After a SUPER helpful phone call to Smartpak Customer Service (LOVE THEM!) we decided to give the Tredsteps another shot. This time around I went up half a size, got a smaller calf and got Longs. Well...TA-DA! They are gorgeous! I am SO excited to try them out on Friday! Breaking them in is going to be slightly painful, but I am looking forward to it! The hard part is getting used to the rounded toe! My current boots are so old they toes aren't rounded. Now, they're not pointy, but there is a definite difference.
Moral of the story? Smartpak rules!
So continues the Quest for Field Boots.
I tried the Donatellos...and didn't like them at all. The leather was nice, but they were not comfortable on my feet, and the calves were really awkard.
I got my first-choice boots, the Mtn Horse Richmonds, and couldn't even get the damn things zipped, even though I ordered the size suggested by the Smartpak customer service rep who had my measurements. Both boots were too short. I'm still not able to spend a fortune on boots...$350 is my budget, and I'd really prefer to order through SP, even though my options are shrinking.
I've been to Mary's, and their selection within my budget is VERY small. I've looked at Dover, but paying for shipping both ways is going to stink if I keep finding boots that don't freakin' fit!!
So. As much as I'd like to avoid Ariats, they seem to be one of my few options left. Anyone buy a pair recently that can comment on how they've held up?
Last edited by runNjump86; Apr. 18, 2013 at 02:58 AM.
I really like my Dublin Aristocrats. I have the dress version, but mine have held up well for 3 years now and I bought them gently used. I abuse them in every day use, foxhunting, trail riding, mucking, driving in them, etc. They've held up well and clean up perfectly fine to show in or formal days hunting.
I think Aristocrat got replaced with a new model, but I love Dublin's boots. They're under $200 so it won't hurt my feelings at all to replace them when I finally do kill them.
Ariats are popular for a reason! Not sure why you're avoiding them. They are not bad boots, my legs don't match due to an injury so I had to go custom (poor me! more like poor wallet!) but my sister rode in a pair of basic Ariats for several years on a daily basis. She did have to have the zippers worked on a few times, but I haven't found a pair of zip-up boots that are immune to a broken zipper!
I agree, I love my ariats. Had my last pair for a couple of years and I completely trashed them. Never cleaned them but maybe once, they were just my everyday boots. Funny enough the zipper never actually broke (though I'm sure I was just lucky) I just bought a pair of the new heritage boot, ariat has redone it and now it is super soft with a custom fit for under $300! I only show in these so I can't tell you much about wear but they are gorgeous.
I have the cheap pull-on Ariats (like, <$200). They are soft, required no break-in, and I've ridden in them a lot (sometimes daily when I go through a phase of professionalism ). Had 'em for like 10 years. They look great and I love them. I will be getting another pair if they ever die.
I do like my Donatello's but now they're too big in the calf due to some weight loss. Which, I'm not sure is a complaint That and they never really dropped much.
I'm going to be looking a bit soon and am in the same budget as you. Look at Ovation as well as Ariat. I had a pair by Ovation that wasn't bad at all for the price and I found the fit to be nice. I can't remember if Smartpak carries them, but there are other tack websites out there that aren't bad to deal with such as VTO Saddlery, and they have a good selection of equestrian apparel.
ETA: Rick's (saddlesource.com) has a selection of tall boots and I believe still has free shipping over $75.00 I've dealt with them for saddles before and they were great to work with for that. Worth a try. You may find that many tack stores have free shipping above $50-75.00 Obviously it's not free both ways like Smartpak, but free one way is better than paying both ways if you need to branch out.
I would personally stay away from the new Ariats, I'm looking to replace the ones I purchased 2 years ago - weight loss and they are just so uncomfortable! I end my ride in pain because the ankle just digs in and is stiff, unlike my previous pair.
Sorry I can't make any recommendations aside from keep looking!
Darn, I'm sad to hear the new ones suck. My 5 year old Ariats are still going strong, have put up with a lot of abuse and almost no care, and haven't had any issues- not even zipper issues that are supposedly common.
i have a pair of older ariats i still have over 12 yrs. they are awesome. the newer ones are crap. i have a pair still in the box i bought as a back up pair. never worn would sell. field boots. pull ons.
OMG! I wish I had known about those!!! I really like Ovation products. And yes, that is exactly why I'm staying away from the new Ariats...I've heard nothing but negatives. A friend just purchased the Challengers, so I'm interested to see how they hold up. For $400 they better last!
I have to give yet another shout-out to Smartpak...I called their customer service today, and spent fifteen minutes trying to find a pair of boots. Of all things, I'm going to try the Donatellos again, but in a different size! Fingers crossed. If they don't work, I'm going with the Ovations. I feel like such a dummy...I looked for HOURS last night, and never even got close to VTO. Duh.