Do you often feel confused when you hear people referring to the “shaft” or the “vamp” of a pair of Western boots? Whether you’re an experienced boot wearer or a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to remember all of the different elements of a pair of cowboy boots. Here is a list of all of those confusing terms (and what they mean) so that you’ll sound like a boot expert at your next country concert.

  • Pull strap. This convenient flap of leather is located at the top of either side of your boots, making it easy to pull your boots on. 

pull strap

  • Shaft. This is simply the entire top part of the boot, beginning at where your foot ends and your leg begins. Traditional cowboy boot shafts range from 11 to 14 inches tall. 

boot shaft

  • Scallop. Located right at the very top of the shaft, this curved edge comes in both simple and more elaborate shapes.
  • Cutout and inlay. If your boots are ornately decorated, they likely contain cutouts in various swirling patterns and shapes. The inlay is a piece of leather in a different color that acts as the background of the cutout.



  • Side seam. Like the name suggests, this is the stitching that joins the front and back parts of the boot’s shaft.

side seam

  • Vamp. This is the part of the boot that covers the very top of your foot.
  • Tongue. You’ll find this at the top of the vamp. It is often cut into ornate designs. 


  • Toe box. This covers the top and sides of your toe area, and it is often made of a stiffer, stronger material to keep your toes protected.

toe box

  • Counter. This is located at the back of the boot, just above the heel.
  • Heel. Likely the most commonly known part of the boot, the heel comes in various shapes and heights to accommodate all types of wearers. 


Do you own a pair of boots from Love Those Boots? Show them off in the comments section below!