Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dress Boots?

I'll be honest.  I have never liked dress boots.  As a kid I thought they looked dorky, and before all the fancy zippers and spanish tops and whatnot, they looked even clunkier and uglier than their field boot counterparts.

More recently, I've come around a bit.  I'm not sure if it's because (thanks to the zippers and spanish tops..) many dress boots have a sleeker, more refined look to them, or if it's because I spend more time around some serious DQ's than Pony Club brats. 

Regardless, my sturdy, trusty, old-as-dirt Effingham field boots are nearing their last leg.  I've had them patched, resoled and restitched more times than I can count, and even though they've had a majority of the summer off from any serious riding, I'd rather get a replacement before they disintegrate on me at an unfortunate time.

I do have to give them plenty of credit, as I've had them since 1997 (maybe 1996?) and they've handled the burden of being my everyday riding boot (and barn shoe) as well has polishing up for shows.  They've seen me through dressage rallies, horse trials, some derby days, every random IHSA hunter show I ever had the pleasure of competing in... and most recently every ride on Miss P.

Now that I think about it, since I was still showing Star-the-wonder-pony in dressage when I got them, I guess I can actually say that these boots have been on every horse I've ever owned, shown, or worked with significantly..  wow. 

So, the hunt begins.  My 5'11" frame with extra long, extra super skinny calves (seriously, they look ridiculous) makes for a hard fit.  One particularly observant friend once likened me to a "block of cheese."  Meaning that I look like a big solid chunk with toothpicks sticking out.  While not the most flattering description I could hope for, it's alarmingly accurate.

Ariat's extra tall, slim calf boots fit me pretty well, sometimes they need to be taken in just a touch, and as long as they have a high cut top, they appear to fit well, but I could still hope for an extra inch if they drop much at all after breaking in.
 Pluses seem to be that a) they are affordable, b) they will look decent and c) they feel more like a field boot in terms of a soft ankle. 

BO has been telling me that I need a stiffer boot and more "ankle support," which I totally believe, but I've never had, so it's difficult for me to know whether I'd like it or not...

The other seemingly good choice is Petrie.  They have a mid range boot that is shaped nicely, but still maintains a nice stiff calf and ankle.  Several ladies at our barn ride in the Anky model, and one girl just purchased the Olympic (which is what I'm considering), and they all seem to like them.
 "only" $599... lol

Pros for the Petrie include a) with their endless sizing combos, they have a good height/width option for me, b) they have nice lines but manage to look more classically "dressage-y" and c) they don't break the bank for a slightly-closer-to-custom fit.  I've never ridden in any Petrie boots, so I have no basis for comparison, but I've yet to hear a bad review?

I've been toying with the idea of going for broke and just getting Konig's, but I think I'm going to be "reasonable" and save the extra $$ for some unforeseen must have? I think?

Any thoughts? what do you guys ride in? love? hate? dream boots?

There's a part of me that loves the idea of brown.. and considering the fact that I won't be showing much in the near future (and especially not at a high enough level to need "traditional attire") I could totally get some rad brown boots for every day and fake it in my field boots at shows....

These make me feel super classy...
I could be convinced of parting with a few extra $$ if I got to look THAT COOL afterwards. :)

If you saw the ridiculous shoes I wear in my non-horsey life, and sometimes when I'm too lazy to change into my horsey shoes... you'd probably understand that my love for footwear runs much deeper than *just* my riding boots.

It's my cross to bear...


  1. Have you looked at the WISE boots? Swoon-worthy to say the least. Last year I bought a pair of knee high Ariat casual boots in brown...ahem, they were a size and a half too small (but too good of a deal to pass up) so I had them stretched by a cobbler. And oh, are they lovely.

  2. Carie..I am super long legged, and the Mountain Horse field boots are actually tall enough for me...and they zip, are already broken in, and are classy enough to blend in at dressage shows:)


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