In the event of a fall, it is possible for the rider’s foot to go through the saddle stirrup (the part of the saddle where you place your feet) and get caught, which can result in the rider being dragged by the horse instead of separating from the horse – thus compounding an already bad safety situation. Having the rider’s foot slip out of the boot is a critical safety feature (hence no laces). The boot’s heel prevents the foot from slipping through the stirrup and the smooth sole further reduces the chance of the boot getting stuck in the stirrup. The height of a cowboy boot and its tendency to protect your ankle and lower leg from chafing is a good comfort feature, but not an essential safety feature.