Human boot questions, help me! Petries

I bought my last pair of boots about 12 years ago, and it’s time for another - the calf is about to wear through in a couple spots, one zipper pull is busted, and I was never thrilled with the fit
of the calf anyway.

This time around, I think I want a dress boot. No, not a stovepipe, true dressage boot - I do other things, like eventing, so I actually want a slimmer ankle with some flexibility. I’m leaning hard towards Petries, they seem to have the quality and durability I want in an affordable package. I don’t need custom or fancy bling or soft leather, and can usually fit into off the shelf sizing.

So, questions:

  1. Is it still customary/appropriate to buy slightly taller than your actual height measurement to account for dropping? How much do you add? Too short boots are my pet peeve.

  2. In boots with the full length elastic insert up the back of the calf, do you order the size of your exact calf measurement or adjust (down?) for the ‘stretch factor’?

  3. Can someone please convince me that having a zipper on the inside front of the boot is absolutely NOT going to damage my saddle? Doesn’t the exposed zipper rub on the edge of the flap over time?

Any other input on Petries lower end lines (<$500) welcome also.

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Zipper placement is cleverly just out of saddle range, no problem there.

I don’t know what the drop on a non-dressage boot is. I’ve had six or so pairs of Petries, and the last two were stove-pipe-light. Still, very minimal drop.

If I were you, I would email Petrie and ask about the many varieties they offer, then find a dealer to order them from.

I have looked through the models on their website, and have narrowed it down to most likely the Padova, unless I decide to go with a field boot again… Currently it’s more a matter of finding a boot in stock in my size and price range, there seems to have been a stall in tall boot production across the industry causing a shortage - probably COVID and/or holiday related.

I just need to know for sure what my “size” is! :joy: I have read of people adding anything from 2cm to 1" or even 1.5" in anticipation of drop. I suppose I will email the vendor I am likely going to purchase from about my measurement questions.

I have Mountain Horse boots with the front zipper and they never come into contact with my saddle. If you were extremely toed in from the knee down, they might make contact. I’m pretty straight in one leg and slightly toed out in the other - I know based on the differences in the dirt pattern between the heel/calves of my boots.

The zippers aren’t a problem. That said, I was VERY disappointed in the quality of the Petries I bought a few years ago. Despite regular cleaning and pretty light-moderate use, the leather at the ankle started breaking down inside of a year. I tried contacting the company and they did nothing. A bad use of $700 in my opinion.

(FWIW, I ended up buying Konigs, and LOVE them and they’ve lasted for years, but I like a stovepipe boot.)


I purchased one of the lower end Petries 3 years ago. It is one of the ones with a zipper in the back, softer/narrower ankle. I love them. They have held up well with little break down and the zippers still work well. Cleaned up they still look pretty good too. They were under $300. I ride 3 horses; so they’ve been worn daily. I don’t think they’ll last as long as my Petrie 3000 stove pipe boots which I use for show. I’ve had my current pair of show boots for 12 years and they still look almost new.

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Oh that’s good to hear. I’m not expecting anything to last another 12 years, I’d be happy with 3-5. Just want something that fits reasonably well and won’t fall apart in under a year.

I LOVE my Petrie boots. I went with full custom leg because I’m large and also oddly shaped - totally worth it to have the measurements taken by a professional.

Very happy with the fit, quality, and durability of the boot itself. I had both zippers replaced after a couple of years, but that’s not surprising.

With the excellent exchange rate from US to Canadian $, might be worth ordering from here? I know the place I got mine does measurements via Ziom, to make sure you are measuring correctly, and I believe they have a promotion now you were can upgrade from semi to full custom at no extra charge.

The store is called Equestrian Fashion Outfitters, if you want to look them up.


With respect to your first question–measure up to the back of your knee. With high spanish tops on the outside, the dropping of a centimeter or so after break in matters much less than it did in the old days when we didn’t have that high bow on the outside. It is, IMO, better to be comfortable at the back of your knee. I can’t answer the second question, but as to your third question the zipper will not damage your saddle. It is not against your saddle and it is well concealed with leather.

My experience with Petries (and I have also had Konig and Cavallo) is that the lower end models (Olympic for me) tend to break in faster, but also break faster…in that I’ve had to replace zippers after about two years. I also have a pair of the higher end (Anky Elegance) and those are more in the stovepipe vein, but also hold up much better (probably because they are stiffer and lend more support to the zipper and things and mine have a heftier zipper than on the Olympic model). Cavallo’s low end inner zip boot (the Grand Prix Plus) is actually made a bit better than the Petries–but I did have to replace a zip after about 4 years. I feel the same about Konigs–their lower end boot is made better (but the low end Konig I had was a long time ago, the model was the Lady–that boot lasted me like 10 years). However, the Petries fit me much better (the size charts for off the shelf are all a bit different between manufacturers) so I stick with Petrie.

I’d highly recommend contacting the guy at Dutch riding He can figure out exactly what you need in Petries. Prices are great, the wait is not long, even for custom. I have a crazy sized leg and he figured it all out by pictures in email.

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I have the low-cost Petrie Sydney (under $300) and love them! The boots are around 5 years old and the leather looks great, they did not drop much in the ankle. I only wear when I ride and take good care of them. Have replaced the zippers once on both. Just a FYI, if the zipper is broken ask to have the slider replaced first (under$25), this is usually the problem versus replacing the whole zipper. I run a soapy sponge up and down the zipper once a month, dry, and then run a wax crayon up and down the zipper. The wax keeps the dirt off the zipper.


The cleaning your zipper is good advice! My not repair guy told me that’s why the zippers break - every day they get full of microscopic amounts of arena dust, than wear away the mechanism every time you open and close the zippers. Keep them clean using a gentle toothbrush and do not lubricate them with WD-40, Vaseline or any of the tricks we were taught in our youth. That just encourages more gunk to build up.

That being said, he also said the factory installed zippers in most boots are not heavy duty enough for the wear and tear they get. He prefers a stronger zipper with a bigger slider

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I can’t answer your questions specific to measurements, but I can tell you that the inside front zipper absolutely will NOT touch or damage your saddle. If it did, no one would buy them. I’ve had inside front zippers in three pairs of boots over the last 20 years and have never ever had any kind of issue with the zippers touching the saddle.

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Agree!! I am a Königs person as well! And I found out that the older models have better leather quality so I try to get boots with my measurements from people who quit riding… I think my oldes boot which is like new is from 1996…

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I second his services! I plan on getting my next pair from him as well.

Konig seems to also fit me the best. Interesting about the leather quality from older to newer. Right now there is a brand new pair at my local consignment tack store. They fit me PERFECTLY! They’re navy blue, though. And $450. And I technically don’t need them. So I’m stalking them in hopes they eventually go on sale.

Last year, there were two pairs of consigned Konigs in the same store. They almost fit but would’ve needed too many tweaks to be cost effective. It looked like both pairs had belonged to the same person & one pair had been used for schooling & one for shows. The former was in great used shape. The latter, absolutely pristine. The kicker? Both pairs were so old they were stamped “Made in West Germany” . Yet even the schooling pair were still in such nice shape that your eye was drawn to them out of a 100 pairs of black tall boots.

The leather of those older pairs was much, much heavier than the leather of the new navy pair. I will give Konig credit – even though the navy boots are made of a softer glove-type leather that is in style now, these boots are much sturdier than any Parlanti or similar brand I’ve ever seen.

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I ordered a pair of fully custom Petrie Leeds from Ooteman, a dealer in Holland. Not dressage boots, more like dress boots w a slim ankle and back zipper w a narrow elasticized panel. I chose black leather w orange stitching and contrasting heel. They’re beautiful, comfortable, and come w matching spur straps. I’m 5’2", have a 7.5 C foot; 17" calf at its widest. I paid $680 CAD all in. That’s about $535 USD. If you’re a regular off-the-rack size there are many models under $500 USD. PM me for pics.

  1. Not sure what’s appropriate height wise, but Leeds come with a 6 cm Spanish top. They have a measuring chart which takes final height into account.

  2. I followed the measuring instructions which didn’t require adjusting for stretch factor.

  3. Can’t help you here. Have never had boots w zippers inside front.

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Exactly my observations!!! I buy mine on Ebay so i dont know about the thickness of Leather Til they arrive. But i talked to a representative some weeks ago and she said the older leather was treated different so it was more durable.
But people today dont care for suffering in order to break in new boots thats why the leather is softer…
I get mine used do they are broken in already…

They are made in 1996 and I bought them for 60 Euro from somebody who quit riding… they are very comfortable and have a gorgeous dark brown color…
My favorites

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All leather products seem to have declined in quality over the decades, judging from the threads on bridles here. In the 1970s I bought entry level bridles out of thick hard leather that needed to be soaked in oil over night and massaged into shape before you could use it. I have rescued all those bridles from the basement and am using them now.

The closest thing on the market today is an Edgewood :).

I didn’t have tall boots until about ten years ago. But I sure remember breaking in all leather hiking boots in the 1970s. No one would go through that now. I wouldn’t. But the tradeoff is that my current high tech hiking boots are closer to modern sneakers in construction and have a similar life span.

So when I look at modern tall boots I accept I am buying comfort over old school longevity. But I still hope to find ones with decent longevity for what they are. I do find that all my boots start to break down around the foot where it hits the stirrup and gets wet at the barn. Paddocks, tall boots, Blundstones, repurposed winter boots.

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