From Endurance to Dressage
I prefer to school and show in tall boots. I keep a pair of Ariat Maestros for showing; they're stored in my trailer. For the past two or three three years, I've been schooling in a pair of Ariat Volants. While I love the Volants, they haven't held up as well as I had hoped, especially for the price tag.
I am not going to blame the boots; I am hard on them. I wear them seven days a week, and while I try not to muck stalls or use the wash rack while wearing them, I do trudge around the barn and arena even when it's wet and muddy.
After looking at a few small tears in the seams of each Volant and a sole that's starting to separate, I decided to take advantage of Riding Warehouse's post Christmas sale and ordered a new pair of tall boots. After looking over the reviews and comparing them to the price of each boot, I settled on the TuffRiders.
They were cheap enough that I could buy a pair a year for three years running and still not pay what I did for the Volants. In fact, I have paddock boots that cost as much as the TuffRiders.
When I took them out of the box, I was a tiny bit disappointed, but then I reminded myself that these were $180 boots - not $500 boots. That made me look at them with a new appreciation.
Overall, the leather is very soft, but on the thinner side. It feels as though it might scratch fairly easily, but again, $180 is not very much for a pair of tall boots.
Unlike many boots, I think the TuffRiders actually run a bit on the big size. I wear a 7.5 shoe, so I normally order up for boots. I had plenty of room in the 8 and think I would have been fine with my actual shoe size. I filled in some of the extra room with inserts. Even so, thick socks won't be a problem.
On TuffRider's sizing chart, my calf (with socks and breeches) was exactly 14.5 inches, which was a "regular" calf measurement. Knowing that so many boots are actually narrower than advertised, I ordered the wide. There is nothing worse than a boot you can't zip up. As it turned out, the wide is really wide at the boot's opening, but very comfortable on the calf.
Not only is the boot sized generously in the calf, but it also has a narrow, elastic panel alongside the zipper.
I wore them for the first time yesterday, but not for riding. I actually wore them to work (from 5:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). We had a special Giddy Up for Kindness event where the staff and students were encouraged to dress up in western clothes. I wore breeches and boots instead. These boots KICKED BUTT on the comfort scale. I never even once thought about taking them off. I even taught P.E. in them!
From the moment I slipped them on, they felt warm and broken in. The footbed (with inserts) was cushy, and the leather moved and flowed around my foot. The sloppiness that I worried about never entered my mind. No part of the boot pinched or rubbed. In fact, they were more comfortable than some of my everyday shoes and boots.
If you're on a tight budget, this boot is definitely budget friendly while being comfortable and attractive. For me, they will work great as an easily replaceable schooling boot. Even though they're a little "sloppy," especially when compared to my Volants, I loved the price and how comfortable they were right out of the box.
The verdict: comfortable tall boots at a great price!
1/28/2016 07:25:58 am
Hooray! Yeah, I have the Volants too, and for the price tag those things better last forever. Alas, they're so soft and squishy I kinda doubt it. I'm glad you found a good alternative at a much more reasonable price!
1/28/2016 06:42:11 pm
I know you said you wear them only to ride, so yours will last much longer. I wear mine for HOURS at a time, grooming, turning horses out, etc. They're in very useable shape, but they do have two tears in the stitching and a sole that's coming apart. I wanted a pair to ride in while I check into getting the Volants fixed.
1/28/2016 07:41:49 am
I have a pair of the Baroque that I bought about 4 years ago. Since I only do schooling shows I didn't want to spend $$ and these were comfortable right out of the box...I'm a half chap/paddock boot rider daily having "show boots" fit well is important.
1/28/2016 06:44:00 pm
They are surprisingly comfortable for sure. And for someone on a bit of a budget, I think these are a pretty nice looking pair of boots. I hope I get as many years out of mine, Cindy, as you have out of yours!
1/28/2016 08:03:35 am
Aw I'm sad the Volants didn't hold up. They're so beautiful.
1/28/2016 06:46:55 pm
They're still quite serviceable, and I am going to get them to a cobbler when I have a bit of time, but they are showing more wear than I expected. On the other hand, I wear the crap out of my boots. I avoid mud and mucking, but I do lots of turn out, riding, grooming, and so on. I try to pull them off for bathing, mucking, and chores that involve feed. Even so, it's not uncommon for me to be in them 2 hours a night plus 4 hours on the weekend.
1/28/2016 06:48:03 pm
Me too, At that price point I expected them to feel plasticky and stiff. I am actually really impressed with the comfort and quality. We'll see how they hold up to daily wear and tear.
1/28/2016 01:25:48 pm
I love all the Tuff Rider tall boots I've owned, which has been a blessing since they're about all I can afford. And yes, the calf size definitely seems to be wider than advertised. I'm super comfy in my slim calf, and there's no way I'd be able to zip up a slim in any other boot!
1/28/2016 06:52:08 pm
Good to know for "next time." I could have sent them back, but it was just too much trouble. They are too wide in the calf, but I might appreciate it this summer when it's 100 degrees. It's rare to find boots that actually fit the measurements they list! And when i wore them yesterday, they never felt sloppy in a way that was uncomfortable.
1/29/2016 05:20:33 am
I would be super curious for a followup post in a year to see how they have held up. I ride in only Mountain Horse anymore and they seem to hold up forever, if they hold up maybe I would try them as well.
1/30/2016 08:04:50 am
I'll try to remember to come back with a follow up review. :0)
2/25/2018 04:50:30 pm
I would love to see how these have held up over the years now.
2/26/2018 06:55:43 am
I was JUST thinking about this the other day! I still love these boots and am thrilled with how well they are holding up. At this price point, I was hoping to get a year out of them. They're still going strong. :0)
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
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CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
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