Time for me to buy a new pair of 1/2 chaps and not very happy to do so. I've only owned Tredsteps and Bevals Puissance 1/2 chaps (too expensive for me now!). Tredsteps have always been my go-to buy, but the snaps ALWAYS break it seems. I'm still not opposed to buying another pair though...Just curious what people love and seem to hold up well. I'm tough on my equipment and don't really take the best care of some things...
I have Ariat Monacos and I love love love them! I initially bought them because my Monaco tall boots broke (broken zipper) and I wanted to be able to substitute in a half chap if necessary at a show. They're much beefier and sturdier than the boots and I couldn't love them more. I'm on year 2 (? I think, maybe year 3?) of riding 3-4 horses a day in them and they're still in perfect condition. When they die I'll be buying another pair for sure. I like that they look like tall boots too, and have worn them for many clinics and shows in less-than-ideal weather.
In the past I've had Grand Prixes (always love them), Tredsteps (liked them), Lendes (super cheap off of TOTD and loved them), and several other versions of the Ariats. The Monacos leave them all in the dust. With that being said, breaking them in was similar to breaking in tall boots because the leather was stiffer and they required the "bathtub method" (well, really I soaked them with a hose a few times). I also bought them like I would a tall boot....super tight so that they would mold around my legs. I didn't go through that process with any other half chaps. In addition, they zip up the back bottom to top, which many people are not fans of.
I think everyone in our barn has the Ariat close-contact half chaps. I absolutely love mine- when I wore through my last pair (after years), I got a pair of tredsteps and hated them... as soon as the snap broke I went right back to the close contacts.
They aren't quite as pretty as PNW's monaco's, but everyone asks me if they are tall boots, and one of my barnmates actually shows in hers in the jumpers... with a pair of spurs, you can't tell they aren't tall boots.
The only downfall to them is they zip up the back bottom-to-top. My first pair was hard to get done up the first dozen times or so. This pair is much easier, and they still fit like a glove.
I used to be an Ariat girl, but lately their sizes don't line up with my calves--mostly too tall. Honestly, the longest-lasting pair was my suede Perri's that I got off Amazon for less than $50! Nicely-styled and good-fitting. They make leather ones too. I just got a pair of leather Ovations that fit like a glove. Not sure how long the zipper will last. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.
I have a pair of Grand Prix's that are now in serious need of re-stitching. They held up through years of abuse but now are essentially coming apart along the insides of each calf. However, it's entirely fixable, which is a good thing.
I love that they're soft and therefore super comfy, and they're really beautiful as well. However, do absolutely make sure that they fit TIGHT--mine just fit when I got them and stretched out enough that they fit loosely, which is a bummer.