Whether you think cowboy boots are the good, the bad or the ugly, there's no denying the Wild West is back in fashion.
From celebrity backing to a surge in Google and Pinterest searches, Western styled boots continue to gain traction. In this report, we highlight reasons why retailers should be taking note and insights into the trend.
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Giddying up for this trend
Global searches are on the rise
Growing popularity in the Western silhouette has led to a rise in online searches. Pinterest continues to see a surge in searches for cowboy boots as well as cowboy boots outfits- channeling the thought of new ways to style in 2021. Lyst reported that global searches for the style rose 27% in April vs. the previous month, with Isabel Marant the most sought label. Views of its Denvee boots increased 19% MoM, a style the brand has continued to update since first launching in early 2019.
Much loved by celebrities
In a recent Instagram post, Kendall Jenner shared how she has had the same pair of cowboy boots for nine years and continues to wear them today, attaching the caption to a picture of her beloved Western-style boots. Kendall isn't the only one from the Kardashian/Jenner clan who favors the style; Kourtney Kardashian was spotted sporting a green leather pair in May. Although popular among female celebrities, Lil Nas X shows his love for the cowboy boot, opting for textured and colorful options as opposed to traditional blacks and browns.
Horse girl trends are bubbling up
While Pinterest searches for horse girl have almost doubled since the end of November 2020, the trend only gained further traction throughout the pandemic as many turned to outdoor actives during the restrictions. Not only is the trend fueled by celebrities such as Bella Hadid and her love for horses, but designers are also driving demand. Gucci's Fall 2021 collection with Balenciaga channeled many horse-inspired themes, while CELINE's creative director, Hedi Slimane, opened the Teen Knight Poem AW21 show with the models galloping in on horseback.
Prolonged life cycle
Although the updated colors, patterns and prints lean to more trend-led options, the silhouette has been a classic shape seen over many seasons. A popular evergreen style across the mid & mature market, the prolonged lifecycle allows the boot to sustain a longer shelf life in core colorways. Zappos first launched theAriat Heritage Western R Toe boots in distressed brownin July 2011, which are still available to purchase today. Since launch, the product has been replenished a total of nine times and sustained a consistent price point, indicating a good sell-through rate for the retailer.
Spotted on Fall 2021 runway
Solidifying its position as the brand's signature boot, Isabel Marant displayed a mix of Western boots for Fall 2021. A darker color palette of blacks and burgundies in shiny leather fabrications stood out in the collection. Private Policy opted for a classic mid-height in blacks and browns with traditional stitching detail, while Victor Li updated the style with a light wash denim fabrication for the top of the boot. Other designers sporting western and cowboy boots for Fall 2021 include Each X Other, Custo Barcelona and Etro.
Images via Isabel Marant, Private Policy, Victor Li
Styles to consider
The bread and butter of cowboy and Western styles, retailers should consider this mid-height as the core of their assortments if new or recently onboard with the trend.
Shorter cuts are a lower-risk investment that can cater to a broader market and those less confident of the trend. These often feature several different elements of Western styles.
Popular at Isabel Marant and Jeffrey Campbell, taller silhouettes or over-the-knee, often sit at a higher price than those of a shorter cut. Black is the most stocked color across retailers analyzed.
As stated in Lyst's Data Drop, croc and cow were among the most popular search terms for cowboy boots in April 2021. Looking at the analyzed retailers, current descriptors of snake topped the chart, followed by croc.
Suede vs. leather
Leather and suede continue to dominate fabric options. The majority of suede designs are ankle length boots available in browns and neutral tones.
Traditional designs still hold an important place across the trend, with vintage styles commonplace. Also described as heritage at Ariat, retailers should not write off this worn and authentic aesthetic in place of modern twists.
5 charts to inform your range
Indicating positive demand, just 22% of all UK & US in stock products were discounted. Ariat and Free People topped the charts for top stockists across both regions. While browns, blacks and whites were the most available colorways, other brighter hues of reds, oranges and yellows were also invested in.
Retailer promotions & communications
Historically, September sees the highest concentration of email communications shared around western and cowboy boots as retailers promote new fall collections. Mentions of the style infiltrated emails at FWRD and Free People via outfit building inspiration ideas.
Social media - Instagram
Social posts offered a variety of aesthetics, with desert and outdoor themes prominent. Posts shared were commonly situated by earthy and muted tones.