Model: Print belly crocodile.
Why buy: The boots have leather soles and lining and an orthopedic cushion in the foot bed, so each pair is durable and comfortable.
Cool feature: Faux crocodile print keeps you stylish without the expense and maintenance demand of real exotic hide.
More info: (800) 626-9193; ferriniusa.com.
Boot in Every Color
Why buy: The J-Flex comfort system, removable orthotic insert, and black rubber sole maximize comfort.
Cool feature: This 8-inch-shaft Justin Gypsy boot is available in many color schemes at affordable prices.
More info: (800) 548-1021; justinboots.com.
Modern Gone Traditional
Model: Unbridled collection.
Why buy: The ProCrepe light outsole offers the comfort of traditional crepe without the bulk and lack of grip.
Cool feature: Multiple color options and a rounded, feminine toe make this boot ladylike as well as practical.
More info: (877) 702-7428; ariat.com.
Couples’ Cowboy Kicks
Model: Women’s top hand.
Maker: Twisted X.
Why buy: The XSD insole is cushioning and stabilizing, and the moisture-wicking, antibacterial foot bed is washable.
Cool feature: Men’s and women’s versions are available in several oils, with richly colored and detailed 11-inch boot shafts.
More info: (888) 894-2668; twistedx.com.
BOOT BUYER'S GUIDE
Most horse owners have several pairs of boots, some for going out and others for the barn. Learn which features to look for in your riding boots, and a few maintenance tricks to help you stretch their life (and your dollar).
Consider your feet. When you’re out at the barn, you’re on your feet mucking stalls, cleaning up around the barn, or riding. If a boot fits well and has cushion to stave off the aches and pains of all-day wear, be willing to compromise on flourishes such as color or toe style.
Buy with multi-purpose in mind. It can pay to splurge on a little more expensive pair of riding boots as long as it’s a multi-purpose pair. Boots often have features, such as steel toes, anti-slip technology, or extra-cushioned insoles. If you’ll be doing more than riding in your Western boots, consider additional features.
Caring means long-time wearing. Dirt and dust are leather’s nemeses. If these get caught and left in the creases of your boots, they’ll grind into the leather, eventually wearing it down so it cracks and loses waterproofing. Wipe your riding boots off frequently, preferably after each ride, to keep them in good shape.
Keep your sole intact. It’s not unusual for holes to appear in leather soles while the rest of the boot is still in good shape. Rather than buy a new pair, find a cobbler who’ll tack on a new sole at a fraction of the cost of a new pair of boots.