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Ariat field boots. Opinions, differences, etc?

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  • Ariat field boots. Opinions, differences, etc?

    So I finally had my old fake leather Devon Aire tall boots bite the dust. They've put in a good run actually! I found some pretty good deals on a website on Ariat Heritage II field boots ($160) and was wondering if anyone has personal experience with them.

    Some background- I am a broke college student, and I ride in my Ariat half chaps, paddock boots, and jeans daily, on about 2 different horses a day. I really only need some decent looking, fairly comfortable field boots because I show training level eventing, and do 3'3" jumpers. Therefore, I was looking at the less expensive Ariats.

    I got to researching though, and is there a HUGE difference between the Ariat Heritage II, and the Ariat Heritage Selects? Is it worth the extra $150 bucks to skip the Heritage and buy the Challenges? If so, what's the difference between the Challenge II and the regular Challenges?

    Any other suggestions to offer? I know I would love to just buy some used customs, but I think I would rather buy new so I can do the whole water trick and let them fit custom to my leg. Plus, it's a lot easier if something breaks to try to get Ariat to replace them, rather than buying it privately.

    Thanks for any help!

  • #2
    I have owned heritages and they dropped a LOT on me, but maybe that's just me.

    The challenges are nice boots- the pull ons are significantly cheaper and there are usually sales/coupons for them around for Dover, etc. I just recently got the zip Challenges (my first zip upboots ever!) and am pleased with the quality, IMO a big step up from the Heritage boots.


    • #3
      I know there are a lot of people that will tell you that Ariat has gone to S***, but I've been pleased with everything I have from them, so far.. I love my Ariat paddock boots (4 years old and still looking great), and I bought a pair of Ariat Challenge II field boots back in october, days before our first IHSA show, when my other pair of field boots (not ariat) broke.

      So far, the boots have held up wonderfully, and I can't say I'm particularly kind to them (walking 1-2 miles a day on gravel/dust roads in them, and using them to muck stalls in bathe horses). They broke in SO easily, I wore them everywhere around campus for 4 days straight, and never got a single blister. Coach and other trainers were pleased with them. In a lot of reviews, people complained about the zippers, which made me cautious when buying them, but so far, no problems whatsoever. I'm not sure of the difference btwn the Challenge and the CHallenge II's, but I have the latter.

      Personally, I would spare the money for Challenge vs Heritage, b/c a friend of mine who bought a pair of heritage was not nearly as pleased. She says that after 2 years they still have not broken in completely, they are uncomfortable, the zipper has broken twice, and she always has blisters. I've heard of similar experiences from other heritage owners.

      ***ETA -- The only problem I have with the Challenge's is that they don't polish up as nicely as my old pair (they don't become as shiny .. ) But I have noticed an improvement as I polish them more and more


      • #4
        I have had 2 pairs of Heritage II's. I use them for everyday boots. I have a 15 year old pair of Vogels that I am trying to make last for the rest of my life (unfortunately, it isn't looking good), because I'll never be able to replace them, that I show in. The Heritage II boots themselves have held up well, but I have had problems with the zippers. I broke the zipper twice on the first pair. The first time, Ariat replaced it for free, no questions asked. Even paid shipping, both ways. The boots were just over a year old. The second was about a year later. Not sure if it was the same boot or not. I didn't contact Ariat, because I didn't think they would do it on a boot that was 2 years old. I just bought a new pair. I just recently broke the zipper pull on one of those. Have the high fashion paper clip look going on with that! I find them comfortable, although they did take some breaking in. Until they broke in, I only wore them for riding. I'd put them on just before and take them off immediately afterwards. Now, I wear them all the time. One thing I don't like is that the extra wide calf doesn't come in extra tall. I need both of those things. They did seem VERY tall when I got them, but I agree that they broke down a lot and now are about an inch shorter than I'd like or I'd be perfectly happy to show in them. I still would, if I needed to, I just like that my Vogels come right up to the "notch" in my knee cap. Of course, they fit my foot and ankle fabulously, like no stock boot ever could, but I think the Ariats fit fine, other than being a bit short for my very long (but fat) legs. If you are budget conscious, then I would say they would be a good choice, but be aware of the zipper breaking issues. The leather, which isn't as beautiful as the French baby calf of my Vogels, sure is a lot more durable.


        • #5
          I'd keep looking on eBay to see if you can find a pair of better quality boots at the same price. I got a pair of the Italian made Crown Pros for less than the cost of the Heritages. They were hardly used and after I did the bathtub method twice they now fit me like they were custom made. After everything I have heard about Ariat's lack of quality control and customer service I will be very hesitant to purchase anything from them in the future. The new made in China stuff just doesn't hold up as well as the Ariats used to. You might want to take a look at Mountain Horse or Grand Prix, I've heard great things about both of their boots.


          • #6
            Ariat and me, we have a loooooooooot of history. Starting with my paddock boots that ripped down the side (how did that happen?!) and my black half chaps that turned green after I used glycerine on them (again, how?!).

            Yet I've had the same pair of tall boots since I was 13 (~4 years) and yeah, the leather wasn't supreme nor buttery soft (I think my boots are "crowne" or maybe challenges, they were around the $400 price range) but they fit and cleaned up nice enough to do the job. The leather actually held up better than my friend's suuuuper chic DerDau customs--they had holes in the calf and rubs after like a year (I think she rode two horses a day, three times a week). The zippers, on the other hand (if you are not planning on getting zip boots, ignore me!) are pure crap. So save yourself some drama, if you end up getting Ariats, just put in new zippers (my cobbler did it for me for $25/boot) and you'll be happy as a clam.

            Now I ride in these boots every day, several horses and I couldn't be happier. Though my trainer is making me save up for new boots because the 13 year old version of myself had waaay shorter legs.


            • #7
              I have the Challenge (I think the Challenge II might have more of a Spanish cut top? Not positive though) anyway, I LOVE my boots. They're super comfy, have held up well and look really nice.
              Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
              If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever


              • #8
                I have the Challenge IIs. I think that they have a slightly higher Spanish cut top and perhaps a more tapered ankle? Not sure. Either way, I looooove them. I had a bit of a difficult break-in period with them, but they were the first pair of tall boots I'd broken in (bought my first 2 pairs used) so there was a learning curve. Hey, the blisters and sores healed in a couple weeks, so it was all good. I still get blisters from them on my left heel when I wear the silky type of boot socks, but they are slightly too big so I blame it more on that than the boots themselves. They are VERY comfortable now they're broken in, and I could easily wear them all day. Coming from my old field boots, which were much older-style with a footbed made out of concrete (or so it seemed...) they are like walking on little pillows!

                The only issue I've had with mine is that they bleed color like nothing else... I'm not sure why. Always have nice very, very black marks on my saddle pads when I wear them. Haven't put many coats of polish on, and used the same type of polish on my old field boots which never leaked, so who knows... As problems go, it's not such a big deal. It bleaches out of the pads eventually!


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks so much for the advice so far everyone!

                  Hmm... I may have to look into the Challenges instead. Seems like more people have had those and can recommend them.

                  Thanks again!


                  • #10
                    I have a pair of challenges that I've owned for about 4 years now and I like them. I did get an amazing fit with them - people often ask if they are custom. I also ride in my boots regularly - 3-4 days/week.

                    They did drop a lot - the salesperson recommended that I buy the "Tall" height and I am 5'1! They are now perfect.

                    Mine are the pull-ons. Personally, I just have bad luck with zippers and I feel like I get longer life from boots without zippers. My recommendation is that you try to get pull-ons so you don't have to replace the zippers down the road!
                    My blog: Journeys in Riding


                    • #11
                      One difference between the Heritage and the Challenge II is that the Challenge II are fully lined. While this makes for a little harder break in process, they should hold up longer.

                      I have a pair of older Heritage (Italy), which I no longer wear that are virtually indestructable. A friend bought the new zip Heritage for a daily boot and while they are doing okay, the leather is much thinner and they have dropped quite a bit.

                      One of the employees at the barn had a pair of the original zip Challenges and they withstood some serious abuse from her. Five to six horses a day; baths; etc. The zippers broke once and Ariat sent her a new pair of boots - no questions asked. They did drop a lot though and while they are still usable, she finally replaced them after three years because they were too short.


                      • #12
                        If you're on a budget, you should definitely take your time and do some bargain shopping. I just got my daughter a pair of the Challenge zip ups on sale for $200. They are pretty nice and have broken in well. Definitely not quite as tapered and sharp looking as some of the higher end boots, though. On the other hand, a few years ago, I found myself a pair of the Beval Puissance zip up boots on ebay for $250 (about 5x as nice for almost the same price). And I'm a size 9, so is wasn't just a closeout on weird sizes. There are deals to be had....Never pay retail!


                        • #13
                          Ordered a pair of the Challenge II's for one of the kiddos recently and promptly sent them back. The leather is crap. Instead, I am waiting on a pair of Treadstone Italian calf field boots (for under $400). Got good reviews here and within my budget for a growing child who has gone through two pairs of boots a year for the past two years .
                          Ridge Farm Inc.-full care retirement


                          • #14
                            I will add to this the mantra I always add. If you're going to buy something like a boot with a zipper (something that is prone to break no matter who makes them) get them from a place with an excellent return policy, NOT the cheapest place you can find online. Dover takes back boots with broken zippers all the time--it's well worth spending the extra $20 bucks to make sure that someone will be nice to you when the zipper busts


                            • #15
                              I have a pair of Ariat Challenges.. I HATE THEM! I wore them probably 10x and bought a new pair. I got the Treadstone boots instead.