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View Full Version : Ariat Monacos vs. Der Dau Contour Field Boot



FineAlready
May. 20, 2010, 11:07 AM
I'm in the market for new tall boots and I'm wondering if anyone out there would care to comment on the Ariat Monacos vs. the Der Dau Contour Field Boot (carried by SmartPak).

Specifically, I'm wondering about the following:

1. About how much drop can be expected with either boot?

2. How do they hold up?

3. General look, quality and feel of the boots.

4. Any thoughts on which is the better boot for the money.

5. Are the boots true to size in foot, circumference, and height measurements?

6. Thoughts on the silver charm things on the swagger tabs on both boots. Are they distracting in the saddle and/or are they removable without tons of damage to the boot?

I'm pretty particular about fit and appearance of tall boots. Money is not a huge factor here - I just want to get the best quality boots for the money. However, I would not take kindly to spending $900 on boots if they are not going to be up to snuff from an appearance/quality/longevity standpoint.

If necessary, I will get custom boots, but I would prefer not to because I feel like there are so many very nice non-custom options out there these days. I currently have custom Vogels, but they are sadly waaaay too snug in the calf at this point and they have already been stretched, modified, etc. past the point of no return.

I will be showing at locally-situated A and AA shows. Not going to Wellington or anything super fancy like that. I probably won't show more than, say, 5 times a year or so...and that might be ambitious from a time/money standpoint.

All thoughts appreciated! Thanks in advance.

FineAlready
May. 20, 2010, 01:23 PM
Should probably add that I am a hunter rider. May do a little bit of eq from time to time.

brightwhitestockings
May. 20, 2010, 01:41 PM
I recently got the Monacos-
I haven't had them very long- ive put about 5 rides in them at this point. They don't seem to take very long at all to break in, they are already feeling pretty good! They didn't drop very much at this point- maybe 1/3 of an inch? They probably will drop a bit more though but I'm not sure.
They seem to be very true to the sizing in the calf, although they look really slim. The elastic leather panel on the inside helps a LOT with comfort/zipping them up.
The silver thing on the swagger tab isnt distracting at all, I think it looks nice. It would probably be really hard to remove without ruining or having to replace the swagger tab.
Mine are pretty new so I can't say how they hold up, although I've heard nothing but good things about them.
Good Luck!

sansibar
May. 20, 2010, 01:50 PM
Advocate for Der Dau here :)

1. About how much drop can be expected with either boot?
They told me about 1-2 inches of a drop

2. How do they hold up?
Der Dau mine hold up amazing, ride in them every day, some times I forget to clean them and they still are amazing!

3. General look, quality and feel of the boots.
Quality is amazing, the leather is so think, but soft at the same time that not only will they hold up, but they are beautiful to touch :)

4. Any thoughts on which is the better boot for the money.
I know people who had monacos and well they had to replace them already in less than a year (and they were strictly show boots), and monacos will not hold up at all if you ride in them on a daily basis... So I would say Der Daus are better.

5. Are the boots true to size in foot, circumference, and height measurements?

6. Thoughts on the silver charm things on the swagger tabs on both boots. Are they distracting in the saddle and/or are they removable without tons of damage to the boot?
There not that big of a deal on the boots, most boots have them nowadays, although the only complaint I have for der daus is my little tab faded from gold to silver lol.

FineAlready
May. 21, 2010, 01:33 PM
Thanks for the input! Anyone else care to weigh in? I may end up just trying both, but I hate to order things knowing that I will have to ship at least one item back...

supaflyskye
May. 21, 2010, 01:44 PM
I just bought a pair of Der-Dau Contour field boots, and have not yet ridden in them; I do not have any experience w/ the Ariat Monacos.
However, I will say that I find the Der-Daus run large in the foot. While they seem to be extremely nice boots, I personally would reccomend ordering a 1/2 size down from your usual boot size.
Also, the shiny little charm on the swagger tabs unscrews easily, and although there is a very small hole left, you can hardly tell it was ever there. I like it, though.

FineAlready
May. 21, 2010, 01:48 PM
I just bought a pair of Der-Dau Contour field boots, and have not yet ridden in them; I do not have any experience w/ the Ariat Monacos.
However, I will say that I find the Der-Daus run large in the foot. While they seem to be extremely nice boots, I personally would reccomend ordering a 1/2 size down from your usual boot size.
Also, the shiny little charm on the swagger tabs unscrews easily, and although there is a very small hole left, you can hardly tell it was ever there. I like it, though.

Ooooh - thanks for that info. I am very intrigued by an unscrewable charm thingy. I could see wanting it sometimes and not wanting it at other times...

BeeHoney
May. 21, 2010, 03:10 PM
I'd be nervous to buy a pair of ariat boots costing $900...they look nice and all, but I've just heard of too many people having zipper problems with ariat boots. That would be fine in a cheaper schooling pair, but I'd be paranoid at a show. I have the DerDau Contours and love them. Smartpak customized the height for me. They said the drop would be less with the zippers, but I hate saggy, too short boots, so I overcompensated a little and they ended up perfect. The quality is excellent. The fit is also, although I would agree they run a little big in the foot. I ride all year and favor slightly thicker socks, so I stuck with my regular size. I love the way the calf is shaped on these boots, I consider them a really good buy, a lot of quality and style for the money.

FineAlready
May. 21, 2010, 04:04 PM
I'd be nervous to buy a pair of ariat boots costing $900...they look nice and all, but I've just heard of too many people having zipper problems with ariat boots. That would be fine in a cheaper schooling pair, but I'd be paranoid at a show. I have the DerDau Contours and love them. Smartpak customized the height for me. They said the drop would be less with the zippers, but I hate saggy, too short boots, so I overcompensated a little and they ended up perfect. The quality is excellent. The fit is also, although I would agree they run a little big in the foot. I ride all year and favor slightly thicker socks, so I stuck with my regular size. I love the way the calf is shaped on these boots, I consider them a really good buy, a lot of quality and style for the money.

I also hate, hate, hate saggy, too short boots. When you say you "overcompensated" and they turned out just right, how much did you add to your "floor to back of knee" measurement? Sitting in a chair with my knee bent at a 90 degree angle, I am 17 inches from floor to bend in knee. My Tredstep half chaps are 14/18 (so 18 inches in height) and they are just right. I don't think half chaps really drop much at all (certainly not as much as boots), so I was thinking that 19 inches for the boots would be a good bet. Thoughts?

BeeHoney
May. 22, 2010, 02:50 PM
Ok, FA, I went and checked. Can't find the receipt, but I re-did the measurements. I get in a real panic about tall boot purchases myself, so I sympathize with your conundrum :)

Here goes: my leg also measures about 17 inches from floor to back of knee. The Contour boots in my size came in a height of 19 1/2 inches. When I put that pair on, they seemed perfect "as is" however I was concerned that with drop they would no longer be perfect, so I sent those back and ordered a taller pair. I don't have the receipt handy, but when I measure my boots from bottom of heel to top of boot (measured at the back of the boot) my boots are 20 1/2 inches tall.

Now, mind you, when I first rode in them I thought I had made a mistake. I could not do the zipper all the way up or do the snap. But after a couple of rides (well, about four) they were perfect. Not comfortable for hiking around with the zipper all the way up, but perfect in the saddle with my heels down.

If you are in doubt, I would order the stock pair (which can be returned), have your trainer or another tackaholic check them out and then make a customized height order from there.

spmoonie
May. 22, 2010, 03:13 PM
I dont own either pair, however I have seen both in person. I personally would purchase the Der Dau's. The leather on the Monacos is just too soft, it will not hold up to much. The Der Daus have a soft, but sturdy feel and appearance to them.

Also, why not consider Sergio Grassos? They are around that price range.

KYHunterGirl
May. 22, 2010, 07:19 PM
I tried on ALL the brands of boots in a 6 month search and ended up buying Sergio Grassos. I LOVE them. They are so tall and fit just like customs because they come in so many calf/height/foot combos. Mine were $899.99. Broke in well in 3-4 rides. Good luck in your search!

Fun Size
May. 22, 2010, 11:19 PM
Why spend $900 when you can pick up a custom pair for about the same price? La Mundial is excellent, and you can get a totally customized pair for $630 (IF you can get ahold of them...but it IS possible!). Even the Sergios are the same price, and much better quality.

Ariat's stuff is made in China...I don't know, I just would rather buy a custom pair for the price :)

Jersey Fresh
May. 23, 2010, 08:52 AM
I have the der-daus. My only issue is that they have dropped a bit more than I like but it doesnt look that bad. As far as the height goes, I'm not sure how I could have gotten them taller even though they dropped-the zipper still hits right behind my knee and any taller, I wouldnt be able to zipper them or bend my knee.

I get a lot of compliments on them. I agree with who ever says they run a 1/2 size big in the foot-I actually got my normal size and had to send them back to DD to cut the foot down smaller. They took a bit to break in because they are fully lined (except for the ankle) but I find them very comfy now.
I would not spend $900 on ariats that thin and with all of the zipper problems thay have.

FineAlready
May. 23, 2010, 04:32 PM
Thank you all! And especially, thank you BeeHoney - that totally helps me out! I have considered the Sergios, but if I recall correctly, their sizing did not look like it would work for me at all. I'll have to revisit that...

I'm going to try on a friend's Monacos next weekend for sizing. She is the "same" size as me in that her boots are the right foot size, right calf size, and the tallest height available. I suspect they will be too short, as I tried on another friend's Crowne Pros last year that were the same size and those were darn near two inches too short! It helps to try them on when someone else has already broken them in - lets you assess the drop factor.

Unless the Monacos are a drop dead perfect fit, I think I'm going to do as BeeHoney suggested and order the stock pair of DerDaus with the idea that I can figure out the correct height by working off of that pair. I think I would prefer to the DerDaus anyway as I like a more substantial boot (I'm old school, lol). I suspect, as others have stated, that the Monacos will be too thin for my liking. That said, I'm such a hard fit (and also so picky about fit) that I'd spend $900 on boots made of tissue paper if they fit my leg properly!

I'll let you know how this turns out. Thanks so much everyone for the input - much appreciated!

FineAlready
Jan. 16, 2011, 10:46 AM
Heh, thought I'd update this thread, as I am now uniquely situated to comment on both boots.

I ended up getting the Monacos. Well, at least I TRIED to get the Monacos. The first pair was defective (the stretch leather panel and the inner leg panel were made of strange, weirdly crinkled leather). The boots did not match at all, and the stretch leather panels were completely different sizes. The left boot was great; the right boot was sort of like a slouchy legging. Luckily, I was working with a great tack shop. They agreed that that pair was defective, and sent them back. I received another defective pair of boots (which I refused to even take home from the store). They looked like I made them at home in my basement out of scraps of leather that I found laying around. The seams were completely uneven, and now the left boot was made of that defective, oddly crinkly leather. Being a glutton for punishment, I suppose, I told them they could have ONE more chance to get them right I never did receive that third pair of boots because after close to three weeks, Ariat STILL had not sent them. Eventually, an Ariat rep called me directly and told me that the head of quality control (or whatever his title is) was out of town and was going to personally inspect a pair when he got back. At that point, I just canceled my order...we were about two months into this mess by that time. The Ariat rep also told me that they were having labor problems in China. Um, SO not my problem. Perhaps they should move production out of China if it is such a problem? In any event, I ended that little struggle bootless and annoyed.

I just now did what I should have done to begin with, and ordered the stock pair of Der Dau Contours (now Contour II - with an elastic panel) and am going to place my order for a customized height this week. I am still sort of agonizing over how much to add to the stock height measurement. The stock height is 19, and they are pretty much perfect at that height without having dropped yet. I'm debating between 19 3/4 and 20 for the height. SmartPak says they drop 3/4, but I HATE boots that are too short, so I'm thinking of overcompensating a little bit.

Let me just say that if I had seen the Der Daus before I got the Monacos, there is no way I would have even CONSIDERED the Monacos. They are so cheaply made in comparison to the Der Daus. The Der Dau leather is FAR superior, and the attention to detail and quality is fantastic. The boots actually match, and the seams, etc. are very well done. The Der Daus really look like high quality custom boots. They are certainly comparable to my old custom Vogels when it comes to quality.

I hope that I love my actual customized-height boots when they arrive. If they quality is like that of the stock boots, I'm sure I won't be disappointed. Now...back to agonizing about which height to go with!

kelsey97
Jan. 16, 2011, 11:50 AM
I have Monacos, purchased them last spring. Most comfortable boots I've ever ridden in. They stretch out after a couple rides, maybe 1/4 inch...I struggled to get them zipped the 1st time now the zipper slides easily. They don't drop much. I found them to be very true to size. Sorry to hear of you problems?! Mine are really beautiful and fit like customs. Always best to try on things at the tack shop!

FineAlready
Jan. 16, 2011, 01:51 PM
I have Monacos, purchased them last spring. Most comfortable boots I've ever ridden in. They stretch out after a couple rides, maybe 1/4 inch...I struggled to get them zipped the 1st time now the zipper slides easily. They don't drop much. I found them to be very true to size. Sorry to hear of you problems?! Mine are really beautiful and fit like customs. Always best to try on things at the tack shop!

Actually, this does not entirely surprise me. According to the Ariat rep, Ariat changed the leather on the Monacos fairly recently. They say that it is an "improvement" to prevent the leather from wearing out so quickly, which had been a problem with the Monacos. I've seen the older Monacos, and they are FAR nicer than the more recent ones that I purchased. I did, in fact, try the in-store Monacos (older version), and then had them order my size. I did not know at the time that they had changed the leather. When the boots arrived, they looked nothing like the boots I had tried on. The quality of the older style was far superior to the quality of the "new and improved" boots.

Just my two cents for anyone else who is considering boots.

PNWjumper
Jan. 16, 2011, 04:54 PM
Do you have any old boots you can compare heights on? In general I've found that the zipper boots don't drop as much as pull-on boots, but they do definitely still drop. I ordered a pair of Sergios a few years ago from Caval Europe and the tack shop suggested adding 3/4". I added 2" (or something to that effect) to the suggestion (bearing in mind that he was European and possibly not familiar with the American version of "too-tall-boot-itis") and my Sergios ended up too short. I just had a cap added to them to compensate for it and now I like them again. If they'd had a taller spanish cut they probably would have been fine. But again, bear in mind that the height he recommended based off of my measurements would have been far too short from day one, and the measurement I ended up with was maybe 1/2-3/4" taller than what my leg actually measured. If I were to order them again I'd go with 1"-1 1/2" taller than my measurement.

I got a pair of Monacos last year and they are by far my favorite boots (I like them a lot more than my Vogels or Sergios), but I've already had to have the zippers replaced, and naturally they popped at a horseshow about 10 minutes before a big class. But leather quality and workmanship is beautiful (but then they are the older version of the boots) and the break-in time was incredibly short. My point in mentioning my Monacos, though, is that they were way too tall when I first put them on.....like too tall at the back of the knee by a good inch or so. Through the breaking in process they dropped to exactly the right point with a little more wrinkling at the ankle your average tall zipper boot. My lesson out of that (between the sergio and monaco) is that it's hard to go wrong with a boot that's too tall, but too short is a really easy error to make.

Good luck with yours and I hope you find the perfect height! (and then post it to help the rest of us who still haven't figured it out!) :)

WestyFourSocks
Jan. 16, 2011, 05:59 PM
I just went through this same situation. I was actually debating getting custom boots(happened to be Der Daus) and the Monacos. I have always been a fan of Ariat boots and literally have ridden in nothing else. Even my first pair of boots as a 4 year old were Ariats. I even used to wear Ariat half chaps until I got custom ones.

I ride mostly in the Eq ring and like to have all of my show outfit to fit very tailored. When I was looking into my most recent pair of tall boots I wanted them to fit the same, specifically to be very clean in the ankle. When I was going through the ordering process with the help of my local tack shop who have ordered many Der Dau boots and they said that the customs will hold up longer but they will not be as clean of a fit.

For all the Der Daus I have seen, they truely are not as much of a "glove-like" fit as the Monacos. As for the zipper problem, it happens when people walk around with the boots on and without them zipped all the way up and snapped, causing additional stress on the zipper that the zipper is not intended to hold up to. I have also seen a few people that have burst through their Monacos. It just has to do with how the rider places their leg. I have had mine for about a year and have had zero problems with the boots and I use them for schooling frequently, especially now and I have to say that I generally only clean them before a show.

If you are looking for a boot that will hold up for years then you might want to go with the Der Daus, they are known for being long lasting but I know that most tack shops have replaced Monacos that have burst open. Also, the break in time for my Monacos was about 3-4 rides which won't happen in most other boots.

It all depends on your preferance, I just like the clean fit of the Monacos. I don't find the silver distracting, I actually like the accent. The link/picture in my signature Im wearing Monacos.

FineAlready
Jan. 16, 2011, 07:36 PM
Do you have any old boots you can compare heights on? In general I've found that the zipper boots don't drop as much as pull-on boots, but they do definitely still drop. I ordered a pair of Sergios a few years ago from Caval Europe and the tack shop suggested adding 3/4". I added 2" (or something to that effect) to the suggestion (bearing in mind that he was European and possibly not familiar with the American version of "too-tall-boot-itis") and my Sergios ended up too short. I just had a cap added to them to compensate for it and now I like them again. If they'd had a taller spanish cut they probably would have been fine. But again, bear in mind that the height he recommended based off of my measurements would have been far too short from day one, and the measurement I ended up with was maybe 1/2-3/4" taller than what my leg actually measured. If I were to order them again I'd go with 1"-1 1/2" taller than my measurement.

I got a pair of Monacos last year and they are by far my favorite boots (I like them a lot more than my Vogels or Sergios), but I've already had to have the zippers replaced, and naturally they popped at a horseshow about 10 minutes before a big class. But leather quality and workmanship is beautiful (but then they are the older version of the boots) and the break-in time was incredibly short. My point in mentioning my Monacos, though, is that they were way too tall when I first put them on.....like too tall at the back of the knee by a good inch or so. Through the breaking in process they dropped to exactly the right point with a little more wrinkling at the ankle your average tall zipper boot. My lesson out of that (between the sergio and monaco) is that it's hard to go wrong with a boot that's too tall, but too short is a really easy error to make.

Good luck with yours and I hope you find the perfect height! (and then post it to help the rest of us who still haven't figured it out!) :)

Thanks! Yes, I do have a pair of old custom Vogels, and I did compare the heights this morning. They measure exactly the same as the stock Der Daus right now...of course the Vogels are very broken in and dropped and don't have zippers and the Der Daus are obviously not broken in at all and do have zippers...so...now I'm wishing I knew how tall the Vogels were before they dropped, lol. You should have seen me trying to sort of "measure" the folds in the Vogels to see how much height was lost in the drop. Pretty funny. My husband was watching me and shaking his head the whole time.

I do agree that you can't go wrong with too tall (well, within reason), so I'll probably add an inch to the stock height. Now I'm almost wondering if I should add more than an inch. Ahhhh! I'm going to have to order these suckers eventually, as I actually do need something to show in this Spring.

PS, and kind of off topic (but I can do that, I suppose, since it is my thread to begin with)...do all of you folks have serious permanent scarring behind your knees from breaking in tall boots? I sure do. The backs of my knees really sort of always look bruised, even though they are not. I just have dark calloused scars back there. Anyway, it came up this morning during the tall boot measuring fiasco. When it was all over, I was walking around the house in shorts, and my husband gasped and asked me if I was bruised from trying on the tall boots. I gave him a puzzled look, checked out the backs of my knees, and then told him "Nope, that's from breaking in/riding in tall boots ever since I was 11 or so." I'm 30 now. Anyway, I thought it was kind of funny because I never think about it, but I bet a lot of people wonder what the heck is wrong with me when I am out and about in the summer, lol!

WestyFourSocks
Jan. 16, 2011, 07:53 PM
PS, and kind of off topic (but I can do that, I suppose, since it is my thread to begin with)...do all of you folks have serious permanent scarring behind your knees from breaking in tall boots? I sure do. The backs of my knees really sort of always look bruised, even though they are not. I just have dark calloused scars back there. Anyway, it came up this morning during the tall boot measuring fiasco. When it was all over, I was walking around the house in shorts, and my husband gasped and asked me if I was bruised from trying on the tall boots. I gave him a puzzled look, checked out the backs of my knees, and then told him "Nope, that's from breaking in/riding in tall boots ever since I was 11 or so." I'm 30 now. Anyway, I thought it was kind of funny because I never think about it, but I bet a lot of people wonder what the heck is wrong with me when I am out and about in the summer, lol!

I actually do too! I have permanent bumps on the muscle on the inside of the back of my knees.

PNWjumper
Jan. 16, 2011, 08:29 PM
As for the zipper problem, it happens when people walk around with the boots on and without them zipped all the way up and snapped, causing additional stress on the zipper that the zipper is not intended to hold up to. I have also seen a few people that have burst through their Monacos. It just has to do with how the rider places their leg. I have had mine for about a year and have had zero problems with the boots and I use them for schooling frequently, especially now and I have to say that I generally only clean them before a show.

I rode in mine for a year with zero problems. I have never walked around with the zippers undone partway and I don't do anything "odd" with my leg (as evidenced by my Vogel and Sergio Grassos never having issues). And the zipper popped at the ankle, not at a tight point.

The old Monaco zippers were literally dress zippers. I have seen beefier zippers in clothing, and from the day I got them I wondered how in the world they would hold up for more than one ride. When I called Ariat to have mine fixed (which they did quickly and free of charge) they said they were replacing every pair that came back in with beefier zippers. And indeed when they came back they had zippers that looked much more like my Sergios. I would be curious to know if they started making the newer Monacos with more "realistic" zippers.

To the OP--if your Vogels fit you well after the drop, then do your best to straighten them out (maybe have your husband stretch them while you measure) then order the same height. I wouldn't go taller than your Vogels unless they ended up too short. I will mention that my custom Vogels (with zippers) dropped about as much as my older boots without zippers. I don't know if it's a fit/brand sort of thing, but if you have a pair of boots that dropped to a good height you have a good reference.

Interesting about the backs of peoples' knees. I haven't ever had a problem with bruising at the back of mine. I always do the bathtub trick and maybe that's helped make softer boots faster??? Or maybe I've just been lucky? Or there's always the possibility that I'm just not intimately acquainted with the backs of my knees and they look just like yours... :lol: