Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Struggle of the Tall Boots

Tall boots.

They are the English riding discipline's staple item. Some riders live in them. Some break them in and save them for shows, preferring to school in paddock boots and half chaps. Some ride wearing dress boots such as dressage riders or field hunters and the rest of us wear field boots with the lacings over the ankle.

Whichever way you wear your tall boots, there's one thing they often have in common. They aren't cheap and they usually only fit well when custom-made.

And if you have uncommon leg measurements, you are pretty much stuck with expensive custom boots to get the proper show look.

That's my struggle. Fat calves and long legs. Nobody makes a stock boot that fits my leg measurements. My calves are 16-3/4" and I need a 19-1/2 - 20" tall boot. Ladies size 10 foot. Good luck with that one. Even with zippers and elastic up the back, nobody makes a boot tall enough. I always needed custom boots, and as a junior and a young adult amateur, I had both Der-Dau and Dehner custom boots and they were perfect! However, age and having kids and working full time have insured that my perfect boots will NOT ever fit me again.

With more responsibilities and less money, chucking $1000+ on a pair of custom boots is pretty frivolous, especially since horse shows are a rare (but wonderful) treat.

Besides. I have to buy a horse trailer first. So whatever money I've been squirreling away is for that expense. I can't and won't spend more than $350.00 on leather field boots right now. And if I can get them for less it would be even better.

I own a pair of Mountain Horse field boots that fit my calves but now that they have broken-in they drop 2" lower and look rather sloppy so far below the back of my knee. My dress boots were the old style, nicely priced, Devon Aire Camden back zips. They fit and at 19" tall are not too bad. I went back to buy them in field boots -

and they have been discontinued.


I scoured the internet. Stalked Ebay. Nothing. I can't find any of the old stock of the field boots around in my size.

They have come out with a new model of the Devon-Aire Camden boots, but now they are more money and all the sizes are - SHORTER!! Like a good inch shorter. Why would they do that?!?

It's depressing. And I'm only 5'9" tall! I know there are ladies taller than me who need TALL tall boots.  And many equestrians have wide calves because - nature of the sport.

Recently I bought a pair of the Tredstep Da Vinci field boots when was selling them for a nice price. I studied that size chart like it was finals in high school. I measured and remeasured my legs. I went back and forth and back and forth and then took a chance and bought them (They do not take returns).

Long story short - the size chart lied and they don't fit. They are beautiful boots, brand new, packaged perfectly with all the extras. And I can't wear them or return them. So now I will probably lose money just trying to get rid of them on Ebay. If anyone reading this is interested in a brand new pair of black field boots with back zips, ladies size 10 shoe, $225.00 shipped in the USA - message me.

So, if you see me post pictures riding with my stupid, short tall boots. Trust me, I KNOW they are too short. I know the proper show ring look. It's just that the companies who make decently priced tall riding boots don't make anything that fits a person like me.


English Rider said...

Is it possible to have a saddler make a leather cuff to enhance the height of your boots? That must be a much cheaper solution and may even be patentable:)
I bought some Harry Hall boots in England. The quality/comfort/price equation was very favorable. People often say how nice they look. The back has tapered elastic strips between the leather that are virtually invisible, but move when I do.

Madeline C. said...

I agree that they don't make tall boots to actually fit you unless you're perfect in every way. I went for a pair of Middleburg's that fit pretty well but yes, I would've loved those Ariat's that fit better... Customs? I couldn't imagine! If I know anyone with a size 10 I'll send them your way.

RiderWriter said...

I feel for your predicament. I'm also chuckling because I basically have the opposite problem: ridiculously thin short legs. I'm 5'6," but long from hip to knee and short from knee to ankle. So if I find boots that don't gap around my skinny pins, they're often painfully too tall. Le Sigh.

My mom and I had a swell time finding the only pair of tall boots I have ever owned, way back in 1978, as she completely ruled out custom. Width was the issue as fortunately boots weren't required to be so tall then (yours would be right in fashion). We finally tracked some down in the now-defunct tack store Kauffman's in NYC. They were still too wide, but they had a cobbler who was able to restitch them tighter. Amazingly, these boots still fit but of course look really dumb ending 2" below my kneecap (and they're also dress, not field). Last few times I've showed I've worn them anyway, since nobody at the schooling or C-rated shows cared. :) However, when I finally make it back to the show ring after another extended hiatus I'm planning to be wearing a new pair - they've gotta be out there!

Dreaming said...

I haven't messed with tall boots in years, but when I was a kid it was murder trying to find boots on a budget! They were always too short! Argh! They looked so stupid!
Good luck with your venture!
(I'm thinking you have, but just in case... have you tried any men's boots?)

OnTheBit said...

Awww…that sucks! I totally know your pain as I think many, many other riders do. Any chance you could sell those other boots on ebay and keep looking for the right pair? As time has gone by in the past 3 years I have noticed way more brans offering other options, Ariat increasing their falls and tuff rider coming out with a wide calf line.

I am so sorry your boots didn't work out ;(

Jean said...

Just thinking....why don't you contact a company like Mountain Horse directly with your problem? I only suggest them because I like their stock boots for me and my wide calf. Maybe for a small additional cost they would make you a tall calf in a wide? It never hurts to ask.

Jean said...

One more thought...any chance a men's boot might suit? I bought mens' Ariat paddock boots and they fit my foot better than the women's do. Don't know about the calf sizes and heights, but just maybe.....