I was talking with Kate over at Party Down! the other night about the topic of tall boots has been forbidden in my house. My husband is a patient listener of all things horse, but what I like to call the ‘great tall boot dilemma’ has been going on now for a year and he finally said enough is enough.
Which means I am now turning to you, loyal readers, for advice. You’re welcome.
The Problem… Wide Calves, High Expectations, and Low Budget
My legs are large, there’s no way around it. When I was in quite decent shape and a size I was pretty damn happy with, I still took a wide boot in Ariat pull ons (this was before zippers were the shit). Now that I’m at a size that I’m not happy with, I need an extra wide. Also, not all extra wides are created equal… my calves measure around 17.5″ give or take and there is hardly anyone that makes a boot for this size. Fun times.
Tall Boot #1 – Craptastic and Big
First I purchased the Camden Zip Back Field Boot by Devon-Aire from Dover. At this point, I still thought you could buy a decent boot for under $200 (because that’s what my Ariat Heritage pull ons cost) so the price was right to me… and they were awful. They were HUGE. I mean, I measured for close to an 18″ calf at this point and I could put these boots on over regular jeans. Not skinny jeans, regular jeans. Also, after 3 months of 3-5 day a week use they fell apart in every way. Zipper pulls broke. Elastic gusset started pulling away from the leather. Elastic panel stitching broke off. Just awful. Thankfully, Dover let me return then with no questions asked. So excellent Dover customer service experience, god awful tall boots.
Tall Boot #2 – Stylish but Zipper Failure
Next I tried the Ovation Extra Wide Field Boot (since has been discontinued), and was lucky to find it on closeout at Equestrian Collections for a mere $150. This was a great boot. While the Camden boot fit like a block all the way down, the Ovation boot fitted my skinny ankles perfectly. The draw back you ask? Well they were a 17″ which I could get into, but not without some strife and problems. Also, the zipper failed the way tall boot zippers do. At first the zipper separated, and I had to pay a cobbler $40 to fix that… no big deal. But then the other boot the zipper failed completely and won’t stay zipped up at all. I’ve been quoted $150 to replace it (whaaaaaaaaaaat?) and since they were tight to begin with I’m hesitant to do so.
The Tall Boot I Covet…
The new Ariat Heritage Contour Field Boot has an elastic gusset all the way down the side for flexibility and comes in an XX Wide. Perfect! The draw back? They won’t have this size until later this summer, and SmartPak claims they won’t carry it at all (which is a really stupid move for a company that claims to have an excellent plus size rider collection… but I digress).
I’ve pretty much decided to wait for this Ariat boot, because the price is right and I adore Ariat boots… but what do I do for the show in April? Is it better to show with a busted field boot held apart with duct tape, or clean and well fitted black half chaps and paddock boots?
What say you bloggers… I need help!