Well, okay, there may be nothing kinky about riding boots (unless you’re using them like that), but I certainly feel as frustrated with trying to find the perfect vegan riding boot as Lola does trying to find man-sized heels in the eponymous movie.
Since I ride in an endurance saddle with English-style stirrups, I either need a tall boot, or a paddock boot with half chaps. I do own a pair of synthetic tall boots: the Saxon Equi-Leather Field Boot, which I like well enough if I’m feeling formal enough to put on a pair of breeches. But most days, I hit the trail in jeans, and even with an extra-wide calf, they just won’t fit my pants leg. So lately, being both lazy and cheap unless inspiration strikes, I’ve been riding in a $10 pair of ballet flats with my very old (leather) half chaps on top. I don’t run into many other riders on the trail, but my mom sure does make fun of me.
Said ballet flats are starting to fall apart now, not to mention being completely unsafe and inappropriate footwear around horses, so it’s time to start shopping for a replacement. I just ordered the Roper 8” chunk boot off of Zappos, since they were on sale and it’s too far past my bedtime for me to make good decisions with a credit card. They are listed as all synthetic and man-made materials, with a fabric inner lining. They’re cute, look durable, and will be good for barn chores and the like. The only problem is, they’re brown, which means a new pair of matching half chaps will be needed at some point.
I’ve also got my eye on the Jambu Colorado boot. It’s not a riding boot, but it does have a sort of a heel and a wider-looking leg (with an elastic insert in the back). The only trouble is, it has the usual zipper up the inside of the calf that screams ‘not a real riding boot!’ from a mile away. But they’re cute enough boots that even if they didn’t work for riding, I’d be sure to wear them somewhere else. The plus side is I love Jambu’s shoes, and find the footbed very comfy. This comes in handy if I find myself needing to get off and walk during a trail ride. The downside: they’re $153.00. Ouch. Something to keep in mind, however.
I’ve had bad luck in the past with the synthetic paddock boots on the market. I think I had a pair of zip-up Saxon paddock boots most recently, and they fell apart in less than a year. Granted, I put a lot more wear and tear on them than I did the field boots, which are holding up just fine (despite sporting claw marks up one side where the cats decided they would make a great scratching post).
My ideal boot would be stylish (think Ariat, whom I’ve sent numerous emails to requesting non-leather options), zip-up or step-into (there’s that lazy thing again), very durable, comfy footbed that’s good for hiking and barn chores, and at a good price point, so slogging around in manure isn’t going to feel like a crime against common decency.
Maybe I need to make like Kinky Boots and start a line of my own! If only I’d inherited a shoe factory….