For The Rider Style Guide

4 Equestrian Boots We (Really, Really) Can’t Live Without

Equestrian Boots

We’re pretty sure boots are an equestrian’s best friend. With seemingly endless options, it’s hard not to amass a collection. So, if you’re looking to make a major investment in equestrian boots this season, here’s an easy guide to help you streamline:

1. C.M. Hadfields


Above: C.M. Hadfields Paddock Boots, $274.35 with shipping

There are certain things in life a girl can’t live without. And if you’re an equestrian, paddock boots rank near the top of the list.

I can’t say enough good things about my recent purchase from C.M. Hadfield’s Saddlery. Based in Florida, this small business travels up and down the East Coast providing riders with high-end merchandise.

Their paddock boot design is taller than most, preventing interference with chaps. As a taller rider, I am super appreciative of this feature. They come in rich chocolate brown (my pick to match my TredStep half chaps) or deep black with a punched toe cap and punch embellishments around the arch. I love all the little details! So chic you’ll want to wear them out with a pair of jeans after you’ve finished your ride. And actually, I have.

I found the leather on these boots to be supple, yet supportive straight out of the box. The break in period for me was only a few days thanks to an impromptu day-trip to Philadelphia. These boots were made for walking and that’s just what they did!

After owning them for over a year now and riding at least 4-5 days a week, I can attest to their quality. A quick clean up and they look almost brand new. And as far as comfort, I often forget they are on! It would be great if they were waterproof so I could wear them into the washstall, too—I’m trying my best to remember to switch to muck boots for that!

Word to the wise—these boots run LARGE. For example, I normally wear a women’s size 10 and found the perfect fit in a size 8. Just be sure you know your measurements or check with customer service.

 

2. Ariat

Ariat Weekender BootsAbove: Ariat Weekender Boot$199.95 now $99.97

Come fall and winter, boots are the hottest thing on a girl’s radar. Tired of hit and miss cheap suede and pleather options, I went to Ariat in search of a short boot that could easily be dressed up for the perfect date night look (wishful thinking with horse events every other weekend) or dressed down with a flowy top and leggings for work. Also, they had to be comfortable. Like comfort insoles comfortable.

Enter the Ariat Weekender.

Ahhh, a sleek new Chelsea boot. Uber popular with equestrians, this style originated in the Victorian era and is still one of the coolest boots around today. The Weekender is no exception to the rule, everything a true Chelsea should be!

They’re simple and stylish. And that’s pretty much all there is to it. No extra stitching, no embellishments. Just a supple, full-grain leather boot with elastic sides and a pull tab at the back. The elastic twin gore panels may not be everyone’s taste, but there’s no denying their comfort. Easy on and off, just the way I like it!

The leather quality is top notch, nothing short of Ariat standards. The lighter brown “maple” shade has some nice depth with darker, subtle marbling. They look and feel luxurious and will leave all of your friends filled with envy.

Purchased sight unseen without a vetting, I only wished I had bought a half size smaller. These are slightly too big for me. It won’t stop me from wearing them though. I look forward to weekends of wear from this very versatile boot!

 

3. DeNiro

Deniro Field BootsAbove: DeNiro Field Boots, custom pricing

Spice up your ride with sleek and stylish DeNiro field boots! Completely handmade in Italy, these boots feature DeNiro’s superb design and durability. Sky’s the limit for customization–but, we must caution, your custom boots are only as good as the person who measures you.

My quest for new field boots came after 10+ years of owning my first and only pair of tall boots from Ariat. Tax return season was here and it was time for an upgrade. Treat yo self!

Oogling over the seemingly endless varieties of DeNiro boots available, I wanted to stick with something more traditional with a modern flair. Remember: hunter princesses can’t be too flashy! So, I opted to use the http://www.denirobootco.it/en/s3602 boot as my base design, adding spur rests, punched toes and a punched top (shown on this model http://www.denirobootco.it/en/s-36a1 for a subtle kick.

Considering the design time and location, these holy grail of tall boots only took about a month to arrive at my doorstep. When I opened the pack, I was shocked! The completed boot is a work of art. They’re almost too pretty to envision plastering with the inevitable mud, manure and stone dust from the barn. No, these belong on display at the Met!

The Spanish top is down right beautiful and the fit of the calf is on point. I could barely zip them up the first try, certain I would lose all circulation to my legs if I wore them long enough! After a few rides though, the boots began to mold to my leg. The elastic panels running down the back of the calf also help ensure a perfect fit.

But the leather. It is softer than my own skin. I make sure to clean and condition them heavily after each use since the material is much finer than I am used to.

Helpful tip: These boots will not drop a ton, so I suggest sizing down if you’re in between sizes.

I’m really looking forward to debuting these at my next horse show. They make me feel so fancy!

 

4. Dubarry

Dubarry Longford BootsAbove: Dubarry Longford Boot, $529 with free shipping

It’s the problem of the century: you want to keep your feet dry, but look cute at the same time. Luckily, weatherproof boots have seriously come a long way, and we now have a plethora of stylish options thanks to Dubarry of Ireland.

The struggle you’ll face with this company is which boot to choose. For me, the clear winner was the Dubarry Longford Boot.

I love these boots for all that splashes back at me when I’m trudging to the office or catching an Uber to brunch on a weekend getaway. I haven’t brought myself to wear these to the barn quite yet, but someday we’ll get there.

If you’re like me and struggle to find tall boots that fit your thin calves, these are for you. This boot is designed to be a slimmer fit on your calf when compared to the traditional Dubarry Galway boot, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I found the elasticated heel panel and pull-tabs very helpful in putting these boots on.

Let’s get back to the main reason why I purchased these boots: the waterproofing properties. I literally wanted a pair of boots that could take me from the office to happy hour to the barn and hold up better than my Wellies. The GoreTex interior lining provides complete waterproofing (Mary can attest to this with her Brandywine River encounters), while the DryFast-DrySoft exterior allows the boot to hold up to pretty much anything. Plus, the leather is oh-so-soft with subtle branding. Although I don’t have to tell many people they are Dubarry’s when I’m out, they’ve become that iconic in the equestrian world.

While I think they look great paired with skinny jeans, my favorite pairing is actually with a skirt. I wore these walking around Middleburg, Virginia and found them to be incredibly comfortable. However, I’m not sure the lining is meant for anything above 80 degree weather. These are definitely better suited as chilly weather options, at least for natural heaters like myself. Since I went with the black/brown color, they literally go with everything in my closet and appear so elegant. And here’s a great styling tip: match the color of your Dubarry boots to the color of your pants to create a long, clean line.

In terms of sizing, just keep in mind that they do come in European sizes. I opted to size up and found the fit to be absolutely perfect. I also ordered mine from SmarkPak with free shipping and returns, just in case something didn’t work. No regrets here!

 

Do you agree with our top 4? What would you add to the list?

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