I thought it would be straightforward. I ordered up some western boots in my size, excellent reviews, off we go. Right? Not so much. I thought I wanted a tall shaft (height of the boot) so I could wear my jeans/breeches tucked into my boots and show them off with some chinks. It was something I spotted in several photos from ranch pleasure turn outs. My boots arrived and I was delighted with the height, but they weren't meant to go so high on my leg. I'm 5'2" and my legs aren't particularly long in comparison to my body. The Justin boots were completely straight from ankle to the top. The boots hit the wide part of my calf and stopped, causing them to wrinkle a lot where they are not supposed to and hit my ankles uncomfortably. It also made my legs look weird with the wide part of my calf sitting on top of my boots.
These look super weird with the fat part of my calf jutting out
I tried some heel lifts like I've used with breaking in tall boots but I had to get an inch of lift before my legs kind of worked and even then, my ankles were getting beat up. And a one inch silicone lift is not fun to walk in when it's jammed in a boot. I gave up on my 13" boots and looked at something a bit shorter.
With the heel lift, still looks weird
Much heartbreak in that decision, they were so pretty and were otherwise perfect. So comfy.
I stopped by my local Tractor Supply and there were some Justin and Ariat boots to try on. I tried on some Justin's in an 11" shaft and they were nice. Not perfect since a wide fit doesn't show up in stores, but nice. Then the hubby pointed out some boots for me and it was all over. A pair of Ariats with a round toe and some subtle embroidery in pink around the top. 10" height and they fit wonderfully. A hair tight around the little toe but all boots are tight on me when I get them. I have a can of boot stretch and my feet are used to it. Ariat is a brand I'm very familiar with and have stuck with through the years.
Much better, you can see some gap around the top and it's not being forced to sag
I bought the boots and now I get to start the break in process all over again, but I feel like I really have a shot this time. At least the shaft isn't biting into my calf or making my leg look weird. They mostly fit! I think they're super cute and they're nice to ride in. I'll have to take some quality time breaking them in for width, but I think they'll be stomp around all day boots once that's done.
I'm embracing the idea of riding in jeans and a tee shirt.
If you have an average/slim calf, I highly recommend the Justin boots. The quality was obvious and they fit my foot so well (they do come in a wide which is nice). I may go back to the Justins but with a shorter shaft. My calves are quite wide and short so I'm not surprised that the tall shaft boots had trouble. I put on a pair of 11" shaft boots from Justin while I was at Tractor Supply and they were lovely. Ariats had a touch more room in the instep so I went with them. I have freaky high insteps, so most people will find that the Justins are plenty roomy. Style wise, I preferred the Justins. For my freaky feet, the Ariats won the day.
I have my new brown leather helmet, my new chinks, and now some new cowboy boots. I'm almost ready for my first show of the season. Good thing, since it's less than two weeks away. Procrastination? Me? Never!