Should I retire my Vogels for off the shelf boots? May 26 2013, 4 Comments

Some of you may know that I have been on a mission lately to buy new field boots.  Here is my story ...

In 2007, I finally went from the "$200 off-the-shelf Ariats" category to a "I am going to own a 4 figure pair of custom Vogels" category.  Side note, they were purchased for me - I am not sure I would spend that much on boots for myself.  I was so excited!  I went to NYC with my friend Ryan Minor, who was getting ready to work and ride for George Morris.  You probably know that George is VERY old school and only rides in Vogels - pull on dress boots with the spur rest at a lower position so the spur is level to the ground and never on an 'upward' angle.  So there I was in NYC, getting fitted for my very first pair of custom boots - not just any custom boots, custom Vogels!!!  A few months later, my Vogels arrived - beautiful and stiff as a board!  The break in process was downright PAINFUL!  I swear I had tears in my eyes for 2 months!  But, how cool was it that my name was stamped on the inside of the boot??!  If that isn't worth $1,000, I don't know what is!  (Kidding, of course, but it is kind of cool.)

Fast forward to 2013 - I wore the heck out of the boots!  I showed, schooled, etc.  They conformed to my foot like a glove and I could wear them ALL DAY LONG in total comfort.  I am sure it was the quality of that leather sole!  When I ordered my Vogels, I was 30 pounds heavier and they came a little big anyway to allow some room to squeeze my foot in so at the end of the day, they became HUGE around my entire leg.  Also, despite me ordering HIGH Spanish tops to make my short and stumpy legs appear to be those of a 110 pound, 5'8 woman, they sadly were not high enough.  (I am not sure exactly when the Spanish tops became really popular but I know that I desperately wanted that and since I was getting custom boots, I figured why not?)  So the already too big leg, coupled with the 'slouching' that occurred over the years resulted in some comfy to walk in and ride in but ridiculous looking boots.  

And thus began my search for field boots, that were slimming, and tall for under $500!  I originally wanted a pair of the Tredstep da Vincis.  I tried a pair on at found that they just did not fit my calf at all - the regular calf I could not zip up and the full calf was HUGE.  I ended up buying a pair of Mountain Horse Supremes and also ordered a pair of off the shelf Parlanti's.  (Dover makes it easy to have buyer's remorse, or in my case, boot remorse.)  My feedback so far is mixed on the Mountain Horse boots.  What I love - they were instantly broken in with very soft leather.  They look AWESOME - like they were almost custom made for me!  What I do not love - the soles are not the hard, leather soles or even the same type of sole as Ariat makes - it is squishy and rubbery and my foot does not feel the same as riding in my Vogels or even my Ariat paddock boots.  The leather appears cheap and not shiny and the foot is a little big (least of my worries).  My Parlanti's have not arrived yet, but rest assured I will let you know how they work out.

Yesterday I went to go play polo for the first time and also went to go ride a horse for the first time that I may show this summer.  I wanted to be comfortable and feel secure ... Which boots did I wear yesterday?  I wore my Vogels all day and could care less about how ridiculous they looked!  The Mountain Horse Supremes stayed in my car.  I guess I am not quite ready to retire my Vogels after all.  More to come on my field boot buying journey!!

Mountain Horse Supremes on the left, my custom but too big for me Vogels on the right.