Friday, February 18, 2022

A Hunt for new Field Boots: Ariat vs. Dover Riding Sport

I have had my Ariat Heritage field boots for about 5 years.  I ride my one horse about 5 days a week.  I would say I'm somewhere in the middle as far as taking care of them: I always keep them in a boot bag with trees, and usually only have them on while I'm riding not just wearing around the barn (though of course I occasionally do).  However I'm not very consistent about wiping them down or conditioning them, I just knock the dirt off with a brush before putting them back in the bag.  I have dress boots for showing (which I wear on occasion in between just so they don't shrink and so I'm used to them).  

 Being a petite 5'2", "regular" height tall boots off the rack won't really fit me and at the time I got these boots there weren't many options for shorter heights.  They are a 7.5 short height, regular calf.  The calf has always been a touch big, but for schooling I'm not that partial.  They were quick to break in and comfortable from the start, I think I may have used heel lifts the first few rides but don't recall them being painful.  They've held up very well the first 4 years, I never had to replace the zipper or had any noticeable issues.  However over the past few months they've really started showing their age, first with some separation on the top of the boot between the outer leather and inner layer.  And then a wear mark appeared on the inner calf where the bottom edge of my saddle flap is, eventually rubbing all the way through the outer layer!  I'm actually overall quite happy with how these boots worked out, and thought 5 years was a reasonable lifespan for <$300 boots.  However most of what I've read on the internet indicated that the quality of Ariat boots has gone down quite a bit the last few years, so I'm a bit hesitant about getting the same ones.
So sad!

Dover had a recent sale on their Riding Sport brand boots, so I figured why not give it a shot.  At just over $100 I wasn't expecting them to last forever, but hoped that I might get a good year out of them - and a good opportunity to try some brown ones!  

Pretty brown
 Unfortunately did not meet even my low expectations.  From the size chart I thought they might be a bit big, but I didn't expect to easily fit my whole hand inside the top of the boots.  The leather is low grade as expected, but what really turned me off was the almost foam-like inner lining, which I imagine would be pretty sweltering on hot days.  

Weird foam-like inner lining

Regular width calf runs large
So these boots are going back - I have a different, new-to-me brand on order but if those don't work out either I'll probably just go back to Ariat!


  1. It’s so harD to buy boots without trying them. I quite like the tuffrider boots.

    1. I had them before the Ariats, but the entire heel fell off after about 9 months! Maybe I just got a lemon but I never went back.

    2. Oh that’s too bad. I had a pair thst th3 zipper broke after a month but they replaced them. I’ve had the replacements going on 3 years.