Manufacturer: Ariat (View all products by Ariat)
Model: Challenge Field Boots (zippered) (View all Challenge Field Boots reviews)
Category: English Chaps/Boots/Helmets
Purchase: I purchased these boots from my local tack shop, The Tack Room (www.etackroom.com) during their annual sale. They were 25% off regular price of $360. I previously rode in Ariat Heritage field boots which I got on clearance sale for $75, but I handed them down to a student because I really needed boots that were taller (the Heritage boots were regular height which I tolerated because they were so cheap!)
Likes: At first, I wasn't sure of why the huge difference in cost between the Heritage boots and the Challenge boots. Both models come in four different calf widths and three heights. Both give you as close to a custom boot look as you can possibly get for the price... The big difference I noticed with the Challenge boots is that the leather seems to be of a much higher quality, much more supple, and my boots were broken in and comfortable to ride in after just walking around in them for one day! The Heritage boots on the other hand were PAINFUL to break in and it took FOREVER. The Challenge boots were grippy in the saddle from the very first ride, whereas the Heritage boots were waxy and slippery until I literally scuffed the insides of the calves on purpose to get some traction. I really can't say enough about how nice the leather quality is... and the full calf skin lining is quite nice. Except for being a bit bulkier in the ankle, they fit me just as well as my custom Dehner's that cost me nearly three times as much, and the leather quality is totally comparable. I feel like I got MORE than I paid for.
Dislikes: There isn't anything I don't like about them. I think Ariat did a bang up job at offering a really amazing boot at a reasonable price point.
Quality: As I previously stated, the leather quality is exceptional, especially for a boot in this price range. The zippers are strong, well stitched in and zip up with ease.
Summary: What a great boot! Anyone considering custom or semi-custom boots should try these first, unless money is no object. You may have to tolerate the ankles being not as trim as custom, but once the boots drop, who is going to notice anyway? The Challenge boots have very obvious quality of materials differences over the baseline Heritage model, and are definitely worth the extra expense, which is still completely reasonable.
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
12 reader(s) voted.
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