Tall Boot Dilhemma

Tall Boot Dilhemma

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.

Camden Back Zip Field Boot

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.

Ovation Wide Field Boot

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.

Ariat Heritage Contour

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!

33 thoughts on “Tall Boot Dilhemma

  1. My boots busted at a show last year and we couldn’t find duct tape and I had to just ride with a loose boot, it was embarrassing but we still did well (Jumpers). I’d say either option is fine just make sure you bring your own duct tape!

    La Mundial makes really super nice custom boots at $600-$700. I know its still a lot but CHEAP when it comes to custom boots.

    1. Actually that’s not bad at all for custom boots. I have been telling myself that I will get custom when I get down to a healthy and happy weight for me.

  2. I don’t know anything about those new Ariats, but if they are anything like the quality Ariat has been putting out lately, I’d stay away! I had a pair only last me a little under a year, which is ridiculous when you pay 500+ on them. Can’t help ya with fit though :-/

    1. Oh boo, that’s not good to hear. I feel like most boots in the price range I’m looking for are total crap. The other one I’m considering is Mountain Horse. They don’t look as smancy as the ariats (side tab is really fugly), but they have good reviews and will fit.

  3. I have a pair of JPC boots that I use for schooling. They are horrible quality leather but they were $30 on clearance so I am not complaining too much. They have held up like iron. I bought a pair of Saxon boots that I like. They are comfortable but because they are synthetic I plan to only wear them to show. My problem is that I have a size 11 foot and wide calves and not a lot of brands accommodate that.

  4. I have all Ariats which I love because my feet are suuuuuper flat. My tall boots are the Crowne Field Boot, which I’ve had close to 10 years. Those have held up well, but I do not ride in them except to show, so that may not be indicative of overall quality. I got a new pair of Ariat paddock boots about two years ago and the soles have started to pull away from the rest of the boot on the sides. Not too happy with those for obvious reasons. That’s the only problem I’ve ever had with Ariats. I will have to get new paddock boots eventually, not sure if I’ll switch when the time comes :-/

    1. I’ve had good luck with Ariat with paddock boots. My original pair lasts from college until this year, and they are SO COMFY but falling apart all over. Hoping the new pair holds up just as long!

  5. I’m afraid I’m not going to be any help here. I’ve got a completely different problem in that everything is way too tall for me. The pull on synthetic boots I bought when I was in middle school had to be cut down for me even after the drop. I did just purchase the Tredstep Donatello and I’m praying that they drop enough. Good luck!

  6. I’m super lucky because when I was 16 and working at a tack shop, the manager had just bought a new pair of 7 1/2 ariat tall boots (I can’t remember the model) and at the time they cost 499$ new. Her daughter wore them once and out grew them so she offered them to me for… FIFTY FREAKING DOLLARS! Yeah, they’re a little tall, and to this day I still get my skin rubbed raw behind my knees, but you CANNOT beat that price and they fit everywhere else. I only wear them for shows though because I definitely can’t afford to replace them… I dread that day! Tall boots are SO expensive now!

    I’d say tape up the tall boots if at all possible… unless you have half chaps that realllly look like tall boots! Not a fun situation though, hope you figure it out!

    1. Oh wow, that’s a hell of a deal! I think I’d deal with rubbing for $50 tall boots too 🙂 Yeah, my half chaps really don’t look much at all like tall boots, so maybe another show of duct tape is the way to go. At least it’s a local level low height class 🙂

      1. Yeah I think you can get away with it okay! They make black duct tape anyway 🙂 That’s really unfortunate though, I hope you find some not so crazy expensive well-fitting boots soon! And I really just need to put some of those little rubber lifts in the back of my boot, I’ve just been too lazy…. I mean its only been 8 years, you think I’d have gotten to that by now… 🙂

  7. If finding tall boots that fit is a problem, I’d say that you should invest in a nice pair of half chaps and paddock boots and save them for shows only. I am constantly amazed at how nice good half chaps look. For every day wear, you could have a cheaper half chap/paddock boot combo.

    I am frustrated by calf sizes on boots as well. I am fit and of a healthy weight, and I still wear a wide calf. I bought a pair of Ariat Maestro Dressage boots and a year later took them to a cobbler to have some extra leather sewn in to the calf to make them just a wee bit wider. They are extremely comfortable so the $90 was worth it. I wear those boots only for show. I school in a pair of Ariat Field Boots (I bought them used so I have no idea which model they are) which I adore. I also school in a pair of Ariat Performer paddocks boots ($170) which I have beat to hell, but they are still going strong, three years later.

    I originally purchased a pair Mountain Horse Firenze Dress boots ($240), but they weren’t as fancy as I was expecting which is why I exchanged them for the Maestros ($399 – but original price was $599). They also weren’t as comfortable as the Maestros. VTO Saddlery actually sent me both pair to try on and didn’t hassle me about the shipping.

    All of that is to say that I really don’t have a suggestion other than to go with half chaps and paddock boots or try to find a used pair. :0) Best of luck!

    1. Yeah, I might just keep my eye open for a nice pair of ‘show chaps’ at a good deal. Mine are comfy and great for schooling, but not show worthy.

  8. I unfortunately HATE half chaps and paddock boots now. I rarely rode in tall boots for the longest time so I was the opposite but now that I ride in tall boots daily no way would I go back. I do show a lot but not enough to warrant a pair of boots just for showing. I have a pair of Ariat Challenges (I think…) and I am pretty sure they were almost $400. I bought them approximately 2 years ago and they look like crap. I am literally wearing a hole on the insides. I actually had to exchange the original pair because less than a month into owning them the leather was peely on the inside. Ariat would replace them but my tack store/ ariat would not refund me for the crap boots. I have overall been happier with this pair but that doesn’t say too much.

    My leg is too large for a slim but I swim in a regular (mostly just my scrawny ankles) so I feel like most boots are less than ideal. I would love to get a pair of custom boots but since I feel like everything will fall apart I can’t stomach a 600 to 1k fail over a 3-400 fail. I hope that you find a pair of boots that work for you. I have tried on the Mountain horse boots and one pair actually has an elastic panel or strip at the back – might be something like the heritage? They didn’t look as pretty to me in the tack store but a few girls at the barn have pairs and they are lovely. I wish that I had gone that route. Way more fitted than those of us with Ariats. 🙂 Sorry for the ramble.

  9. Good luck with the boots. I have only had one pair of tall boots in my life and my mom choose the size/fit, they have been great for years except they are starting rub the inside of my knee. 🙁 I might be in the same dilemma soon. I honestly don’t know where to start looking!

  10. I have Ariat tall boots (I believe they are the Challenge series), and (knock on wood) they have held up well for me so far. I ride in them 2-3x/week and they are still in great shape. I have a friend who has a pair of Mountain Horse tall boots and she wears hers 5-6x/week and they look fine. Neither brand is necessarily “hunter princess” but we show on the local circuit, and they are more than adequate.

    For the show, I would hack (and jump) in both options at home and go with what is most comfortable for you. If you are going to be worried about a broken boot your entire round, it’s not worth it.

  11. I love my paddock boots and half chaps! I find them to be much more flexible at the ankles. Don’t call me crazy, but, I think sitting trot is EASY in mine. I have Saxon paddock boot and Perri’s chaps, both of which are totally affordable. I live through the scornful looks at shpws in my my comfy attire, because I’m a jumper. 😉

  12. So I had the same issues as you when buying tall boots. It was a YEAR LONG ordeal. My fat self could not find a pair that would fit. Not only is my calf 18 inches, but my budget started out at $150 and had to go up to $200. Now, I admit that I was shopping for dress boots not field boots, but I found a great pair in Mountain Horse…which they don’t sell anymore!

    I actually just recently bought a brand new pair of tall boots (not that I needed them…it is a long story I will blog about soon I hope) for well under $200 that are actually TOO BIG for my calf! I ended up getting them using reward points so I figured that having a pair of boots I didn’t need to worry about being too small that I didn’t pay for was worth it. Check out Hispar http://www.hispar.com and see any of them might work. You live in TX (I think…brand new to reading your blog) which is where they shipped from for me so you might even be able to try them on. My only issues with them is that they are really like a $120 boot, not a $180 quality wise and that the plus size in the calf has like extra space (if that makes sense) at the top of the calf. I was thrilled though to know that a boot maker out there makes boots for people who actually have a calf! You should check it out and see if you like it.

    1. So frustrating to buy boots for a wider calf! Especially on a budget. I will definitely check out Hispar, thanks for the recomendation!

  13. Not the same but I got the Tredstep ProG2 Gaiters and adore them – they areemeasured in inches and fit great to my leg although I have the opposite problem to you in that Ihave thin chicken legs!
    But having had a quick look at their tall boots online (www.tredstep.com) their measurements cater to 17 1/2 inches – although maybe I’m reading the size chart wrong… :-/

    I also have no idea what price range their tall boots are in never having bought a pair myself, however a friend snapped up a pair of DeNiro field boots at Equitana last week and really likes them – but you’d probably have to try a few on to see how they fit…sorry I’m not really much help at all!

  14. I don’t actually know anything about this subject myself, but I just saw a post on another blog on the same subject. That auther bought semi-custom boots from Fuller Fillies and was very happy with them. Good luck.

  15. There is a guy in bastrop that replaces zippers for 40 or 50 for the pair. I had my show boots done. The bonus for you will be that the results he gives are both functional (zippers look nice) and they add about 1/4 inch on each boot in width. For me, it wasn’t the best outcome as mine fit perfectly prior to this, but it sounds like it would work great for you.

    I’ve got new boots on order, but you should definitely take the drive out to bastrop to fix the ovations you love.sczx c

  16. Long time lurker here! I have to second the Hispar recommendation – lots and lots of size options and for under 250$. A tad over priced for the quality, but I was impressed with their sizing options, and as I am a very plus size girl but with your similar problem of large calf (18+ inches) and skinny ankle, these worked for me! I was able to find a pair used online for 80$ and they have been well worth it. Good luck!!

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  18. Has anyone had a problem with the sole splitting. I have had a pair of Ariats chocolate tall boots. Have just returned 3rd pair with same problem. Love the boot. Just a tad frustrating.

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