How to put spurs on your cowboy boots

Written by dave p. fisher
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Cowboys have been wearing spurs on their boots since the first cattle drives left Texas in 1866. Spurs are made from metal in countless styles from plain and functional to ornate engraved works of art. They are specifically designed to fit cowboy boots and won't fit any other kind of boot. Putting on a pair of spurs is as easy as putting on your cowboy boots.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Boots
  • Spurs
  • Leather spur straps
  • Leather spur tie-down straps

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  1. 1

    Look over the spurs. Spurs have three parts. The spur band is the part that fits around the heel. The shank is the piece extending out the back of the band. The rowel is the wheel on the shank. A metal button is at the top of each side of the spur band. A spur with a straight shank can be put on either boot. Spurs that have an angled shank--common in rodeo spurs--are foot-specific; the shank points toward the opposite foot.

  2. 2

    Put on the spur straps. The straps come in two parts and both strap pieces have a slit that goes over the button like a shirt. The first is a small piece with a D ring on it, which goes on the inside spur band button. The second piece is the long strap with the buckle on it; put it on the outside button with the buckle out.

  3. 3

    Examine your spurs because some spurs have a second pair of smaller buttons protruding out midway on both sides of the spur band. These are for the tie-down strap. Going under the spur band, attach each side of the tie-down strap to the smaller buttons so it hangs down underneath the spur. The purpose of this is to keep the spur from riding up on the boot. If there are no tie-down buttons this step is eliminated.

  4. 4

    Push the spur band onto the back of the boot just above the heel, buttons and straps at the top, until it fully fits the boot. Bring the spur strap over the top of the boot foot, lace the end through the D ring from the underside, bring it back over itself to the buckle and buckle it snug enough so the spur does not move.

  5. 5

    Employ a tie-down strap by holding the spur by the shank; start under the boot, place the tie-down strap over the boot heel from the bottom until it is up against the arch of the boot sole and the top of the heel. Pulling back against the tie-down strap, bring the spur band up and push it unto the back of the boot. Buckle it in place with the spur strap.

  6. 6

    Repeat the procedure with the opposite boot.

Tips and warnings

  • The easiest way to put the spur on the boot is to hold the shank and push it on.
  • Once the spur straps are in place leave them on; you can tell at a glance which is the right and left spur as the buckles are on the outside.
  • It is not recommended that rowels with sharp points be worn. Sharp points are injurious to the horse and can pose a cutting problem to your hand when putting the spurs on. Use a rowel with rounded dull points.

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