If you’re anything like me, your feet take a beating during the Calgary Stampede – pounding the pavement on the midway, two stepping around the dance floor and stamping your feet constantly can take a real toll on your tootsies.
Stuffing your feet into a pair of cowboy boots for 10 days isn’t exactly helpful, either.
Here’s 10 tips I’ve learned over the past years for getting maximum comfort out of your boots and giving your feet a break.
1. Don’t buy your boots right before Stampede – Ok, this tip might come a little bit late for some. But you’re going to want to buy your boots at least a month in advance and wear them out a few times to break them in. This will help the boots mold to the shape of your foot and prevent blisters.
2. Get help when buying boots – Lammles and Alberta Boot Company are good places to start. Talk to a sales associate about what you want out of your boots. Find out what shape and brand will be most funcitonal and comfortable for your Stampede needs.
3. When shopping for boots, keep them on your feet for a while – Don’t take that pair off too fast. Walk around the store. Do some dance moves. Wear two different boots on each foot. Try on lots of pairs. Don’t settle on the first pair you try on, and don’t buy specifically for how the boot looks. Function over fashion and your feet will thank you.
4. Stand up when you try on boots – It sounds silly, but when you’re sitting down your feet are smaller. Stand up and your foot flattens and lengthens. Make sure your boots fit while standing.
5. Don’t buy boots that are too loose or too snug – Try to find boots that hug your foot but don’t cut off circulation. Watch out for loose boots. They might feel more comfortable at first, but you will get blisters from the movement later on.
6. Don’t wear your boots just during Stampede – Try to wear your boots a few times a year. This will allow your feet to get used to the boots and vice versa. It won’t be such a shock when you want to wear them for a few days in a row come Stampede time.
7. Wear good socks – I like to wear a high quality running sock inside mine. Something to wick away sweat is good. Lots of people I have talked to recommend wool socks or ski socks with padding. I also recommend bringing a spare pair of socks in your purse or bag, so you can change if chaffing becomes a problem.
8. Two pairs are better than one – It’s great to have an extra pair of boots and trade pairs out day after day. It’s might not be an option for some, but if you can afford it, your feet will thank you.
9. Consider buying used – Some people have a huge problem with wearing used shoes. I am not one of these people. I bought a pair at Value Village, which have become my ‘relief’ pair of boots. They’re a little banged up, but they were already broken in and cost $10. I like them for when I’m back in the barns or doing dirty work. They’ve kept my dressier boots a little nicer. Consignment stores are also full of cowboy boots at deep discounts.
10. Buy a boot jack – Have a way to get those boots off. A boot jack works great and they are cheap at any western outfitter. You do not want to spend hours trying to get your boots off after you’ve had a few drinks. Also, sleeping in your boots is very uncomfortable (I know this from real life experience, sadly.)