Boots

These boots will hold up for decades—if you care for them properly.

Luckily, Chisos sells gooey leather balm so you can clean with the best.

Not only does it refresh and rejuvenate the leather, it also cuts down on scuffing, cracking, and moisture damage.

leather balm

Chisos leather balm

leather balm

Use monthly to keep your boots looking tip-top.

So, Are Chisos Boots Worth It?

If there’s one thing that comes through with Chisos boots, it’s passion. These are people who love the aura of cowboy boots, the craftsmanship of heirloom leather pieces, and timeless style that adds pep to every step.

If you haven’t checked out Chisos, head over to their site to start shopping!

chisos quote

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About the author

Horse Rookie

I began riding horses at age six, and I'm just as infatuated (OK, more!) with the sport decades later. My AQHA gelding exemplifies the versatility of the breed -- reined cow horse, reining, roping, ranch riding, trail, dressage, and jumping. We're also dipping our toes (hooves) into Working Equitation!