A long, long time ago writer friend Cynthia D'Alba asked me to do a post about cowboy boots. So long ago that she gave up waiting, wrote her own cowboy book, got published and is due for release next month (and you can go here to preorder!).
But I am finally getting around to doing that post she wanted, mostly on account of CountryOutfitter.com, who stopped by the ol' blog and liked it enough to offer me a pair of Ariat boots in exchange for chatting about them. Couldn't have come at a better time since I'm due for a new pair, although my husband seems to think I have plenty.
Look close though and you can see they're all getting pretty run down at the heels and scuffed at the toes, with the exception of the spanky new Ariat Terrain hikers on the far left. I got those for Christmas and wow, do I love them. Lightweight, warm, very comfortable. Wore them to work all week then on the way home last night I took them out for an impromptu mile hike through six inches of snow on the trail of an escaped calf (come back next week for that story) and they were awesome for both. The price is nice, too, and there are other colors like these deeper brown ones:
What's cool about these boots is the heel. Look close. Even though they're great for hiking, they're also designed for riding, with the sharply squared heel that won't slip through your stirrup like a regular snow boot. Win all around for calving season, when you never know if you'll end up on foot shoving a new baby through snow drifts with your horse trailing along behind.
In fact, those in the know might be able to look at the photo of my boot line up and realize that except for the pair with the spurs, they're ALL Ariats. The pair with the red tops and the beat up hikers next to them were my first two pairs and I was an instant convert. I have very high arches and these are the only boots I've owned that don't require an additional insert for support. Plus, they last. Those two pairs are seven years and a thousand miles old.
Even my Fat Babies on the far right have some scars, although I consider them my 'dress shoes' and don't wear them for riding. The dog chewed the top tab off the left one and I have a bad habit of tucking my foot under my desk chair which scuffs up the toe on the right. Despite the thick sole and bulkier shape, it is amazing how light these boots are. If I'm in the mood for comfort I reach for my Fat Babies instead of running shoes, and that rounded toe? Perfect for when you trip over the kid's step stool and bust that toe next to your pinky toe and it swells to the point that you can't wear any other shoes for a month. Or so I've heard.
So yeah, right when I decided it was time for new boots along came Country Outfitter. Here's the problem. I have choices, which meant I had to go poking around in their catalog to pick out what I wanted. That was a month ago and I'm just now re-emerging.
I have, however, managed to narrow it down to three options. Okay, maybe four. Or wait, there were those Fat Baby's with the funky zipper top....ouch! (that's me slapping my own hand before I lose another half a day to browsing).
If I go with utility, thinking in terms of something I can wear at the rodeos, there's this:
These are a departure from my normal style. I've never owned anything with the square toe and I generally stick with the wider, flatter roper-style heel, so named because they are preferred by calf ropers who have to bail out of their stirrup and run down the rope. Since my event doesn't require me to get off my horse, I don't have to worry about the type of heel and I think these look cool, more like what the saddle bronc riders wear, suitable given my knack for making horses buck.
Plus, I'm loving the color of the tops and I prefer the thinner, traditional sole for roping. That old pair up top with the spurs? I have to let my stirrups down a notch to account for the thick crepe sole and they tend to hang up as I step down from my horse. Since I'm a short-legged gal who has somehow become the owner of a lot of tall horses, this can make for some very awkward moments.
If I wanted to go with something dressier to replace my Fat Babies, there's this:
I know, right? Does it get any prettier, plus you've got all that comfort. Tell me again why women wear stilettos? Then again, as I mentioned I am slightly under-endowed in the leg department so I do enjoy some props once in a while, which led me here:
But then I thought, "If you're gonna get fancy, you might as well be serious about it" and I thought maybe these:
Then my husband wandered past, busted out laughing and asked if I was just trying to get struck by lightning the first time I stepped outside what with all those crosses and my somewhat shaky attendance record at church.
You see my dilemma. I could go on like this all day. So feel free to chime in and tell me what you like best. Square toes, round toes, pointy or fat? Slanted heels, ropers, something with a little height? Or go to Country Outfitters, pick out your favorites and post a link in the comments. Can't wait to see what you choose.
As for me, check back next week and I'll show you what I decided to put on my toes.
To keep the FTC happy and in case I haven't already mentioned it a dozen times, here's the official disclaimer: A retailer of Ariat boots for women, Country Outfitter sent me these Ariat women's legend boots to review.