In the TikTok era, trends arrive fast and can be gone in a flash. But you’re not imagining things: cowboy boots are having a moment.
From the popularity of “Yellowstone” to Barbie’s hot-pink cowgirl costume, there has been no shortage of Western-related fashion moments in the culture this year. The term “cowboy boots” has more than a billion global views on TikTok, with 43 million views in the last month alone, according to November research conducted by the fashion brand Karen Millen.
Shane Holman, head of global merchandising at the footwear brand Ariat, said her team has seen a growing interest in its cowboy boots and Western wear, in general, from outside of the brand’s core customer base. Its typical customer resides in the South and Southwest regions of the country, but increasingly, Ariat’s shoppers hail from New York and Los Angeles. That’s led to double-digit sales growth in the brand’s cowboy boots over the last year.
“We’re calling it the ‘Yellowstone’ effect,” Holman said. “Cowboy boots are our hero product, and they’re branching out into the mainstream now. The trends start in TV and movies, like ‘Yellowstone’ and ‘Barbie,’ then they’re on TikTok, and they just explode from there.”
Holman said she first became aware that cowboy boots were trending when she saw them popping up in New York City street style Instagrams.
The cowboy trend has also been fueled by endorsements from big celebrities. For example, Beyoncé wore a disco ball cowboy hat in the visuals for her “Renaissance” album. The hat was the creation of 24-year-old designer Abbey Misbin, who sells her $285 cowboy hats on Etsy. Once Beyoncé was spotted wearing the hat, it sold out within two hours.
The Eras Tour, during which Taylor Swift wore a number of Western-inspired looks like cowboy boots and dresses with fringe and sequins, also had an impact. The Houston-based retailer Francesca’s said it saw a 30% bump in in-store sales of similar products when the tour came to town.
According to Edited, retailers and brands have introduced 240% more styles of cowboy boots this year. compared to 2022. That includes Crocs, which released a cowboy boot-clog hybrid in October. The eye-catching shoe was meant to grab attention and was inspired by internet memes, according to Crocs CEO Heidi Cooley.
In that sense, the boots were a success. A representative from Crocs told Glossy the boots drove “billions of impressions” across social media during the month of October. Crocs has made a tradition of marketing the month as “Croctober,” and it’s when the brand releases its most outlandish products and collaborations.
But the success of the Croc cowboy boots, along with the bevy of other cowboy-inspired looks coming out by brands including Khaite and Saint Laurent, has proven that this trend is more than just a meme.
“You see it everywhere now,” Holman said. “It’s a little bit of fringe here, or a yoke on a shirt or a full-on cowboy boot. But it’s not like a costume. People are working it into their everyday outfits.”