What field boots to get for schooling??

Hi guys!

So I’m just getting back into riding after not riding for a few years and am looking to buy some tall boots. I feel considerably out of the loop and am looking for advice. I’ve just started riding at a really nice barn with one of the bigger trainers in the area so I’d like to not look a mess if I can help it (especially cause I don’t have a horse and they’re trying to find something for me to ride in my limited budget which I’m pretty much over the moon about). This will just be for schooling so I’d like something durable enough to last. As far as cost goes, I’m open with it as I’ve learned over the years that investing once in something for a little extra $$ up front often pays off in the long run. I’d even consider custom if that would be worth it. I’ve noticed a lot of Tredsteps around, is that the general go-to for a schooling boot or do most people just go for what flatters them most? Any and all advice is appreciated!!

I have the Tredstep Donatellos – they’ve been my show and schooling boot for 3 years and am now upgrading to DeNiro Salentos for show and keeping the Tredsteps for schooling. They’re great value, and they’ve held up well considering how much wear and tear I’ve put on them. They dropped more than I expected so they’re pretty short on me (hence why I’m upgrading), and I’ve been having zipper issues on one boot in the last couple months, but I’m replacing the zipper for ~$40. I think they look way more expensive than $289. The ankle is cut really well and they shine up nicely. I wore them at some mid-sized A/AA shows and never felt out of place, aside from the height issue.

I have ariat boots and they fir me well. I have a very small ankle, so need a narrow fit, but also have to have a pretty tall cut. So far, they have done great. Good luck!

I have DeNiro’s (from SmartPak, but they are lots of places) the Ottavio Auroras (softer leather). Have had them for 2 years and love them

I do not think anyone can tell you what brand to buy. Hopefully you have a tack shop close enough with adequate inventory for a comparison shopping experience. I suggest you go to the tack shop and try them all on and see what fits you the best. Any of them will look acceptable for schooling, and likely for show, too. Plenty of people show in the entry-level Ariats (about $275; called Heritage) which now comes in “Contour” and has a more fitted ankle. I find their “Challenge” Contour boots to be quite nice for $400. Tredsteps are nice, too but if they do not fit you, it won’t help that 100 people told you they are “the boot to buy”. Dress in a pair of breeches and the socks you are likely to wear, and take a day to patiently try on everything you can, that is within your budget. I admire your willingness to spend the right amount for the right product; there is often, but not always, a correlation between what you pay and what you get. However, in riding boots it is frequently not the case. The more expensive the boot, the LESS wear you will get out of it because the most expensive boots have super-soft and thin leather for a better “feel” on the horse, which you may not need at this point. Perhaps the riders at your barn who have roughly the same size and shape as your foot & leg will let you try theirs on to see how they feel on you as a broken-in boot and that will give you some guidance. Buy something that fits you well, is within your budget and basically, is black. You don’t even need field boots; I see plenty of dress boots these days (not to be confused with the dressage boots that feel like having casts on your legs, though). Welcome back to riding!

I have a pair of the MH Fiorentina’s on their way to me this week, I will let you know how I like them. But they’re lovely looking online, with a great price point.

I just bought the Donatello’s myself based on reviews online and the fact that they fit me beautifully. I’m still in the breaking in period, but other than the need to drop they really need no break in. I plan on schooling and showing in them for a couple years.

I had a poor experience with Tredstep break in- but I know a lot of people like them for a cost effective schooling boot.

I school in Ariat Volants and love them, but the more traditional Ariat Contours are also a good choice.

Another vote for Tredstep Donatellos - for the price point, the quality is very good, and they make a very good choice for a nicer schooling boot. I just got another pair after wearing a pair to death around the barn (it took 3 years to kill them - even wearing them in the wash stall and muddy fileds). Happy Shopping!

I like my Tredsteps. They were not tough for me to break in, so I’m surprised others are having issues. I also have a pair of Ariat Volants that I love. (ETA, oops, those are not field boots, but awesome for schooling.)

Definitely try different boots on. Most that look nice will probably be just fine for schooling.

Thank you, everyone! Unfortunately the tack shops in my area have limited inventory but I’m still planning a trip this weekend and I should at least get to try a couple of options. This was very helpful!!

This is my feeling, I get Ariat Heritage or Challenges, usually Heritage, and they last many years, and are my every day boots. Recently I picked up a really nice Ariat smooth leather half chap which are easy and pretty to wear for every day. What I like about the Ariats is that their size 9 regular is the PERFECT fit for me. No need to look elsewhere for better fit, so if they fit you off the rack, you’re in luck, its a nice every day boot.

I am obsessed with my Ariat Volants and frequently wear them sun up to sun down without issue.

I love my Tredstep Donatellos.

The break in was really quick. Two days of absolute agony…but breaking in brand new boots on days 2 and 3 of a 3 day show is definitely not the best way to go about it. Unfortunately, it was the only option available to me.

But after those 2 days, they have been super soft and comfy, and I have had no issues. I wear them all day at shows and don’t get sore feet from them!