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View Full Version : buying new boots - need consumer opinions



dressagemom
Dec. 30, 2007, 12:35 PM
It is time to purchase new dressage boots. It has been quite a few years since I last did this. I am looking for your consumer opinions on the brands that are sold in the catalogs such as Dressage Extension or Dover. I am looking for your thoughts on the level of quality, durability in areas like the zipper that you got for the price. The boots are for my daughter who is a professional and is about 5'8". If you have had custom boots made, I would also like to hear your thoughts on going in that direction. Thanks for the help.

YankeeLawyer
Dec. 30, 2007, 01:22 PM
In terms of off the rack, I like Petrie boots but unfortnately my calves apparently are too long and thin for any of the off the rack brands. I have custom Vogel boots and I love them; they are gorgeous, but they can take quite a while to complete your order (mine took a few months because I had to send them back for some tweaking with the fit -- which they will do as many times as you ask until you are 100% thrilled with them). A lot depends on who does the measuring.

Custom boots are not inexpensive but they often are not significantly more than top off the rack brands, and you can get a much better fit with custom. Also, I have yet to manage to wear out a pair of Vogels. I have one pair of field boots (former H/J rider) from them that I have had for 20 years and they still look very good. I just got new dress boots and they are also beautifully made.

JRG
Dec. 30, 2007, 01:35 PM
I am waiting on customs to come to me. I would have loved to do off the rack but I have chicken legs, long leg and large feet all together not a good combination for stock. The closest are the ariat, tall and slim, but still not tall enough but thin.

I ordered mine measured from the people of Dehner in October, they should be here in a couple of weeks. I cant wait, all the bells and whistles plus the Italian tops which give me the added height I needed.

I `also wanted to have them nice and broken in before show season.

Hazelnut
Dec. 30, 2007, 01:43 PM
If you do Petries be sure someone very good does the measuring. I got a pair that never fit and I never wore them.

Miss Dior
Dec. 30, 2007, 03:35 PM
I personally believe that there is only one person on the planet capable of ordering custom boots that come in correct every time. Woody's of Wellington. To hell with the measurement charts ...all of them are incorrect even when done correctly !!! Koenigs with a custom zipper by Woody are the best long term investment to make IMO. Go for stiffer K7000 or K8000 if you really like abuse.

vanillabean
Dec. 30, 2007, 04:11 PM
I am the hard to measure boot queen. I think what I have found, bottom line, is that no pair of boots is invincible. The most expensive pair will wear out quickly if you ride too many horses and don't take care of them (or are too busy to pull them on and off between horses).
I think my next plan of action is to get Petries and boot cover things to protect the sole, and a pair of cheaper boots to wear on long days.
The Vogels are expensive, can take a long time to get, and do not stay as stiff as the koenigs but might be more comfortable.
The Koenigs will drop a lot and can be hard to get on/off, GREAT for riding but not for running around in between in. You will hurt!
The Petries seem to hold their shape well, can be found affordably, and the leather cleans up well. Plus they are so elegant looking. But I'm not sure they would hold up well if you do too much walking in them.
The Ariats are nice hunter boots but even the stiffest dressage leather is not as stiff as the other brands.
The custom dover looks ok but for the price I would rather have Petries.
The Devon-Aire dress boots are very soft and the Ovation ones just plain old suck, even worse than the Devon-Aires.
Haven't had any experiences with Dehners.

carovet
Dec. 30, 2007, 04:17 PM
I have koenig's ordered from shaw's saddlery in cupertino, ca that are a perfect fit and look super. (real dressage boots but not the very stiffest model)

They also did my 2nd vogel's years before (field hunters) that were also wonderful.

My first pair of vogel's were from grand champion in indianapolis -- also super fit.

I have had good luck with customs, but be sure whoever you order it from will guarantee the fit.

carovet

CLB15
Dec. 30, 2007, 05:22 PM
I have Petrie 3000's (off the rack) that fit beautifully. I had the right foot size & calf but was unsure on what height to order (I was an "in between" height) so I had the shop set aside two pairs. I'm 5'5" and my legs are on the "shorter" side, and the tallest pair (in my foot size & calf width) fit perfectly after they broke in. I'm not sure if they would be tall enough for someon 5'8"(?).
Vogels are very nice (I know a few people with them- one of them only wears them for special occassions, the others wear them regularly), but in 100 years when I go boot shopping again, I plan to go with Konigs. I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow a pair of konigs a few years ago that were 10 years old at the time and had held up great.

Miss Dior
Dec. 30, 2007, 10:51 PM
The K 7000 and esp the 8000s drop less than 1/2 inch. They can be ordered w/ the rubber all weather sole so virtually never wear out even if you use them in the wash rack. Remove them after you ride. Not meant to walk around in.

Dressage (Pea)Nut
Dec. 31, 2007, 03:56 PM
HATE HATE HATE Konigs!! Bought them off the rack (BIG mistake), spent entirely too much money getting them fitted (ie. calf widened, calf narrowed, zipper inserted), only to find that despite 2 months of pain and suffering of trying to break them in, they adamantly REFUSED to break in!! Grrrr... Learned my lesson. Ordered semi-custom Cavallos (I think they are the Piaffe model), and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Simply beautiful boots. They took a little longer than quoted, but were worth the wait. They only issue I had with them is that I ordered them with a zipper, which they forgot to put in. Hey, it can happen when you're ordering from a company in Germany - something is bound to get lost in translation. But they fit so perfectly, I don't even care that much that they don't have a zipper (in fact, I think they look more "streamlined" without the zipper). And if I really decide I want a zipper, I can always take them to my local shoemaker, who always does a very professional job. Anyway, I've rambled on a bit - hope this helps!

Edited to add: I am also notoriously hard to fit - tiny feet (size 5 1/2), with short, WIDE calves (and one calf 1/2" bigger than the other), and I didn't even need to go fully custom with Cavallo - I guess they stock many different size/shapes, so I only needed a semi-custom boot (definitely saved some $$ there!).

Valentina_32926
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:55 AM
I have Petrie 3000's (off the rack) that fit beautifully.

I bought my Petrie from Dressage Extensions (DE) & since I have VERY wide calves I had to call. DE had to special order the correct size - so while I was at it I had them add zippers. They're great and DE is EXCELLENT to work with!

Hilary
Jan. 2, 2008, 01:55 PM
I love my Dehners. They are super fancy looking boots, and are going strong in their 10th year. I expect them to last another 10. I only show in them, so they took a long time to break in, but they never gave me blisters, and today still look good enough that people stop me and say "those are the most gorgeous boots".

It doesn't hurt that my calves are very long for my height which gives the illusion of very very tall skinny boots, but they're gorgeous.

LD1129
Jan. 2, 2008, 02:03 PM
I bought my Petrie from Dressage Extensions (DE) & since I have VERY wide calves I had to call. DE had to special order the correct size - so while I was at it I had them add zippers. They're great and DE is EXCELLENT to work with!

Ohh great to hear I just ordered online a pair of Petrie 3000 from Dressage Extensions. I am short with very wide calves also :sadsmile: I put in my measurements on line so I guess if I don't hear from them its ok?

Reynard Ridge
Jan. 2, 2008, 03:51 PM
A thought on customs - I bought my first and so far only pair directly from Vogel's in NYC. I went to the shop, they measured me and I came back to try on the boots. They were not even close! I was shocked - but very glad I had come back to try them on versus just having the boots shipped!

The second time was a charm, they fit perfectly, and are still trucking almost twenty years later. My point is, if you can have them done where they are being made so refinements can be made to fit easily, it's not a bad idea.

Eclectic Horseman
Jan. 2, 2008, 04:06 PM
I find Koenigs to be very wide in the heel for many women. It is a real problem that cannot be solved by heel liners or any of those Dr. Scholl type remedies. When your heel inadvertently slips up into the ankle of the boot when you ride, it is hard to fix with your foot in the stirrup.

I have seen Koenigs advertised specifically for women over the last couple of years so perhaps they have solved the problem for ladies narrow heels.

CTM
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:11 PM
I got the newer Koenig model that Euro American Saddlery carries - the Reitstiefel - and it's great! I gave them a few measurements and they sent me a couple of pair to try and one fit like custom.

Tasker
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:48 PM
I just got my 3rd pair of Cavallos. Hard wearing (I beat them up), good quality and I like them as it has been cost effective (longest lasting for the $$). The everyday pair were my show boots in the mid 90's. They're on the 2nd set of zippers & third soles and Fred (the boot guy) said this was the last time to repair them. :( But they go on 6-9 horses per day and get cleaned occasionally. All of them have been tough (grit your teeth) to break in, but it is well worth it when you can get 10-15 years out of a pair of boots. The show boots are treated much better (cleaned every use and kept polished & in a bag) but generally can last for 15+ years.

One of our boarders has Vogels and has been through 5 pairs in the time I have had my Cavallos. Hers seem to wear through in the ankles and get dry rotted much faster FWIW. She has not had more than 2 horses to ride and has a full time groom to bathe, etc. so hers are treated much kinder than mine.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

Rhiannonjk
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:16 PM
I just got my custom Dehners, and couldn't be happier!

J-Lu
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:30 PM
If you're buying them for your daughter, you might want to ask how stiff she likes them. Some trainers I know really hate really stiff boots, others like them. My old trainer (GP level trainer on 6+ horses per day) chose Ariats because she really liked feel through the ankle and thought the stiff boots were too restrictive for her. Others hate Ariats. To each their own!

J.

Valentina_32926
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:37 AM
Ohh great to hear I just ordered online a pair of Petrie 3000 from Dressage Extensions. I am short with very wide calves also :sadsmile: I put in my measurements on line so I guess if I don't hear from them its ok?

Don't know - I called on the phone plus had them send some boots to verify size (I couldn't get them zipped up). Lady was VERY nice but as long as you provided a phone number I'm betting you'll be called if they have any questions.

LD1129
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:54 AM
Don't know - I called on the phone plus had them send some boots to verify size (I couldn't get them zipped up). Lady was VERY nice but as long as you provided a phone number I'm betting you'll be called if they have any questions.

Thanks I did end up shooting off an email to them yesterday with my phone number ect and told them to call me with any questions. I can not wait to get my boots :)

2DogsFarm
Jan. 3, 2008, 11:22 AM
My dress boots are Vogels and they are now going on 20yo and look almost new. Granted, since I stopped actively showing almost 10 years ago they have been infrequently worn, but when I did wear them it was 3-5 days a week. The leather is in great shape and I had zippers added up the back seam about 5 years ago and they did a great job.

My paddock boots are Dehners and they have worn like iron! These boots get worn nearly every day and I am on my 3rd pair in 15 years. I can't vouch for their dress boots, but I believe the workmanship would be the same.

I vote "NO" for Konigs - a bunch of us boarders gifted our trainer years ago with a pair (his choice) and they never fit him right. Sending them back for alteration didn't help.

Ashby
Jan. 3, 2008, 11:46 AM
I got my first pair of Dehners at 18 (which is some years ago now ;) ) and since then have had several pairs of Dehners, Vogels, and Petris for various purposes. Just some observations:

1. Vogels are exquisite, but part of the reason for that is that they tend to be made of thinner, finer leather than the other boots. Hence they do wear out more quickly.
2. I like my Petris and think they look attractive, but I just don't get the precision of movement with them. Not being custom, they don't fit as closely through the ankle as custom boots, and the thick, stiff, lined leather prevents the ankle from folding in closely and supportively there.
3. The best compromise situation I've found is to order Dehners fully lined for some stiffness, but without a plastic stiffener in the back. That way they can be worn comfortably to walk in, to hunt or do over-fences classes, and still have enough firmness to hold their shape and do dressage. Mine last for many years.
4. After lots of conversations with bootmakers in most of the big companies, they're in agreement that most custom boot-fitting dissatisfaction comes from customers who don't get themselves measured by a competent and experienced person (or worse, try to measure themselves) and/or change their shape after the measurement via changes in diet, exercise patterns, or choice of breeches and socks. For some women, we even have to be careful about what time of the month we are measured if we retain a lot of fluid--that can change the diameter of the calves and ankles significantly.