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We Are Flying Solo

February 18, 2010

These Boots Ain't Made For Walking

But are they any good for riding?

Years of tromping around barns has put me through years of going through paddock boots. I am always on a search for a perfect pair that match affordability ($150 for paddock boots, puh-LEASE!) and durability. Because you are SO lucky, I will share my findings of this incredibly scientific (we will just ignore sample size issues, ahem) experiment.

I wear paddock boots constantly for just walking around the farm and riding, which sometimes entails 4 hour trail rides, and usually includes 4-5 rides in the arena per week, so I use them hard. I put them on when I leave the house and they stay on. So I might be tromping through mud and poo, ice, rain, or heat. And I don't sit down and polish them every day. Survival of the fittest around me. And in case you don't notice a trend, I hate tying lace ups...

FAIL or WIN? I'll go from cheapest (yay!) to priciest (boo!) --

Gatsby: elastic-side paddock boots ($25) from Horseloverz -- those things are great! They are still fully intact, no cracking, comfortable. The only thing that happened was the lining tore, but I just threw a pair of drugstore insoles in and they work great. Wore them for about a year and a half. I still keep them in the back of my truck as spares. WIN!

Saxon: the Equileather zip paddock boots ($40). Got them last summer. Within two months, they blew out at the ball of the foot and then completely separated from the soles on both shoes. They were comfy and great to ride in but only last maybe 4 months total! FAIL!

Dublin: zip fronts ($~74). Using these now. Been wearing for about 8 months or so now. It's been a hard winter on boots with all the mud. But they were REALLY comfortable from the minute I put them on and the sole definitely had more support than the cheaper two -- not that I care about that, but I did notice a difference. They are wearing well so far, but I can see some weakening stitching around the ball of one foot, keeping an eye on that. I'd like them to at least last a year... I also just picked up a pair of elastic sided ones on sale for $40, but keeping them new in the closet till these die. JURY STILL OUT (but if that stitching blows, I'm giving the zip ups a FAIL).

Mountain Horse: Ice Rider lace ups (~$80). Just got them for this winter. Definitely worth it -- they are super warm. I've only worn them maybe 10 times so far, but seem sturdily made. Take some breaking in -- they hurt my heels pretty bad the first 4 or 5 times, but then were fine after that. JURY STILL OUT. (but it looks promising)

Ariat: lace ups (free cause they were given to me, retail between $150-200). Narrow foot and uncomfortable, always chewed up my heel (these were older style). Leather across toe cracked wide open where it flexed. Always leaked and generally fell apart. Hated them. FAIL! (But I do like Ariat clothes)

Blundstone: elastic side 500 series (bought in Australia for about US$45, but in US retail around ~$150). Tough to break in, but once I did, SUPER comfortable. I bought two pairs at once. First pair I wore for maybe three years, they were awesome, soles finally wore through. Second pair had the soles dry rot off within a few months. :-( I don't know why the difference. They are sitting in my closet still waiting for a repair if it's possible. One FAIL, one WIN!


  1. I have the Mountain Horse ones and I LOVE them. Eyeing some Dublin field boots (I have huge calves but they have sizes that look promising at decent prices) so I'm glad to hear they're not a fail (yet). And though I haven't tried Ariat boots, I do have their down jacket as my "nice" winter coat and I'm totally in love with it and get lots of compliments, so their clothing is a definite win!

  2. I swear by Ariats. I have a pair of western lacers that are 15 years old and they are still in extremely good condition. Sucks that yours didn't. I think the newer styles are wider because my 15 year old size 7's fit super snug buy my newer 7.5's are almost too loose in the toe box.

    My Mountain Horse Ice Rider paddocks were 100% awesome for the first winter and i wore them with plain old sock. This year I had to buy winter socks and use toe warmer pads. I was totally warm all last winter but the first time out this year I got cold toes and was really shocked. They feel like the Thermolite lining has been compressed with wear and therefore lost it's insulation capabilities - now they're just rubber and thin lining - still totally snow/mud/poo proof, but not as warm. I still love them, though. Considering writing the company to see if there's anything I can to do "recharge" the lining....

  3. I have some cheapie boots from horseloverz. I paid like $25, and so far they're ok. They are waterproof, which has been awesome this winter, but I got the zippers on the back, and I HATE that. Still, a decent boots. It did take a while to break in.

  4. I've been happy with my Ariat zip up paddock boots, but they don't see nearly as much action as your boots; I just use them for riding. They are very comfortable, as are the 2 pair of Ariat cowgirl boots I've purchased - I'm wearing a pair right now at work, but they won't see any mud or muck. They are just for fun and fashion. I'm with you on the lace-up issue. I want to get in and out of my boots easily. I may check out those Gatsbys. And the Mountain Horse boots if I ever crawl out of my fair-weather-horsewoman rut. Thanks for the reviews.

  5. Cool, thanks for the extra feedback, y'all!

  6. These don't even qualify because they're tall boots ( I don't like the feeling of paddock boots when I'm riding in a saddle, maybe it's the less leg support or something?). Anyway, I have the Mountain Horse winter tall boots, and there are things I like (not leather, so I can be hard on them, big enough for my calves) and things that frustrate me, like the fact that the zippers are EXTREMELY touchy, especially in the cold. Last winter I was ready to throw them across the barn because those darn zippers WOULD. NOT. GO. UP!! I'm sure they'd be warm enough for coastal winters, but here in the midwest, they don't really cut it. So I guess I have a mixed review! I love review posts like this one, thanks for doing it!

  7. I tried to get the Mtn Horse tall boots, but they are NOT made for chicken legs like mine. I was so sad but was at least able to sell them to BO. Now I stare at them longingly while she rides in them, sigh...

  8. Every single pair of Ariat paddock boots I have owned have done the EXACT same thing as you described. I always thought it was something about the way I walked, or the way my foot was shaped. lol! Love your blog!

  9. Well, if it was your feet, then we both have the same boot destroying feet! Thanks!