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Transitioning from Paddock Boots to Western Boots

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    Transitioning from Paddock Boots to Western Boots

    I changed from hunters to western several years ago but kept wearing my paddock boots. It is time to replace my current pair so I am looking for options. I always wore Ariats in the past. I need a boot that is comfortable for riding and working around barn or horse shows. I walk a lot at shows helping with set up and managing so I want something that supports my foot. I am open to another paddock type boot. I don't generally like western boots because they look so much more 'clunky' than paddock boots.

    I prefer American made but I am open to other options.

    Any suggestions?

    Ariat makes some trim little Western boots that aren't much bulkier than paddock boots and come in color combinations. If they have Ariat footbeds they should be comfortable to walk in!

    Real old school cowboy boots are not meant for barn work or even walking. Especially the really beautiful ones. They are get on and ride boots, like $1000 stiff backed custom dressage dress boots.


      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
      Ariat makes some trim little Western boots that aren't much bulkier than paddock boots and come in color combinations. If they have Ariat footbeds they should be comfortable to walk in!

      Real old school cowboy boots are not meant for barn work or even walking. Especially the really beautiful ones. They are get on and ride boots, like $1000 stiff backed custom dressage dress boots.

      I would second this. Get the lower heels for walking, a second pair for riding western. Like wearing dressy heels to work, standing in heels all day, that downward foot pressure on front of foot can cause problems like hammertoe, bunions and others. You are not made to carry all your weight on the front half of your foot when walking.

      Western riding boots with the higher heels are made for riding with heel to prevent foot going thru the stirrup, hanging up, maybe getting dragged. They rode broncs, never knew what might set the horse off, where you shoved your foot "home" in the stirrup and hoped to stay on! Old time cowboys did not do a lot iof walking, they rode everywhere. While most are not riding broncs these days, the higher heel still prevents a boot sliding forward in a stirrup, even if you lift your heel during a "situation". Out west, ranch folks can read a person by their clothes. High heels mean you are mostly a rider, and depending on those style of boots, wearing spurs, or not, they know what kind of a rider or hand you "claim" to be. Your hat style also adds information, where you are from, what you do as a rider. I found it quite fascinating to learn this.

      Modern western folks do a lot more walking and needed boots with lower heels, which are easily found these days. They still wanted the easy pull-on abulity, ankle protection of a boot, over work shoes. However they seldom take the time to change into boots with the taller heels to ride these days. I consider riding western in low heels to be dangerous! Stirrups are easily wide enough to allow a foot to go entirely thru on wet stirrups, greasy soled boots.

      So I would suggest purchasing 2 pair of boots, one pair of the low heels or paddock boots, and one pair with the higher (safer) heels for riding and showing.


        I have changed to western too, but still prefer my breeches and paddock boots. I like the brown lace up Ariat paddock boots with the little fringe -- they are westerny. But my new favorite is the Blundstone with the higher heel (not the original clunky Blundstone). They are pull on, and some say getting them on it tough, but I don't find it difficult, I hold the heel tab to pull them on, but otherwise that is it. SUPER comfortable. I wear them everyday, and wash horse, muck and ride in them. I have had them a year and just develped a slight crack when my foot bends. Might be my bad because I never conditioned them. Now I put mink oil on them and hope the crack doesn't get bigger


          The Western Ariat Terrains H2O are awesome. So comfortable and soft! I wear my tall boots when I ride, but my Western boots are my feeding, mucking stalls, and other barn work boots. Highly recommend for a daily wear boot! They have a tennis shoe foot and were comfy from day 1.

          If you show you will probably also want some lace up ropers that look smooth under chaps.


            I always liked Justin Lacers when I rode western. In fact, I just hauled mine out of the back of the closet this morning because I don't have any paddock boots to wear with my half chaps at the moment. If you get a leather-bottomed western boot, I'd recommend taking them to a cobbler right away and having a thin rubber sole glued on for protection and better traction.


              If you are showing stock bred horses, please do not get a "higher heel". You will pay a premium for American made boots, but lots of options for boots made in North America. Look up LaGrange, Anderson Bean, Boulet, Rio of Mercedes, and Luchesse. If you buy a higher end boot you will be able to have it resoled multiple times. I generally get three sets of soles out of a pair of boots. Leather soles are still the go to now that crepes have died (finally). It does take time to break in a pair of boots, which is why I like to have mine resoled.

              Many of the old brands who were good are now made overseas and the quality has fallen greatly. Cheap leathers and bad fits. I used to LOVE justins, but won't touch a pair with a ten foot pole.


                Farmergirl is 100% right about not getting a higher heel boot if you're showing stock bred horses. I show paints and have never even seen a pointy toe, let alone a higher heel. Square toes and low heels are the norm. I bought a pair of Luchesse boots with crepe soles to wear when I'm trail riding, and they're so comfortable. I'd forgotten how much I liked a crepe sole. They fell out of favor years ago among the show crowd, but for every day they are great.


                  I fell into these western paddock boots by chance several years ago, and just bought my second pair.


                    I second the Ariat Terrain H2O. They are comfortable for all day wearing and tough enough for barn work.