Parker Boot Company: Roper boots review

Monday, June 5th 2023
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These are my finished western boots from Parker Boot Company in Houston, Texas. I’ve had them for a while now, but various other things (mostly Japan) have got in the way of coverage. 

As I wrote in my first article on Zephan Parker - ‘Would you, could you wear a cowboy boot?’ - this is a style called a roper, which doesn’t have the pitched heel or pointy, upturned toe that make a cowboy boot so distinctive. 

It means they’re much easier to wear, but they do still have a western style. Certainly when you see the embroidery on the side, or the shape tops, but even if you just see that pointed-almond toe shape (below). No other style of footwear we cover looks like that. 

The fit of the boots was very good with the fitting boot covered last time, and is very good now. 

It’s particularly hard to make a long slip-on boot like this, where there’s no elastic, laces, or other adjustable fastening to help with the fit. The boot needs just the right balance between holding the foot in place, and still being able to get it on. 

There’s very little margin for error, and when you’re pushing your foot in with all your might, or pulling it out with the aid of the tabs, you feel how small that margin is. Fortunately Zephan got it just right. Especially impressive given we’ve never actually met (see previous post for how the fitting worked). 

In terms of quality, this is a real step up from the trial boot, which is good because the slight roughness of that first one had me concerned - even though Zephan made it clear what they were. 

The stitching is good, the finishing clean, and the tattoo-inspired embroidery nicely executed. We’re not talking the level of finishing of a top bespoke shoemaker, or perhaps one of the best manufacturers, but it’s still well done.

The style of the finished boot is also different around the top - side seams rather than front seam, heart shaped top line, and contrast pullers - and this too is pleasing. I’m glad I didn’t go for the alligator tops I originally wanted, as that would have likely been a step too far. 

I also changed my mind on the colour of the leather, and I’m still a little unsure about that. I wanted something a little lighter than the brown of the fitting boots, but this snuff is a little stronger and warmer than I expected. 

It looks great here with lighter clothes like mid-blue jeans and a white T-shirt. I can wear a grey knit or sweatshirt over the top, and various casual outerwear styles work well - like a military drab M65 or jungle jacket, or a duck-canvas chore coat

But it’s not so great with other colours of jeans (other than white) and a darker brown would have been more versatile. As, probably, would a paler, sandy brown, like my Edward Green desert boots. That’s a colour you often see western boots in, and I think that more muted colour would have been easier. 

In fact given I’ve had these boots for six months, we can ask the actual question - how often have I worn them?

Not an awful lot is the answer, perhaps 12 or 14 times. And actually the boots would look better if I’d worn them more and they were more beaten up. (They’re new in these photographs, but haven’t changed that much since.) 

Now I have a lot (lot) more shoes than most people. Partly because clothing is my primary interest, but more significantly because it’s my job. 

But even if it wasn’t, I think these boots would remain a nice alternative for me - something to go for when you want a change, when the rest of the outfit seems a little predictable or boring. Like wearing a black beret rather than a watch cap.  

However, I do think they could be more fundamental to a wardrobe for someone else. I know Alex Natt wears his Red Wing Peco roper boots in that way, as the cold-weather option alongside non-western clothes like a short waxed jacket, and it looks great. People like Ben Chamberlain - manager of the London Bryceland’s store - does something similar. 

In fact, if anything my experience with western boots so far has emboldened me, made me think I could wear a regular cowboy boot as well. If it was in a dark leather, I could wear them as I wore the fitting boot here, in winter, quite easily I think. 

They would still be that nice alternative, but that was always going to be the case. It’s still a big step from my original fear that western boots would simply look ridiculous. 

As is often the case with an unusual piece of menswear, this article has become about whether to wear something, rather than the maker themselves. 

That was the point of the first piece really, so I want to emphasise here how impressive Zephan’s fitting was, and how much I’d recommend Parker Boot Co to anyone else looking for something along these lines. 

You’ll be in good hands, and when I do finally get to return to Texas, he’ll be my first stop. 

Zephan’s boots start at $2500 and are all made custom, to order. Like many custom bootmakers he is in high demand, with a current delivery time of 16 months. The other clothes shown here are:

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Hi Simon
Two questions:
Firstly – what is the price? Useful on a review!
Secondly – is there enough of a heel to ride in these?



These look great, Simon. I think I said it on your previous post with the sample pair, when worn like this, they just look like a nice boot, I think anyone on the street would think the same. Nothing too striking about the heel or toe, all very everyday.

Diverging a little but somewhere in my mind I’m itching for a pair of engineer boots, and I would want the same. Standard heel (no woodsman etc.), neat toe (not too much spring) only difference really being you would see that buckle.

Peter Hall

in a similar vein (as they are related) some of the ankle-high motorbike boots are surprisingly slim and tight fitting.


Certainly will, I’ll report back here actually if/when I do. 99% I see have that shapely heel (cuban, woodsman etc.) and the classic toe spring, however I have seen one or two pairs that you couldn’t tell what they were beyond nice boots, like your Ropers here.


I recommend Brian Truong at Role Club in Los Angeles. His Engineers are fantastic and fully custom. I have several pairs of various boot styles from him and highly recommend.

Peter Hall

I like these a great deal. The shape and the casual elegance that is found in the best work wear. I think a black pair would be useful.

Are they comfortable enough to wear all day in the city?.

Clifton Doehmann

I wearing a black pair with a dark blue flannel suits, they look like a pair of whole cut shoes until you sit down and more of the boot is revealed. I have another pair in light/ medium tan which go superbly with lighter coloured denim jeans. I find them to be very comfortable, probably due to the thin and flat heels, so no teetering around as you walk. Cheers Peter, Simon, et al…..




Another interesting article from your diverse range. Nice boots, not necessarily for me. Regardless, what is amazing is that the margin for error being so small, they were such a good fit. Extraordinary commendable workmanship.


Those boots actually suit you Simon. I saw the title image of Cow boy boots and I was concerned, but I think this is something that your readers could actually wear on weekends without looking ridiculous. Provided they aren’t tucked into a pair of jeans… that could be pushing it a bit too far, maybe sometimes but not everyday

Aaron l

I was really hoping to see them tucked into something. What’s the point of a nice high boot if you don’t show it off? Perhaps it’s a style challenge you’ll have a crack at one day?

Aaron L

The context would have to be right I suppose – somewhere it makes sense to use the length of the boot.
I think the difference between the boot and the shirt is that it’s a little artificial to hide the boot – it’s long to protect the lower leg (from branches, wet grass, etc); while the shirt is designed as an under-layer. I suppose that doesn’t impact on how the boot reads as a style statement in urban contexts though…
So- Perhaps on your next wilderness outing!

Nancy Barton

I have been searching for a low heel and round toe boot for so long. I do not like the pointy toe or heel to high as it makes my back hurt. These are beautiful only out of reach for me!


Hello Simon
Try them with beige, or green, or blue, or light grey flannel cuffed trousers and a leather short jacket. Or even with a light grey db suit. Except summer, im an everyday wearer of the Lucchese boots.


Nice overview, Simon. Two questions/points: As an alternative, do you think a more casual Chelsea boot would serve a similar purpose? I’m thinking of something like an R.M. Williams Gardner (the chisel toe of the Craftsman which you recently reviewed might be too distinctive). The pant hem would cover most of the Roper’s high shaft and the gusset of a Chelsea, so below the hem they’d have close shapes. Second, any comments/suggestions on trouser hem width (or width below the knee) to accommodate the higher shaft? Cheers!


At first glance, in the photos of you standing, they look like a regular chelsea boot, which surprises me! It’s not my style, and I’m afraid I’ll unlikely become a customer (never say never) but I just love the fact someone is out there 100% committed to this craft. Thank you Simon for ferreting out and reporting on these amazing makers; I wish Zephan every success.


They don’t actually look like cowboy boots!
Apart from the decorative work up the leg, they bear no resemblance.
A roundish toe, and flat heel, coupled with snuff suede is all that would be visible in normal wear, so I doubt anybody would even guess that they are.
Having said all that, the workmanship is obviously of a very high standard.


I am a lifelong Texan. Your jeans should be worn longer, especially the first photos with the blue jeans. I absolutely disagree with Dimitris; you should only wear these with denim.


Let me amend my comment. These should only be worn with five pocket pants, not solely denim. Ropers are much too casual, you begin to have issues pairing a belt with them and I think it looks too much like a costume as you venture into other types of pants.


Hellow MWG
I sure agree to the part of longer blue jeans. But i quess, it only works (the way you mean it) with highwaisted dry Wranglers. 13 MWZ or 936. These are 60’s Levi’s. Wouldn’t do the job

Eric Twardzik

I really enjoy those boots-as I do Native American jewelry and fringed deerskin jackets-but the difficulty I have is successfully integrating them into a wardrobe that (in my case) revolves around Anglo-Ivy staples.
I’ve successfully introduced some Western shirts into the mix-they very easily match up with flat front chinos and loafers-but those more “maximalist” Western pieces are a challenge. I once owned a beautiful, fringed deerskin leather Western jacket from Ralph Lauren, but sold it after realizing it went with only one piece in my wardrobe-a Western shirt-which rendered it a poor investment. I suppose that the Roper boots, particularly with their lack of built up heel, will prove more versatile.


I’ve had to put my 100kg weight into pulling too many boots off ex-girlfriends that fitted perfectly at the start of the night to risk having to be buried/cut out of a pair of these… I think they look good but other options with elastic, zips or laces can achieve a safer similar result.


As a Texan enamored with cowboy boots (like many here are), I’ve been looking forward to this article. The boots are absolutely lovely and the minimalistic design really showcases how nice that vamp is shaped. For Ropers, I find there’s a fine line between clunky and shapely, and these have a great shape. I see what you mean about the reddish warmth of the brown suede, but they certainly look great with faded denim, and I think likely would look great with rougher chinos (maybe in a warmer tan), moleskin and cords.

I agree that you could wear a regular cowboy boot as well (though I am definitely biased), perhaps in a very dark brown calf with a plain vamp and french toe. Or a smooth ostrich (belly) in the almond toe (known here as an R toe) for something rougher.


Love Western boots. Try the Lucchesi chisel toe with riding heel. I think youll fall in love. They have precisely the sort of refined french toe chisel toe as the finest English shoe makers use, but with fine stitching done by hand, if you want, in the western tradition. I love mine. Have several pairs.

I actually started off with very subdued un stitched shark nose Western boots in subdued pinkish tan calf (with riding heels as I used them for actually riding), and a black calf pair of ropers with a heel similar to a modern dress shoe, similarly unstitched (the decorative stitching), and again, a shark nose profile, also called an almond toe, like yrs there. Both were stylish for me, but fun work boots. The ropers have the typical scalloped top of western boots, the tan ones, from my Father, interestingly are Bass, but are as high quality as any others Ive had from what my cobblers have told me, and those have what is called a stove pipe AKA a flat top. I for a long time had a fascination with stove top/stove pipe/shooter style boots, and eventually got a nearly knee high pair in deer tanned calf from Boulet, who I also highly recommend as the best maker in Canada. Those are in a gorgeous deep mahogany color with a delightfully deep almost waxy oiled look to the leather from the deer tanning, a handsome riding heel, similar to a Cuban heel, but less extreme, but does give a handsome accentuation to the leg line, and again, comfortable to walk on and great for staying in yr stirrups, and with a shark nose (toe box), and very handsome mule ear boot pull straps, as I believe yrs have also (that is externally fastened decorative pull straps as opposed to simple ones just attached subcutaneously through slots set into the sides of the boot though still externally visible. I later branched out further into peanut brittle teju lizard boots with a spade sole and a clubbed pointed toe. That is that the toe has a pronounced curvature to the toe box from the side profile, but a slightly but sharply curved meeting at a pointed toe shortly before the point, at a pointed to box, with calf uppers, heavily stitched in a lovely chocolate brown calf, I also have another pair as the classic in a simple Lucchesi point toe model with their typical overstitching, in ox blood calf, and several vintage pairs with square toes in snuff suede, butter colored calf, and simple tan all in slightly different conformations. Ill see about doing some photos of them soon.

I will say that I have an inborn affinity for them having grown up in the Southwest and in horse country in California, and having worn them for practical purposes growing up and in my youth, and as I often saw them worn during that time, less so today as much of the ranch country in the reaches is being eaten up by housing developments, same with the farms, sadly, but I think they have a charming but ineffable and inescapable style. I think as they grow on you, youll get the hankering to dive deeper into their subtle varieties and I do hope you do. They suit you very handsomely and give a charming quiet and unique style as worn, granted, one not often seen outside of the U.S., aside from aficionados of our national dress, and from ex patriots. Have a Great day. Oh, when I do the photos, Ill tag you.

oh, one other thing, the classic (though within the last twenty years, no longer current) way to wear jeans with western boots, is either with a 2″ cuff/turn up, or with none. Thats been superceded in recent years by the stacked look which is largely to prevent the jeans from riding up as yr riding and protect the stitching from cacti and thorny underbrush gouging them. Ive always been a careful rider and have never had an issue with it eben in the midst if a herd, so I wear mine sans cuff, with my jeans selected for a no break hem for a clean line.


I love suede but doesn’t it rain a lot where you live? I have six or seven pair of custom JB Hill’s. Some suede, some calf skin but I never wear the suede ones in the rain.

Ned Brown

You designed an attractive boot; an alligator top would have been a bit much. As someone who learned to rope cattle as a teenager, and I also started playing polo, a Roper boot is very practical. Not sure you would enjoy a traditional cowboy boot tromping around London. The pitch is a bit uncomfortable for heal-toe walking. I have two pairs of great Luchese boots in a closet that are sadly seldom worn. Cheers,


Howdy! The fitting boots look really great! Keep rocking them if they fit enough…! Thanks for the report.